More and more higher education institutions are doing their parts to bridge the gap between the cost of college and available financial assistance. Individual financial programs, such as the "Carolina Covenant" program provided by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are sprouting up throughout the nation. Recently, the University of Louisville decided to follow in the footsteps of UNC by making plans to implement the Cardinal Covenant in the fall.
Although these smaller programs have tighter criteria for eligibility than student loan programs, they can be considered very helpful supplements to federal or private loans. The president of the University of Louisville, James Ramsey, spoke last Thursday about the potential the Cardinal Covenant has to assist new students: "The program [...] would help 150 incoming freshmen cover the gap between expenses paid by financial aid and the actual costs of attending college. The money would not have to be paid back."
Although student loans are ideal when it comes to covering the burdens of tuition, recipients of Cardinal Covenant funding will be able to make ends meet when hidden expenses associated with housing, books, supplies, and food start to add up. The new program comes just in time, since there is an anticipated (but officially unapproved) 12% tuition hike for the upcoming school year at the University of Louisville.
The program is designed for incoming freshmen with significant financial need. For example, in order to qualify for the Cardinal Covenant program, a student's family must earn about $30,000 or less per year. About 22% of families in Kentucky meet this criterion. In addition, students must be residents of Kentucky and cannot solely apply for Cardinal Covenant assistance. To be eligible, they must apply for other forms of financial aid, as well, including grants and scholarships. It is President Ramsey's intention to show his commitment to the state and the community.
The program will cost about $250,000 in its first year and will be funded by the university's budget and private donations. More details will be revealed on January 23 when the Cardinal Covenant is officially proposed and unveiled.
A spokesperson for the University of Louisville commented on the plan's potential to help the low-income state of Kentucky receive an economic boost by allowing more students to attend college and give back to their state based on their higher education and employment advantages: "This is a national issue, but it is particularly acute in a poorer state such as Kentucky. Making higher education more affordable will create more jobs, increase quality healthcare, and provide for a better quality of life. U of L's action—which should mean more Kentuckians in higher education—is a win for the Commonwealth."
Article Title : Financial Assistance
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