Colorado State University offering tuition breaks
June 18, 2010
DENVER (AP) – Colorado State University wants to get more in-state residents thinking about going to Fort Collins or Pueblo by offering half-off tuition to middle class students and free schooling to those from lower income families.
System chancellor Joe Blake announced the tuition breaks on Thursday.
Colorado undergraduate students whose families earn up to $57,000 a year will get half off their tuition beginning next year. Blake said those students will save about $2,600 a year, the equivalent of getting one semester free. Students from lower income families would pay nothing.
Gov. Bill Ritter, a CSU alumnus, said the new financial aid program will make it easier for Colorado students to attend a four-year college.
“Access to a high-quality, affordable higher education is one of the hallmarks of the American dream. It was the key to my success. It is the key to Colorado’s future, and we need to use that key to keep the doors of opportunity wide open to all Coloradans,” Ritter said.
College president Tony Frank said the university is repackaging its myriad of financial aid programs to make them more effective and help more middle class students.
“A lot of families are struggling, elected officials are struggling,” Frank said.
Blake said about 3,800 students, or 21 percent of CSU undergraduates, will qualify for some form of financial aid, but they still have to apply and qualify for federal assistance.
Frank said the college is paying for the program by cutting $30 million in expenses from the $130 million a year in state aid. Employees are facing their third year without raises, he said.
The college may still be forced to increase tuition next year, but a third of that tuition increase is going to financial aid, Frank said.
Bronson Hilliard, spokesman for the University of Colorado, one of CSU’s biggest competitors that offers financial aid aimed at low-income students, said the two systems have students with different needs and their programs are not interchangeable.
Matt Strauch, a CSU junior and director of legislative affairs for CSU’s student body, said he could have saved $10,000 in loans if the program had been in effect when he was a freshman.
“I could have attended college for free,” Strauch said.