Mesa State to get $3.7M from state for financial aid

Mesa State College will receive the only raise in state financial aid next year among Colorado’s public, four-year institutions.

The college’s award of $3.7 million in state-provided financial aid for 2011–12 will be $410,171 higher than the amount of financial aid it received from the state in 2010–11. Mesa State will get more money this coming school year because of booming enrollment, Mesa State Financial Aid Director Curt Martin said.

Financial aid is awarded based in part on a three-year average of enrollment growth or shrinkage at each school. Mesa State’s average for this year’s allocation was 12.5 percent enrollment growth, the highest in the state among public, four-year schools. The next-closest average was 10 percent at Metro State College, Martin said.

“Everyone else had a small increase or decreased,” he added.

With $2.1 million less for the state to spend on financial aid in 2011–12 compared to 2010–11, and more students qualifying for need-based aid because of the slumping economy, only the biggest leaps in enrollment earned schools extra money.

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education on Friday approved $91 million in financial-aid allocations to public, four-year and two-year institutions, vocational schools, and nonprofit and for-profit private schools. Mesa State and 12 community colleges received more money than the previous year in the new allocations.

Among the four-year colleges and universities, Colorado State University received the biggest monetary cut, declining $1.3 million to $7.5 million. Western State College received the biggest percentage cut, declining 16.7 percent to $740,922.

Mesa State’s state financial aid package will include $664,590 in work-study funds next year, the same amount allocated to the school last year, and $3.05 million in need-based aid.

It’s difficult to guess how many students will arrive this fall with Pell Grants and student loans, the most common sources of federal financial aid, but Martin predicts Mesa State students will use $60 million to $63 million in financial aid from all sources in 2011–12. The college will provide about $4 million of that financial aid, he said, and private sources will likely supply about $3 million of that total. The rest will come from federal sources.

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