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May 31, 2005 - Image 16

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-05-31

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2005
'U' creates new M-PACT financial aid package

March 07, 2005
By Farayha Arrine and Anne Joling
Daily Staff Reporters
A new need-based grant program for in-
state undergraduates will become available
this fall to replace some loans with grant
money in the financial aid packages of almost
3,000 students, University President Mary Sue
Coleman announced last week.
Known as M-PACT, the program will fund
grants of $500, $1,000 and $1,500 to eligible
students, allowing them to use the money to
replace loans in their financial aid packages.
Once the program is in effect, 80 percent of
the aid in a full financial aid package will
consist of grants and work-study assistance,
which students do not have to pay back upon
This year, students whose families could
not afford to make any contribution to their
tuition costs received 30 percent of their
financial aid in the form of loans. The new
program would reduce that number to 20
The University expects the program to help
2,900 undergraduates in its first year but pre-
dicts an expansion in years to come as more
low-income high school students become
aware of the new grants and make the deci-
sion to apply to the University.
Melinda Kleczynski, an LSA sophomore,
said she will be taking out loans next year in
order to cover tuition costs and would be inter-
ested in the M-PACT program.
"Basically, I don't know where I'm going to
be after college or what my situation will be,

so grants would be really helpful." Coleman said.
Coleman's Michigan Difference campaign The new program will also be helpful to stu-
- an effort to raise money through private dents no longer receiving a Pell Grant under
donations in the face of state appropriations a new federal formula determining eligibil-
cuts - will provide seed money to get the ity. Under the new formula, the Bush admin-
program on its feet. Coleman has committed istration will cut grants to students who no
$9 million in longer qual-
donations to ify for them
fund the ini- MIbecause their
tial three years US m a family income
of the program has increased.
and after that " The new program will offer grants to replace loans in The money
hopes to main- student financial aid packages saved from
tain its funding this process
with the help of " Grants through M-PACT will be given in sums of $500, will go toward
private donors, $1,000 and $1,500 making the
ultimately cre- grants given
ating a $60 mil- " The program expects to help 2,900 undergraduate to more needy
lion endowment and work toward a possible expansion students larger
for M-PACT. and possibly
University " Grant eligibility will be need based, but the University increasing the
Provost Paul expects that M-PACT will even offer some assistance number of stu-
Courant said to students who do not come from the lowest income dents receiv-
that, despite bracket ing grants
recent cuts in The new
state appropria- * The program expects to help 2,900 students and formula will
tions, the Uni- work toward a possible expansion affect Univer-
versity remains sity students
committed to because 1,677
making educa- out of the
tion affordable to all students. 3,335 undergraduates who receive the grant
"We choose to invest our scarce resources will lose about $400, the Detroit Free Press
in accessibility and in the lives and futures of reported, while 300 University students will
Michigan's students," he said. no longer qualify for the grants.
The $60-million endowment that will Engineering sophomore Conor Burns said
ensure the survival of M-PACT will be cre- the new grant program would be extremely
ated through a massive fundraising effort, beneficial to him. Burns said he will be losing

grant money due to the recent cuts made to the
Pell Grant program.
"Basically, I'm receiving about $10,000 a
year in loans and I'm $15,000 in debt, so hav-
ing more grant options would be great," Burns
said. "I don't want to be shackled with more
debt than I can possibly pay off in the 10 years
after I graduate. The less I have to pay back,
the better."
Although M-PACT aims to help those
whose families fall into the lowest income
bracket and who already qualify for the high-
est Pell Grant of a little more than $4,000,4
Coleman expressed hope that the program
would benefit those whose families fall into a
higher income bracket - $50,000 to $70,000
per year - but still have trouble paying for
Andrea Craig, a counselor at Detroit City
High School said she was excited to hear that
M-PACT may help families who do not fall4
into the lowest income bracket.
"Working families who are not making an
extremely high amount of money, but just
meeting their needs don't get the Pell Grant
money, you have to be considered destitute
in order to qualify," Craig said. "It would be
wonderful for a good student coming from an
average income family to qualify for this new
grant program."
Eligibility for M-PACT grants will be
determined by the level of family contri-
bution and other factors used to distribute
financial aid packages. Two-thirds of Uni-
versity students currently receive need-based
financial aid in the form of grants, loans or


Median grades will be
on LSA transcripts

December 07, 2004
By Justin Miller
Daily Staff Reporter
Faculty members of the College of Literature, Sci-
ence, and the Arts yesterday approved two changes
to students' official transcripts, which are likely to go
into effect next year.
Faculty voted to add the median grade of classes
onto LSA students' transcripts, and they approved a
measure to omit the "W" on first-semester students'
transcript if they choose to withdraw from a class
after the drop/add deadline.
LSA will begin listing the median grade on tran-
scripts for classes that have 10 or more students. The
median grade will only be listed on transcripts for
LSA students.
The change seeks to provide more information
to employers and graduate schools that look at tran-
scripts, said Bob Megginson, LSA associate dean for
undergraduate education.
"I believe there will be a positive effect on every-
one because people will believe the University of
Michigan is providing more information to make its
grading more transparent," he said.
The change seeks to make LSA students' grades in
particular classes and their overall grade point aver-
ages more meaningful. Recently, many employers
have been devaluing GPAs out of a perception that
they are inflated by universities across the nation.
While members of the LSA curriculum commit-
tee say the change will counteract grade inflation by
making grades more meaningful, Megginson said the
changes are not aimed specifically at curbing grade
inflation. He said this proposal could encourage some

professors to raise their grades to be in line with other
professors in their department, or vice versa. 4
"It is not the job of this proposal to legis-
latively modify someone's grading system,"
Megginson said.
He said the current system that only includes
an individual's grades obscures information
that is important for students to understand
how they performed in a course relative to
their classmates. That distinction would make
transcripts more relevant to evaluation by
employers and graduate schools.
The passed proposal mirrors a similar pol-
icy at Columbia University. At Columbia, stu-
dent transcripts list the percentage of students
who received a certain grade in their classes.
"I never heard a negative comment from
students (regarding the policy)," said Jayne
Brownell, referring to her six years on Colum-
bia's faculty before becoming director of the
University's academic career center.
But plenty of negative comments were heard
from some faculty members last night, espe-
cially that this effort may make high-perform-
ing students' grades seem less impressive than
they are.
"I think if there's the potential for misin-
terpretation that is a negative," said Robert
Pachella, professor of psychology and a mem-4
ber of the curriculum committee said.
The other proposal the LSA faculty approved
is that the "W" that appears on a transcript
after a student withdraws from a class after
the drop/add deadline will be excluded for
first-semester students.

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