Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News
Bloomington - A billion dollar fund-raising effort at Indiana University is paying for scholarships the university has never offered before. Much of that money is going to students who have never qualified for financial aid before.
Parents looking to send their children to college are also looking for money to pay for it. Tuition is rising and financial aid is falling. The amount of money students are borrowing is increasing.
Jim Wharton was visiting the IU-Bloomington campus Monday. He has four children and is thinking about the price tag. "The last thing we want to do as parents is to strap our kids for half their lives just paying for their education," said Wharton.
Scholarships IU has never offered before should offer relief to families and an incentive to good students shopping colleges for the best offer.
A combination of donations to the "Matching the Promise" campaign and existing financial aid is providing full scholarships for low-income students, nearly full scholarships for students of families earning as much as $50,000 a year and automatic academic scholarships for students with good SAT scores.
For more than a third of this year's freshman, IU says the $14,512 cost of tuition, room and board dropped by at least 40 percent. A thousand students pay almost nothing.
"We are opening our doors to students from low and moderate income families across the state," said IU President Michael McRobbie.
Even with a full tuition scholarship, 21st Century Scholar Monica Burris doubted she could afford college. Then IU picked up the roughly $7,000 cost of room and board.
"I am a first generation college student", the freshman explained. "So to fulfill my dream and go to school, is a 100 percent Godsend."
Next year IU will automatically offer academic scholarships to students no matter what their income. Good test scores and high grade point averages will pay off with lower college costs.
IU is about two thirds of the way toward reaching the billion dollar goal Matching the Promise campaign.