Web Tool to Ease Financial-Aid Process

    A new online financial-aid tool unveiled this week allows dependent students living on campus to view a personalized projection of the amount of financial aid they can expect to receive upon enrollment at any of the UC campuses.

    By entering personal information such as annual student and family income, assets, family size and the number of family members attending college, students and their parents are provided an estimated cost of attendance, the amount of grant and scholarship assistance they are eligible to receive and their expected contribution to the remaining net cost.

    “We anticipate that many prospective students, those current high school seniors and their families, will be using this in the coming months,” UCSD Director of Financial Aid Ann Klein said. “Also, current students may be interested in reviewing the calculator to see what happens when their family’s financial circumstances change.”

    Though the online estimator for UCSD was made available this September, the tool was officially launched systemwide earlier this week when all campuses were ready.

    “Families are understandably anxious about rising college costs, a tightening credit market and an uncertain economy,” UC President Mark G. Yudof said. “But I believe this new Web-based tool will reassure many students and their families that a UC education is indeed within their reach. In some cases, families may be truly surprised by the amount of scholarship and grant aid they would be eligible to receive.”

    Prior to the availability of this tool, students were not able to approximate how they might finance a UC education until they had been accepted, had filled out an application for financial aid and received an award letter.
    Students are now able to compare the costs of attending a UC campus and create a projected financial plan even before they have applied.

    UC spokesman Ricardo Vazquez said he doesn’t believe that the differences in financial aid projected by the estimator will be the determining factor for students in the process of choosing which UC campus to attend.
    “The variations in aid between different UC campuses would vary a little bit, and I don’t think they would necessarily be a deciding factor for a student [within the UC system],” he said. “Students make those decisions based on many factors, financial aid being just one of them.”

    Klein is optimistic that using the tool will demonstrate to many students and their families that a UCSD education is affordable, and encourage them to apply for financial aid.

    “More than half of our undergraduates receive some form of need-based support,” Klein said. “A third of our undergraduates receive the federal Pell Grant for low-income students. This is far more than at comparable national universities. The average gift aid awarded is about $10,300 a year, and by using the calculator, students and families will see that a UC San Diego education is possible.”

    Estimators for each UC campus can be found at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/paying.html.

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