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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Struggling students will receive more financial help

    The Arizona Board of Regents has increased the “”Set Aside Grant,”” which would allow qualifying students to receive an extra $500 in financial aid.

    The change was enacted by the regents at their Dec. 4 meeting in Tempe.

    John Nametz, director of student financial aid, said the roughly $2.2 million increase would allow the maximum amount of grant aid received by a student to increase from last year’s $8,500 to $9,000 in the coming year.

    This means if you are a student who had previously been ineligible for aid because your expected family contribution was over the $8,500 equity, you may now be eligible for aid. Furthermore, if you are already a student who receives financial aid, your grant money could increase by $500, he said.

    “”It will increase the number of students and increase the dollar amount,”” Nametz said. “”If your family contribution is zero, you are going to get $9,000.””

    Diana Nunez, a pre-nursing and Spanish translation and interpretation senior, said this money would help her in a number of ways and she was glad to hear of the increase.

    “”There is never enough money for books or other requirements,”” Nunez said. “”In nursing, I spend $700 a semester on books … living expenses and parking all come out of my pocket; the $500 would be really helpful.””

    Maggie Leadbetter, a doctor of pharmacy first-year, said the aid increase would help her cover costs associated with going to school.

    “”For me it would be really huge. I live very far away – it would pay for my gas,”” Leadbetter said. “”It would help with textbooks.””

    Nametz said because the increase is a best-estimate, it might drop by a couple hundred dollars for those who do not meet the March 1 deadline for financial aid applications.

    Usually the amount of aid received by those who apply closer to the start of the next semester is slightly lower, and this year it could be more drastic and the decrease could occur earlier because of supply and demand, he said.

    “”I make estimates and send rewards based on it,”” Nametz said. “” We (could) be running out of money sooner.””

    The possibility of an increase in federal Pell Grants, which provide need-based funds to low income students, is still there, Nametz said.

    He said that while a Pell Grant increase may not be included in the final version of the $787 billion economic stimulus bill that President Barack Obama is expected to sign on Tuesday, he strongly believes that it will come in another, future bill.

    The money students would receive from the Pell Grant increase would be roughly the same as the 2 percent increase in the Set Aside Grant. Nametz said this increase would allow the maximum amount of available equity aid to increase.

    “”My best expectation: I think that congress, maybe not with this bill, is going to increase the Pell Grant,”” Nametz said. “”(It will be) pretty close to what’s in this bill even if it doesn’t make it.””

    Nametz said that he is not sure whether there will be an increase in Pell Grants with the current stimulus bill but it has been a factor in equity increase.

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