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July 11, 2011 - Image 2

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-07-11

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Monday, July 11, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

University strives to assist students
with tuition fees in light of increase

'U' considers
various factors when
admitting students
and awarding aid
By BRIENNE PRUSAK
and BRANDON SHAW
ManagingNews Editor
and Daily StaffReporter
Following the recent increase in
tuition and the release of statistics
from the Department of Education
listing the Universita as one of the
most expensive public institutions
in the nation, University officials
ensure this will not inhibit the
ability for students from all socio-
economic backgrounds to matric-
ulate at the University.
According to University spokes-
woman Kelly Cunningham, the
increase in tuition was imminent
in light of the 15-percent cut to
higher education as approved by
Republican Governor Rick Snyder.
Despite this the University will
continue to ensure fairness in the
admissions and financial aid pro-
cess for students coming from all
familial income brackets by pro-
viding increased financial aid and
opportunities to students in lower
income school districts.
While the University's net price
- the cost of tuition minus finan-
cial aid - is $16,888 compared
to the average $10,747, accord-
ing to the Department of Educa-

tion, Cunningham said students
are receiving more aid than ever
before.
The increase in aid can be
exhibited through the Univer-
sity's Board of Regents recently
approved $137 million financial
aid fund, one of the largest sums
of financial aid among public
universities in the country and
a 10.9-percent increase in Uni-
versity-funded financial aid for
the upcoming year, Cunningham
explained.
Additionally, 71 percent of
in-state students receive need-
based financial aid and those with
household incomes of less than
$80,000 pay less to attend the Uni-
versity now than they did in 2004,
Cunningham said.
In an e-mail interview last
month, Cunningham wrote the
University does its best to mitigate
the inherent barriers inhibiting
students with financial struggles
during the admissions and finan-
cial aid processes.
"(We can) state unequivocally
that (the University) does every-
thing possible to ensure accessi-
bility for all qualified and highly
motivated students," she wrote.
"The University is committed to
meet the full demonstrated need
of all admitted Michigan resi-
dents, and provides substantial
financial aid to make sure that
economic standing is not a barrier
to Michigan residents."
Cunningham added in addition
to offering aid, the University has

also invested considerable finan-
cial resources in K-12 programs
that may foster an interest in
attendingthe University.
Phillip Bowman, director of the
National Center for Institutional
Diversity at the University, said
there are vast disparities in pro-
cesses among public and private
universities regarding both high
school outreach and admissions
programs.
"Historically, private schools
have admitted students only with
many of the critiques that you
find in higher education - admit-
ting children of the wealthy,"
Bowman said. "It has become an
ongoing challenge for elite public
universities, such as the Universi-
ty of Michigan, to admit students
regardless to their economic back-
ground because of the correlation
between economic status and
preparation to college."
Bowman said students in lower
income distributions have less
access to materials and resources
during their K-12 years, which
yields a dilemma for universities
like Michigan because there is an
inherently skewed distribution
based on the lower grade point
averages and test scores common-
ly seen in statistics from students
of lower socioeconomic statuses.
Bowman, however, explained
the University has developed pro-
grams and processes to expand
the set of outreach and recruit-
ment activities to increase enthu-
siasm of attending college among

students inlower income brackets.
He added that examining
school size creates a challenge for
all admissions committees at pub-
lic universities in the country who
must give equal opportunity for
each student in the state, regard-
less of their hometown or school.
Furthermore, there are inher-
ent hindering factors, Bowman
said, because students in smaller
schools have less access to the
type of college readiness and aca-
demic preparation since smaller
schools are less likely to offer
Advanced Placement courses or
have programs that equate to its
alternative.
Nevertheless, Bowman added it
is a two-way dilemma because the
larger schools also make it harder
to compete.
"If most of these students in the
larger school have substantially
higher GPAs, then their class per-
centile is lower, and it becomes
more difficult to compare to the
smaller school," he said.
Bowman also explained there
is a growing divide and conflict
for top universities attempting to
bridge the gap between provid-
ing access to higher education and
maintaining a high level of com-
petitiveness.
"I think it is a growing crisis,
and that is because of the corre-
lation between test scores, col-
lege readiness and income and
wealth backgrounds of students,"
he said. "On the other hand, you
have a growing need to maintain
global competitiveness across this
nation."
Bowman added it is important
for institutions of higher edu-
cation to educate the growing
percentage of the economically
disenfranchised in order for the
country to remain competitive.
"The country however, I rec-
ognize, will not retain its status
as a competitive nation unless
the country is able to educate a
larger percentage of the popula-
tion," Bowman said. "Many of
whom are from middle and lower
income backgrounds who are dis-
proportionally getting access to
your more elite reasons, largely
because they don't have the same
access to public universities, but
also because they don't have the
same type of K-12 preparation."

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