Facing one of the greatest economic downturns since the Great Depression, CSU financial officials predicted the number and dollar amount of scholarships funded by private donations will decrease next year but said those for the 2008-2009 school year remain unaffected.
While employees from Student Financial Services and the CSU Foundation affirmed the decrease in scholarships awarded through the foundation, which receives and redistributes money from private donors as scholarships, they said there will be an increase in the number of institutional scholarships awarded by the university in the 2009-2010 academic year.
“The return on the investments is what is awarded to students in scholarships every year,” said Christie Leighton, a staff member for SFS, of CSU Foundation scholarships. “Everybody’s investments haven’t had as good as a return as last year.”
Next year will bring “some decrease in scholarships awarded through the (CSU) Foundation,” Leighton said, adding that non-donated university dollars, or institutional money, can compensate for the anticipated reduction.
Institutional scholarships are not funded by donations, while scholarships awarded through the CSU Foundation are. The money that donors give to the foundation is invested, and the interest earned is used for scholarships.
Leighton, who noted the recession will affect the amount of money private donors give in the coming years, said she was unclear whether certain types of foundation scholarships would be equally affected or whether some would suffer more than others.
“We have not had to adjust any scholarship awards,” Leighton said of 2008.
Many students said they worry about the ongoing recession in the nation and how it will affect them.
“I’m concerned about how my funds will stretch,” said Josiah Burggraaf, a junior construction management major, when asked if the recession will impact his ability to return to CSU next year.
Freshman international relations major Lauren Heintz said she already relies on scholarships to attend college and said the worry of whether the recession will impact the availability of scholarships in the coming year weighs heavily on her mind.
In light of the future scholarship reduction, officials from SFS said that the university had not been notified of any reduction in federal financial aid.
Gwen Pomper, the director of SFS at CU-Boulder, echoed Leighton in assuring “there is no indication on the federal side” that funds will be reduced.
After reminding students to apply for the majority of CSU scholarships through the CSU Scholarship Application accessible on RAMweb, Leighton said, “If people are concerned, (they should) go ahead and apply for financial aid.”
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid provides another way for students to receive financial support.
Because it is federally funded, the amount of aid provided to students is not expected to change.
Students can apply for FAFSA by filling out an application at http://fafsa.ed.gov. The priority deadline is March 1.
“There is money (available) to pay for college,” Leighton said. Hoping to provide reassurance to students who are facing economic hardships, Leighton said there is “a lot of money in financial aid” and that those students will still be able to attend school.
Leighton said “other areas can compensate” for the reduction in CSU Foundation scholarships. Grants, work study and student loans, she said, will all still be able to help students pay their college expenses.
Staff writer Natasha Pepperl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.