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Indiana Tech taps endowment to offset aid cuts

Indiana Tech officials promised students they will not have to worry about the financial aid crunch facing most other Hoosier college students this year.

Indiana Tech will draw about $500,000 from its scholarship endowment to offset the difference between what students originally expected to receive in financial aid and what they’ll actually receive.

Because of a dramatic increase in applicants, the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana decreased the amount of money individual students can receive to help pay for their education by 31 percent compared with last year.

“This is a serious thing for families and the students coming to college,” Indiana Tech President Arthur Snyder said during a news conference. “We’re digging deeper into our own reserves as an institution.”

Hoosier college students previously received an estimate of how much money they could expect from the state and will be notified this week of the difference – a likely decrease.

Even students who qualify for 100 percent assistance will receive a capped amount of money based on limits set by the state commission.

Students will have to make up the difference between their state financial aid package and the total amount of money they’ll owe their college or seek financial aid elsewhere.

Nearly 300 Indiana Tech students are affected by the cuts in the state grants, university officials said.

Indiana Tech is prepared to pick up the tab for the difference, which ranges from $400 to $6,000 a student. The average student faces a shortfall of about $1,700, Snyder said.

The promise is good only for the 2009-10 academic year. Snyder said that in the coming months, officials will re-evaluate the state’s financial situation and whether more money might become available next year. The school will then decide whether it will have to pick up the tab again next year.

Indiana Tech will make good on its offer both for new and returning students and for those who have yet to officially commit to the university, Snyder said.

Even if students walked in tomorrow, Indiana Tech would make up the difference in their financial packages, he said.

The news was a relief for Tiffany Aikin, 19, of Elkhart, who said that if she didn’t have the extra financial assistance from Indiana Tech, she might not have been able to return to school. Aikin was raised by a single mom and works two jobs on campus to supplement her education.

“It’s kind of hard to find the extra money when you don’t have it,” Aikin said.

ksoderlund@jg.net

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