Education

Fewer college students to receive NC financial aid

Posted July 6, 2011

— An estimated 6,000 qualified North Carolina college students won't be getting the financial assistance they might have gotten last year as a result of the state's $19.7 billion spending plan.

Steve Brooks, executive director of the North Carolina Education Assistance Authority, which administers tuition assistance to students, said Wednesday that lawmakers reduced need-based financial aid for the University of North Carolina System by 9 percent for 2011-12.

Tuition assistance funding last year was a combination of recurring money and a one-time allocation of $35 million. Lawmakers kept all of the recurring funds in the 2012 fiscal budget but dropped the one-time amount.

About $200 million is still available for need-based grants for approximately 60,000 students, Brooks said.

"The bottom line is that some students are going to get less financial aid than they got in the past, even though their costs are going to go up."

In February, the UNC Board of Governors approved in-state tuition increases on the system's 13 campuses, including a maximum tuition increase of 6.5 percent at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and Fayetteville State.

Fewer college students to receive NC financial aid Fewer college students to receive NC financial aid

"The General Assembly did work hard to protect students," Brooks said. "Unfortunately, because of some quirks in the way it was funded in the past, they were not able to hold the line completely for the UNC students."

North Carolina's private colleges will also see about a 12 percent cut in need-based assistance. Community colleges are not affected.

A rising sophomore studying chemical engineering at North Carolina State University, Liana Lewis, comes from a big family and says her parents could not afford her tuition without financial aid.

"It's kind of scary," she said. "I know I would probably not be able to take as many classes. I'd probably have to be a part-time student."

Situations like Lewis' could put more demand on community colleges, where tuition is less, Brooks said. It could also require students to take out additional loans or look for other grants and scholarships.

Lewis said she is considering other alternatives.

"I will just have to stay more focused and maybe get a job," she said.

But, she said, she hopes she can avoid adding that to her already-hectic schedule, but will do what it takes to stay in school.

60 Comments

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  • LETS DIVE Jul 7, 3:26 p.m.

    30+ years ago I worked my tail off for 4 years paying for college. Summer factory jobs, school year jobs cooking and dishwashing, anything I could find. No financial aid, no debt, no substantial help from parents. No saying everyone should do same (I missed a lot of partying) but today it is a ll a free ride. with Pell grants expanded to the point where free money flows like water. Cut this back, not the taxpayers job to fund everyones dreams. Try some hard work to pursue your goal.
    aetius476
    30 YEARS ago i could have gone all the way thru med or law school on what it costs for 1 year now(in state 19.020.00 a year unc char.) and my child qaulifys for nothing, so please save me the song.

  • weasel2 Jul 7, 3:25 p.m.

    My heart bleeds, join the military I recieved a bachelors in 20 yrs, plus have a retirement.

  • quiturwhining Jul 7, 3:13 p.m.

    Community colleges are DEFINITELY having enormous budget cuts too--not just part of this particular slash!

  • Citizen7265 Jul 7, 2:56 p.m.

    What really ticks me off is seeing the students receiving assistance (not loans) have spending money to shop at Loft, Abercrombie, SAKs, Ann Taylor, etc. on a weekly basis. My child has student loans, a small merit scholarship, a job, and babysits on the side. Shopping is very limited and partying is out ( not a bad thing) because there is no money for it. Roommate is on assistance, NO job, but has a credit card and shops several times a week, goes out to eat daily, and partys all weekend. Very frustrating for those paying their own way and working hard to make ends meet. Somewhere along the line we are failing these kids...

  • myjudas Jul 7, 2:19 p.m.

    "But hey, speaking of the military. If those poor kids want to go to college, they can always join the military, get discipline, experience and college paid for in return for doing something."

    Yup, if you want a decent education, you best go overseas, and kill some brown kids so our politicians can make bank from oil companies first.

    Sure, you might die just trying to get an education, but at least then you won't be sullying up those schools for all the rich children who get to go just because they were born rich.

  • vdpruett Jul 7, 1:49 p.m.

    I did try to post a comment here.

  • gingerlynn Jul 7, 1:38 p.m.

    Yes he is getting 35-50 an hour for the lawn. 10-15 babysitting and minimum wage at their part time jobs. But they will each have about 3,000 in the bank to live on when they go back to school in the fall. (about 300 a week for the summer)

    I guess earning money through hard work is passe now. Why bother, just ask for a government handout.

  • vdpruett Jul 7, 1:28 p.m.

    I saw the comment about wasting billions in Iraq and Afghanistan. From 2001 to the end of 2010 (9 years) we spent 900 billion. But in the year 2010 (just ONE year) we spent 736 billion dollars on welfare...college students a burden? War a burden? Not really. The real burdens are the fifth generation welfare recipients who believe government aid is a way of life, not a temporary solution to unemployment or disaster. The real burdens include those like Carroln who don't think about or research what is really going on before giving an opinion...and therefore do absolutely nothing to help make matters better...This is as bad as healthcare. For 450 employees on Capital Hill we pay 82.5 billion dollars over 10 years for 75% of their healthcare costs...when we as taxpayers can't afford our own. That doesn't include all the other state and federal employees. Of course they don't want our children educated. One of them might see what I see....

  • WHEEL Jul 7, 11:55 a.m.

    Wonder how many 100k/yr that smug Steve Brooks, Director of the NC Education Asst. Authority, is pulling down.

  • tdouble232323 Jul 7, 11:50 a.m.

    The public University Administrators and Professors would like to thank the State of NC for their continued support of their awesome salaries and even better pensions. Let the good times roll for Academia!

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