Tuition assistance approved

Mai Hoang

This holiday season, faculty, administrators and staff at Western will be working together to provide some students with a gift.

The chance to continue their education.

The University Senate approved a proposal on Thursday to seek donations from faculty and staff for a fund that will provide money to students who can’t pay for the $200 tuition increase next semester.

The idea to create the fund came after several senate members expressed concerns to Provost Barbara Burch that some students may not be able to get additional financial aid to pay for tuition.

“As much as this tuition increase was needed for academics, we want to make sure we do everything we can to help students to meet their financial needs to continue their studies,” Burch said.

The Board of Regents passed the tuition increase last month to support an academic enhancement plan.

Lois Jircitano, an educational administration professor, will lead a committee that will distribute the money to students. She was one of the first to talk to Burch about her concern.

Jircitano said she has personally experienced how extra financial aid can help a student get an education.

The WKU Foundation will be in charge of soliciting the money. They will be collecting throughout December.

No one in the community will be solicited for this fund, Jircitano said.

“This is just an in-house thing the faculty, administration and staff would like to do with students,” she said.

The Office of Financial Aid will examine student records and provide a list of students who will have the most financial need.

The committee of faculty and staff will then meet and decide which students will receive funding, Jircitano said. Students may have to provide letters of recommendation from their professors.

The committee wants to chose the group of students by January, Jircitano said. The students who are chosen will likely be given $200 to fully cover the tuition increase.

Students who have reached their limit on financial aid would not be able to get the money if it’s given in the form of a need-based scholarship, she said. The university will try to keep the money from being classified as financial aid because of that.

One of those possibilities is to have faculty and staff donors give the money directly to students in a reception.

President Gary Ransdell said he was glad to see that faculty and staff were willing to give to students.

Although most donors give money for merit-based scholarships, Western will not rule out soliciting donations to get need-based aid, he said.

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]