Thursday, April 28, 2011

University of Minnesota Cuts Scholarship Program 

for Neediest Students

Promises Broken at the University of Minnesota

But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep...

Minneapolis — The University of Minnesota is cutting the amount of scholarship money that goes to some of its neediest students.
The university's Promise Scholarship helps cover tuition and fees -- about $12,000 a year -- for students who qualify for federal student aid.

But because of an increase in students qualifying for aid, and concerns over declining state support for higher education, school officials say they need to make changes to the $30 million a year program.

Sophomore Addis Tesfaye is one of the students being helped by the Promise Scholarship. He was told that as long as he qualified for a federal Pell Grant, he wouldn't have to worry about paying his tuition.
"That was pretty much the promise that was given to me, when I made the decision to come here," he said.

The scholarship covers a student's tuition and fees that are not taken care of by federal and state grants.

But the university says it can't continue to pay full tuition and fees for all students who qualify for federal financial aid. One reason is that there are just too many students who need aid. Another reason is that the university knows it will have to operate with less state funding in the future.
Students currently in the program don't have to worry about their scholarship money disappearing; they're covered until they graduate.

But low-income students starting at the university this fall will have to find a way to come up with at least some money to pay for tuition.
McMaster says the neediest of students, whose parents make less than $25,000 a year, will still get most of their tuition and fees paid through the Promise Scholarship. But as family income rises, so will a student's tuition bill.

Minerva Munoz helps prepare low-income students for college through the federally funded Upward Bound program. Munoz thinks the university will scare away some low-income students by reducing the Promise Scholarship.

"I think it'll be harder for our students to decide if the University of Minnesota is in fact where they want to go," said Munoz.
This administration's high tuition/high aid strategy has led to an unmitigated and predictable disaster. 


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