Enrollment, financial aid up at Indiana University

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Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News

Bloomington - Indiana University says its Bloomington campus has about all the students it can handle - in the middle of a devastating recession. Record amounts of financial aid are putting kids in college who otherwise couldn't afford it.

More than 7,000 freshmen are moving into Indiana University. That's fewer than last year, but still more than the university counted on. Enrollment is up overall, and once again, dorm lounges will be converted to temporary living quarters for about 250 students until more rooms become available.

The recession is having little effect on enrollment. President Michael McRobbie points to significant increases in financial aid.

"Our real goal has been to enable more Hoosiers from low-income backgrounds to come to Indiana University," said McRobbie.

Need-based aid alone jumped 17 percent. Students from qualifying low-income families receive state and federal aid. IU makes up the difference, so the students can attend for virtually nothing.

"We have tried extremely hard over the last four or five years to increase by a very major amount the amount of financial aid that we are providing to students, particular for in-state, Indiana students. The result is not only the numbers of Indiana students who are coming to IU but also the quality of those students. We are now attracting to IU students who I think in previous years would have left the state and gone elsewhere," said McRobbie.

Without the help, Amber Stewart would be in trouble.

"I would be taking out a lot of loans and be in a lot of debt right not," said Stewart.

Instead of hanging out in his new dorm room, Michael Goodwin says he would be working for minimum wages.

"With the recession effecting my family the way it did, I didn't have any extra money to pay for anything," he said.

There are increases in academic scholarships which aer helping to bolster enrollment and attract more top students from Indiana and other states, according to IU.

Money turned Texan Marcus Tedesco into a Hoosier.

"He wouldn't be here if we didn't get it. Wouldn't be able to afford it. It's a deal maker," said David Tedesco, Marcus' father.

Even with additional financial help, many parents say they are making many sacrifices.