Tuition-funded scholarships go up


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Scholarship money funded by UI tuition revenue increased by 13 percent this year — welcome news for many students during tough economic times.

UI officials distributed roughly $33.3 million to students this academic year, compared with approximately $29.4 million in the 2008-09 academic year, said Mark Warner, director of the UI Office of Student Financial Aid.

UI freshman Emily Gross said she is relieved economic concerns haven’t affected award money.

She is a recipient of a 2009 UI Presidential Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding high-school students, according to scholarship’s website.

Gross said if she lost her scholarship, she would worry, because she might have to get a job, distracting her from academics.

Warner said scholarship funding will likely increase again next year as part of the 6 percent tuition increase approved by the state Board of Regents last week.

Warner said officials have been discussing scholarship increases, and they are concerned about students with increased financial troubles.

“Students and their families are being challenged even more by the economic downturn,” he said.

Scholarship money is up at other Iowa schools, too.

Iowa State University officials have not cut any scholarship amounts this year, said Roberta Johnson, the director of the school’s Office of Student Financial Aid. University-funded scholarship money increased this school year, she said.

Both college-funded and donor-funded scholarship dollars are up this year at Kirkwood Community College, said Kathy Hall, the vice president for resource development.

Hall said Kirkwood Foundation officials, who collect award donations, brought in roughly $1.5 million in funding for the 2009 fiscal year, compared with $1.4 million in the previous fiscal year.

Donations to the UI Foundation, a nonprofit organization that collects funding for the university including scholarships, decreased by roughly 5 percent in fiscal 2009, said Lynette Marshall, the president of the foundation.

Warner said officials awarded 75 percent of scholarship money based on student need demonstrated by the federal financial-aid form.

UI officials don’t make a clear distinction between need-based and merit-based scholarships, he said. Instead, university officials focus on making sure those with financial concerns have the opportunity to attend the school each year, he said.

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