||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Characterize UW-Eau Claire
MAILED: Oct. 14, 1998|
Studies released last week on college costs contain some good news for American families who worry they won't be able to afford to send their children to college.
The annual College Board studies on college costs and financial aid availability, released Oct. 7, reveal that the majority of all students at four-year colleges and universities pay less than $4,000 this year for tuition and fees.
The studies also show that financial aid was available to students at a record level in 1998-99 more than $60 billion to assist with tuition, fees and other expenses of attending college.
At UW-Eau Claire, resident undergraduates pay less than the national average for four-year public institutions. This year they pay $3,009.90 for academic fees, which is $139.70 more than last year. These fees include tuition, a $50 per semester differential tuition charge unique to UW-Eau Claire, and segregated fees, which support a broad range of student activities and services including basic textbooks. Room and board rates are $927.50 per semester for rental of a residence hall room and a minimum of $639 per semester for food service.
UW-Eau Claire's costs constitute a tremendous bargain, according to Charles Bauer, vice chancellor for business and student services.
"UW-Eau Claire is one of the best higher education buys in the country because it offers so much value for the money," Bauer said.
The university's consistent ranking among the top regional public universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and this year's ranking as one of the nation's top 100 public college values by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine are indications of that value.
"Studies show that most Americans think the cost of tuition at a public university like UW-Eau Claire is about three times higher than the actual cost," Bauer said. "This miscalculation leads to discouragement that they will be able to go or send their children to college in the future."
Such miscalculation may be fueled in part because so much media attention is given to the "sticker price" at more expensive institutions, Bauer said
Investing in higher education makes good economic sense, both for individuals and for state and national governments, financial aid director Kathy Sahlhoff said. A college degree enhances earning power. Today's graduates can expect to earn $500,000 more than those without a degree over a 40-year career. Education also improves the quality of life, both for the individual and the society.
The university's textbook rental system, its focus on student work opportunities, and the service-learning degree requirement increase UW-Eau Claire's value for students. "Employers are looking for students with work experience, not just high grade-point averages," Sahlhoff said.
Sahlhoff said 6,800 UW-Eau Claire students received $32 million in financial aid last year. Of that amount, $19 million was based on financial need. Another 1,900 students worked on campus, earning $3 million through university-funded employment. Foundation-supported scholarships totaling $548,000 were awarded to 575 students, and more than 1,100 students received private donor scholarships totaling $1.2 million.
UW-Eau Claire students received just over $9 million in grant assistance in the form of scholarships, grants and stipends. In general, however, grant assistance continues to go down and loan money is going up as the kind of financial aid available students.
The average debt for UW-Eau Claire students at graduation is $11,309.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Oct. 15, 1998