UCOP Web site unleashes new link

    The University of California Office of the President Web site hosts a new link titled, “”You can, we can help: meeting the financial challenges of college.”” The page profiles 12 UC students with various financial stresses and how they paid for the 2002-03 school year.

    Courtesy of www.ucop.edu

    The addition to the site comes amidst strained financial times for the University of California, with students seeing their fees raised at the beginning of spring quarter 2003 and with uncertainty as to the level of fees in the future.

    “”This almost seems like it’s a tool for the university to say that it’s okay for them to increase fees,”” said Steven Klass, University of California Student Association Chair.

    According to Hanan Eisenman, admissions coordinator for University of California Office of the President, research has shown that many low-income students lack the information that they need regarding financial aid.

    “”What this is intended to do is demonstrate for prospective and current students the resources that are available to them,”” Eisenman said. “”It highlights and illustrates the mix of resources.””

    However, not all interested parties perceive this Web site as a simple financial aid tool.

    “”It does one good thing and it does one bad thing,”” Klass said. “”It shows people that it is possible to go to school even if you have to work or if your parents cannot contribute much, but I don’t think it accounts for all the little things that can go wrong with financial aid.””

    Klass said he acknowledges the reality that many students have to work to be able to afford a UC education and as such, appreciates the Web page as another possible resource. However, Klass also said he felt that, in the context of recent and future fee increases, the creation of this Web page is not divorced from the university’s financial crisis.

    “”This Web site seems to say that anybody who wants to go to a University of California will be able to afford it,”” Klass said. “”And that’s just not true.””

    Kimberly Eurich, Employer Outreach Specialist for Crawford High School of San Diego, agrees with Klass. According to Eurich, even with the available financial tools, most students at Crawford could not afford a UC education without considerable financial help.

    “”Our students would have a hard time even in a work-study situation, and loans would be a daunting hurdle,”” Eurich said. “”Many of our students are on their own, possibly living with a cousin or friend, and don’t have access to parents, their tax forms, or understanding of how to apply for financial assistance.””

    Eurich said that while personal stories of successful students are valuable, most of the students at Crawford do not have enough motivation or family support in seeking out resources.

    Mission Bay High School Head Counselor Gretchen Rhoads found the Web site useful.

    “”I think students, especially juniors, could use these profiles when they are planning for college,”” Rhoads said. “”It gives them a picture of typical students at the University of California that have similar backgrounds. They can use it as a motivation, a ‘see, if they can, I can’-type of thing.””

    According to Rhoads, most Mission Bay High School students, with proper planning, can afford a University of California.

    “”It’s not easy to afford, but it is manageable with planning,”” Rhoads said.

    The UCOP Web site can be found at http://www.ucop.edu.

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