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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

October 28, 2003

Financial aid tops $100 million mark

CSUS reached a bittersweet milestone during the last academic year, disbursing more than $100 million in financial aid.

“Sweet” because the financial aid staff works hard to make sure students qualify for all the assistance they possibly can.

“Bitter” because it’s an indicator of the increasing amount of public higher education costs being borne by students. And the mark was reached before this year’s 30 percent CSU fee increase.

In all, 14,150 CSUS students received a portion of $102.1 million in aid last year. That’s roughly half of the student body receiving some combination of federal, state and university grants, as well as funds from various loan programs and scholarships.

The average financial aid recipient received $7,216, and the total disbursement was 26.7 percent higher than the year before.

Linda Joy Clemons, the University’s financial aid director, stresses that fee increases account for only a small part of the rising financial aid need. She says rising housing costs as well as enrollment growth of some 1,600 students were more important factors.

“Financial aid eligibility is not based entirely on fees, but on the whole cost of going to college. That includes things like housing costs and transportation costs,” Clemons says. “So ultimately, most of the financial aid we disburse is spent in the community rather than on campus.”

This year, for instance, CSUS fees for a full-time undergraduate are $2,513. In fact, students throughout the CSU system still enjoy the lowest fees among comparable universities nationwide.

But the estimated cost of going to school for full-time CSUS undergraduates living on their own off-campus is $15,662. Even for students living at home with parents, the estimated cost is $9,750.

Of the aid disbursed last year, about 81 percent came from federal sources. About $2.1 million was in work study, $36.8 million was in grants and $2.5 million was in scholarships.

Unfortunately, says Clemons, CSUS matches the national trend of an increasing amount of aid coming through loans.

Fully $60.6 million of the aid last year was through student loan programs. Current CSUS students now carry an average of $13,329 in student-loan debt, and graduating students have an average student-loan debt of $17,291.

Clemons says financial aid staffers discourage students from borrowing more than they have to. But for a variety of reasons, Clemons says, many students are graduating with higher amounts of credit card debt as well. To help, the Student Financial Services Center offers workshops on wise credit use.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu