More financial aid is being awarded, but not to more students

Source%3A+Division+of+Management+Information+
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More financial aid is being awarded, but not to more students

Source: Division of Management Information

Source: Division of Management Information

Cindy Om

Source: Division of Management Information

Cindy Om

Cindy Om

Source: Division of Management Information

By Samantha Boyle, Assistant Daytime Editor

The amount of financial aid that has been awarded to students has been increasing, but the percentage of students receiving aid has slightly dropped, according to the Division of Management Information.

In the 2008-09 school year, about $666,026 in financial aid was awarded to students at the University, and about $872,101 was awarded in the 2016-17 school year.

Michelle Trame, senior associate director for the Office of Financial Aid, said students are eligible for need-based aid through filling out FAFSA. Some other forms of aid are merit-based and are awarded through the different colleges from the University.

According to the DMI, about 42 percent of students received need-based aid in the 2016-17 school year, which is down 1 percent as compared with that in 2008.

The top two reasons students did not apply for any financial aid are thinking they are not eligible for any aid or thinking they can afford college without any aid. According to a study by the National Scholarship Providers Association, 43 to 46 percent of undergraduates thought they were ineligible.

“I think we wish that we could award more students,” Trame said. “I think we would acknowledge that we don’t have enough money to award all of the need that’s out there.”

She said even if a student is not awarded any aid, they should explore their options with higher education, such as going to a community college or looking for a different university.

“I think there’s lots of opportunities out there, so I would try to encourage them to try to find a way,” Tarme said.

Another concern students brought up in the National Scholarship Providers Association’s study was student debt. The average student loan debt is around $30,000, according to the Project on Student Debt.

“The average loan debt of our graduating seniors is lower than the national average,” Tarme said.

According to the Project on Student Debt, Illinois’s average student debt is around $29,000.

“I would agree that if there was more aid available it would definitely be helpful,” Tarme said.

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