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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Program to help ‘assure’ low-income students attend college

    Arizona Assurance, a new financial aid program for the state’s low-income students, is set to begin next fall with an initial cohort of about 400 students.

    The program, designed to help incoming freshmen attend the UA, will provide full tuition, fees, housing and books for four years for in-state students from families that make less than about $40,000 a year, although that figure is still being decided upon, said John Nametz, UA director of financial aid.

    Students in the program will be academically qualified for admission to the UA, said President Robert Shelton.

    “”This program is aimed at supporting students most in need, and would assure them that they could attend the University of Arizona free from the burden of tuition and fees,”” Shelton said in his State of the University speech Nov. 6.

    Access is at the heart of the program, Shelton said.

    “”Perhaps even more importantly, the program will send the message to all Arizonans that they should think about and plan for a college education, regardless of their financial situation,”” Shelton said. “”This message must reach young children and their parents so they plan early for college.””

    The funding for the program will initially come from the UA’s budget, although the program is not at the core of the proposed tuition increases, Nametz said.

    In the future, Shelton will be seeking outside private sources for funding of the program.

    “”There is a limit to what the Arizona Assurance can provide if we do not get the state and private donors to step to the plate to support our efforts,”” he said.

    About 50 to 60 universities nationwide have programs that assure funding to students who meet similar criteria, including a program at Arizona State University, Nametz said.

    Arizona Assurance will also ensure that students involved are aware of campus resources available to them, such as academic advising, tutoring and research opportunities, he said.

    The program is not a make-or-break for low-income students who want to go to college, as students can borrow the full amount of their college costs, but it will take financial stress for qualifying students and families out of the equation, Nametz said.

    ASUA President Tommy Bruce said he thinks the program is a positive aspect to Shelton’s tuition proposal, and that it could benefit many UA students.

    Future cohorts of students are expected to exceed 400 students, Nametz said.

    “”It’s still developing, but it could really be a great addition to our university, and help more students attend,”” Bruce said.

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