Changes in state financial aid could cost Indiana college students millions of dollars, but the University of Indianapolis is taking special measures this year to cover the difference for its students and help them continue their educations.
Although the new state budget includes a 6.5 percent increase in funding for student assistance this year, applications for financial aid increased more than 20 percent. As a result, the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana voted this month to reduce the maximum award available per student by 31 percent. For students at private colleges, the maximum grant is dropping from $10,992 to just $7,584, a return to levels of a decade ago.
The change will affect more than 1,100 students planning to attend UIndy this fall, and the announcement leaves them little time to find other sources of funding. However, as those students were informed last week, UIndy is reallocating money within its 2009-2010 budget to replace most of the lost aid — as much as $3 million, depending on fall enrollment. Grants from the temporary fund are being awarded to students based on individual need.
“Losing this much aid would force many students to put their educations on hold, and that’s unacceptable, especially in this economic climate,” said Mark Weigand, UIndy’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. “These additional grants we’re providing will not be sustainable in the long term, but this year it’s the right thing to do for our students. We hope the state can find the funding next year to restore the cap to its previous level.”
Weigand added that UIndy still expects record enrollment this fall, which puts the university in a better financial position to help students with the most need.
The university also will stand by its previous decision to raise tuition and room and board by just 3.2 percent for the coming academic year. Over the past decade, UIndy has averaged year-to-year increases of only 4.3 percent, one of the lowest rates among Indiana’s independent institutions.
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