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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

New system reallocates financial aid

The UA is using a new system to distribute its limited financial aid resources.

A select group of newly admitted students will be asked to fill out an online financial need assessment form in addition to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The program is run through College Board and asks more specific questions about things like parental financial contribution and assets.

The tool will help distribute financial aid to the students who need it the most, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Melissa Vito. The new system will not affect current students.

“”We know the pressure for financial aid is intense with the economy coupled with tuition,”” Vito said. “”This gives us the opportunity to reallocate limited resources to our neediest students.””

The UA will distribute $110 million in financial aid in 2011, which is 26.5 percent of the total revenue from tuition and fees, according to the Arizona Board of Regents. Aid is up $5 million from last year, when it totaled 27.6 percent of the UA’s 2010 revenue.

Students admitted for fall 2011 will receive letters stating awarded grants, loans and work-study options. Those who might qualify for additional institutional aid will be asked to fill out the online form, said John Nametz, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Nametz estimated about 1,600 students out of 6,000 to 7,000 who are sent financial aid letters will be asked to fill out the need assessment profile.

The program is provided at no cost to the university. Students are charged an application fee, which may be waived based on need.

Questions ask for details about income for students with parents who are divorced or families who report negative income for last year.

“”The FAFSA form is pretty basic,”” Vito said. “”It may not give us the full picture of the assets they actually have.””

Some students who may have received institutional awards in the past may not be eligible, Nametz said.

“”The students selected will potentially receive institutional awards,”” Nametz said. “”Before we invest, we want to make sure these are students who really need it.””

The new system aims to reallocate these funds to other students.

“”Those students are getting less, meaning I can give more money to students where it will really make a difference,”” Nametz said.

Financial aid is a common concern for prospective students, according to Chris Portney, senior coordinator of special projects for the Office of Admissions.

“”We certainly do our best to make it affordable given the economic climate,”” she said.

Portney said she is in favor of the new allocation system.

“”I think it’s absolutely a good idea and can only benefit students,”” she said.

Nametz said student need for financial aid is increasing rapidly even as the university invests in employment opportunities, scholarships and need-based aid.

“”I’m at a loss to really finance for people who really need it,”” Nametz said. “”This is one methodology to help do that.””

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