The University's new financial aid program was the subject of a Webcast discussion among Director of Financial Aid Don Betterton and members of the University community.
The online presentation outlined the reasons for the new policy which will provide to students from lowerand middle-income families, and explained how financial aid packages will be composed with hypothetical case studies.
During the discussion, which was broadcast March 11, participants posed questions about the University's financial aid policies that were answered online by Betterton. Two polls also allowed Webcast participants to voice their opinions about the most important parts of the policy.
"Everyone thought it was fabulous," said Alumni Council Associate Director for Regional Affairs Douglas Blair '71. The council coordinated the Webcast as an introduction to its series of online events for alumni. Though some participants experienced technical difficulties during the broadcast, Blair said the response to the Webcast was good.
According to Blair, approximately 45 of the 60 people signed up to participate in the discussion actually logged on for the broadcast. He said that this included "a couple" of students. Blair said he was pleased with the number of participants, explaining that for most programs only half of those who sign up actually participate in discussions.
As outlined in the Webcast, the new aid program is anticipated to increase the number of applicants from lower and middle income families and an increase in the "yield" of accepted students for the Class of 2002.
Participants in the Webcast ranked the first outcome as the most important result of the new aid program.
The University could also serve as an example for other schools who are revising their financial aid policies, according to the Webcast. However, participants ranked reducing the financial pressure on families and asserting the University's commitment to economic diversity as the two most important reasons for the new program.
The presentation also explored the positive and negative outcomes associated with the new aid program. According to the Webcast, increased aid offers from the University would eliminate the otherwise level financial aid "playing field" of schools competing for students, and could create raised expectations about the University's affordability from lowerand middle income applicants.
Under the new program, the amount of aid given in the form of loans will be reduced and replaced by grants for many income groups. The percentage of home equity considered in calculating parental contribution will also be changed, depending on a family's income level and value of its home. Home equity will not be considered for most cases in which a family's income is below $90,000 and its home is worth less than $150,000.
Students' individual contributions to their educational costs are divided into three categories: work-study, summer job earnings and savings. The work-study amounts ($2,060), and the summer job earnings amounts ($1,810) would not change under the new program, but the expected contribution from savings would be reduced.