Board juggles funding formula for financial aid

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education will continue discussions on financial aid allocations for Colorado colleges and universities today during a meeting in Golden.

Last year, the commission decided to change the state’s normal financial-aid-allocation method by cutting funding for graduate students and for-profit schools in an attempt to keep funding relatively stable for other students. The number of students who needed financial aid increased, and state funding was tight, which prompted the change.

The commission will re-evaluate its allocation method this year. According to commission documents, the group will discuss ways to send institutions money in a way that: allows schools to create financial-aid packages in a timely manner; accounts for increases in students eligible for financial aid; considers tuition costs; and keeps financial-aid amounts relatively predictable for students year to year.

Colorado Mesa University Director of Financial Aid Curt Martin said any method the commission chooses will give the school more financial aid overall because enrollment has increased, but the increase could range from 0.22 percent to 3.5 percent.

“I honestly don’t know what they’re going to do,” Martin said.

Martin said the best scenario would be a method that offers enough money to make school affordable for low- and middle-income families without diverting too much money to one side and pushing another out of a financial-aid package that would make tuition affordable.

Martin said he originally expected cuts in state aid, especially for work study.

Now he’s only expecting reductions in federal Pell grants.

He said institutional work study and grants will help cover that as funding allows.

Martin said he plans to release financial-aid packages for this fall’s students this month or next month, as long as the information he needs from the state and federal governments arrive by then.


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