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Tuition increase will impact financial aid

By Natalie Davis
On April 19, 2011

As expected, students will see an increase of 6.5 percent in tuition and fees for the 2001- 2012 academic year.

Tuition and fees for in-state undergraduates rose from $2,379.08 to $2,627.08. Out-of-state fees are $7,183.58, from $6,952.08, according to the Winston-Salem State website.

These figures do not include room and board.

Chancellor Donald J. Reaves said that tuition increases, regardless of how big or small, always affect financial aid. Reaves said that as tuition increases, the cost of financial aid goes up.

"The one thing that I like about tuition increases in North Carolina -- if there is anything to like about increases -- is that when increased, a certain percentage of the increase must go to fund financial aid," Reaves said.

He said that this was not the case everywhere.

"If tuition increase is really high, students who don't qualify for Pell [Grants] will be the most affected and unfortunately that could result in some students not being able to enroll in Winston-Salem State or anywhere else."

Robert Muhammad, director of Financial Aid, said that the impact of the increase in tuition and fees will be felt by all students, but Pell Grant will not be cut this year.

"The maximum award to the students who demonstrate the most need is $5,500 per award-year," Muhammad said.

"However, there was a cut of $20 million to FSEOG [Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant], a companion to the Pell Grant."

FSEOG provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students.

Muhammad said that he is uncertain how this will affect students.

Jonathan Jackson, senior management information systems major from Charlotte, agrees with Reaves saying that the students who do not receive financial aid will be affected the most.

Jackson said that for the students who receive financial aid, a $750 increase is not that bad because maybe their Pell Grant will increase.

"About 60-65 percent of our students do qualify for Pell," Reaves said

WSSU students paying out-of-pocket or out-of-state students could see an increase of $1,000 to $1,200.

Jackson said that those are going to be the students who might have to make some tough decisions.

"It's going to be unfortunate for many of them," Jackson said.

Eddie Bryant said he pays tuition out-of-pocket.

"Either you pay it or you don't," he said. Bryant is a junior history major from Hartford, Conn.

Both Jackson and Reaves said that with these increases, "That same logic will follow."

Some students complain about the tuition and fees increase.

Jackson said that he would like to see the facts on how many students attend a basketball game, and compare that to the number of students that say they don't use their fees.

"Ultimately, what it amounts to is that if you are a student at a university, you are expected to be a part of the entire student experience," Jackson said

"If a student holistically takes on the University, then they will be using their resources. It's not a matter of what the students are using it is about the opportunity for them to use everything."

He said that if we lose those fees and those programs, then some would question, "‘Where did all of our stuff go?'"

Jackson said that "In the end, we have to support the resources at the University."

Muhammad said that as the years progress, it appears as if tuition and other charges such as room and board will continue to increase.

"It is imperative that students buy into their academic success as well as become financially astute," he said.

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