Financial Aid

By The Beacon | September 10, 2010 9:00pm

By Enid Spitz, Staff Writer --

Now for the question that many parents are afraid to ask: What about financial aid?

With more students seeking help to pay for college, one may wonder whether there will be enough financial aid to go around.

According to Janet Turner, the financial aid director, the large freshman class should not affect any students financially.

While it may seem that more students would mean less aid per student, Turner explained that the system at UP actually ensures that the same percent of money from tuition always goes back to financial aid. Nationally, the average federal aid per student has increased for freshmen this year.

The biggest challenge for Financial Aid has been dealing with the large influx of paperwork and glitches in the nationwide switch to direct lending.

"Next year," Turner says, "we're trying to get technology to work harder for us."

The financial aid office will be switching to document imaging. That system digitizes paperwork, reducing the workload for financial aid workers.

"We're starting to gear up for next year," Turner said, "looking back and foreword to improve."

Throughout the school year, financial aid expects more students coming in to discuss special circumstances like job loss. UP's office provides help to families, assessing their need in the face of challenges, such as unemployment.

Almost 95 percent of full time undergraduate students receive financial aid.

Freshman Brooks Stebbins says the small size of UP was a ten in making his college decision, but he is not concerned that so many freshmen will affect class sizes or financial aid.

This fall's issue of "The Compass," UP's financial aid newsletter, will include a link to a feedback survey. The office hopes students will participate to help it improve even further.