Considerable Cuts

Aug 272003
Authors: Christiana Nelson

Financial aid at CSU has declined in the past year as the 2002 Colorado legislative budget cuts have impacted the campus.

The Student Financial Services office at CSU reports a 19.25 percent decrease in approved funding overall for the 2003-2004 school year. Sandy Calhoun, director of SFS, said these cuts are because of state budget cuts.

“The state had to make some difficult choices on what to cut,” Calhoun said. “The state legislation had to decrease overall state funding because of a decrease in state revenues.”

On the CSU campus, merit-based scholarships were hit the hardest by the cuts. Over $1 million was cut from merit-based scholarships since the 2002-2003 school semesters, a resulting 53.77 percent reduction. The decrease eliminated approximately 500 merit-based awards, including the President’s Scholarship and the University Scholars Award.

Regardless of the cuts, SFS has been able to honor all previously awarded scholarships. Mike Kimbrough, a junior finance major, has not been greatly impacted by the decline in financial aid because the university has continued to honor his scholarship.

“It has not really affected me much,” Kimbrough said. “I have a scholarship and the scholarship money has stayed the same, the only problem is that since the tuition has gone up it has less of an effect.”

John TeBockhorst, a senior civil engineering major, did not receive a scholarship this year and consequently has to look at other alternatives.

“Student loans are another option,” TeBockhorst said, “but it kind of leaves you rough and out there. When you get out of school you have another $5,000 to take care of. Hopefully I’ll have a job to take care of it.”

CSU students can complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and chose from many types of loans including direct loans and short-term loans. The SFS Web site contains details on the different payment options for students’ separate financial needs, but recommends only borrowing the funds necessary to complete an education.

This year CSU has cut 220 need-based grants and about 75 work-study awards. Yet, despite the drastic changes, Calhoun says that the university is trying to ease the burden imposed by the state cuts.

“It’s difficult,” Calhoun said. “The university has redirected an additional half-million dollars to need-based aid this year to help compensate for the higher tuition and reduction in need-based aid from the state.”

Although university officials are attempting to ease the impact of last year’s state budget cuts on students, Calhoun hopes that the state will restore funding in the near future.

“It is really hard to say what will happen in the future,” Calhoun said, “but we’d like the cuts reinstated for next year and we will work to make that happen.”

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