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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Student loan rate, financial aid up slightly”

    The engrossed budget proposal the state House of Representatives released at the end of March includes $8 million for college financial aid, an increase of $3 million from the previous school year.

    It still didn’t meet the $13.4 million requested by Gov. Janet Napolitano and the Arizona Board of Regents.

    “”Our goal was to make sure that the state funded student financial aid at least to the statutory level,”” said Tiffany N. Troidl, government affairs director for the Arizona Students’ Association.

    Additionally, interest rates on existing variable-rate student loans will jump by .08 percent by the end of the summer.

    Federal statutes caused the increase, said Beth Gerard, a representative from Sallie Mae, a leading college-loan agency.

    Last year, ABOR decided on increases that upped resident undergraduate tuition by about 5 percent, or $250, and increased nonresident undergraduate tuition by 7 percent.

    “”Fourteen percent of the back tuition revenue that is assessed goes into need-based financial aid,”” said John Nametz, director of student financial aid. “”So, as the tuition goes up, money that is set aside for UA grants also goes up.””

    Although the amount given by the House was short of what Napolitano requested, it did fulfill the amount of financial aid money requested by the Arizona Financial Aid Trust Fund.

    “”The AFATF is a joint venture between the state and its students that distributes 1 percent of student tuition costs into a trust,”” said Fred Boice, ABOR president-elect.

    The state then matches that payment.

    “”Earlier in the year, students from all three in-state universities sent huge amounts of e-mails to their state legislators hoping they would increase financial aid,”” said Serena Unrein, executive director of ASA.

    If students want to push the effort further, they can write letters to their legislators by visiting www.azstudents.org, which has a link to the legislators’ e-mail addresses, she said.

    Aside from appealing to legislators, there are many things that students can do to help lower the cost of a college education. Options are available on the Office of Financial Aid’s Web site.

    For example, sticking to one major could help save money in the long run. Similarly, students from various economic standings are invited to apply for federal financial aid and should send their FAFSA by Feb. 14 of the prior year to meet the March 1 priority deadline.

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