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Archive for Monday, July 25, 1994

AID LEVELS WORRY UNIVERSITY LEADERS

July 25, 1994

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One of three U.S. college administrators rate their school's student financial aid program "fair" or "poor."

The financial aid program at Kansas University should be rated "good" in terms of meeting student needs, KU's financial aid director said today.

"I actually would like to believe people would put us in 'good.' I don't think they would give us 'excellent,'" Del Buono said.

A study released today by the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C., said a growing number of college administrators was concerned that rising tuition would price students out of higher education.

One of every three senior administrators surveyed at 406 two- and four-year public and private institutions said their school's financial aid programs were "fair" or "poor" and not adequate to meet needs.

Only one in five administrators considered their financial assistance "excellent" or "very good."

While college costs routinely outpace inflation, financial aid worries have been commonplace for years, especially at private universities. But this year, concern about meeting costs grew significantly at public colleges and universities.

At KU, tuition this fall will rise 5 percent for resident students and 13 percent for non-residents. The Kansas Board of Regents wants to increase KU tuition by 7 percent in 1995.

KU Chancellor Gene Budig said the university was committed to raising more money for student scholarships.

"A state university will not be distinguished in the years ahead without an increased level of private support," Budig said.

Buono said actions by the federal government hurt students who qualify for need-based aid. The maximum federal grant to a student is below the level of grant aid available three years ago, she said.

"But they've increased the loan limits. Only loan volume is there to make up the difference," she said.

Michael Young, director of KU's Honors Program, works with high-ability students, many of whom receive merit-based aid.

He said annual grants from KU to National Merit scholars should be doubled to $2,500 to $3,000 a year. That would help KU compete with states such as Oklahoma, which gives National Merit scholars $5,000 a year.

"We have a very difficult time competing not only with prestigious private universities ... but also with state universities," he said.

The council's report said colleges survived a budget squeeze in the early 1990s by reorganizing, cutting back course offerings and keeping a better watch on spending.

Forty percent of schools surveyed eliminated programs during the past few years, the study said.

Ed Meyen, KU's executive vice chancellor, said KU was forced by financial necessity to be leaner and meaner. He said 18 academic programs were cut during a recent review of university programs.

"Making difficult decisions will be a way of life for KU administrators throughout the next decade," he said.

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