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University takes steps to become leader in financial aid

March 04, 2013

Since ASU President Michael Crow first arrived on the scene in 2002, he has made it his mission to increase access to education and position the university as a leader in financial aid. The Student Financial Assistance Office (SFA) has more than doubled aid disbursement in last seven years alone, allowing Sun Devils to receive a world-class education at a price they can afford.

ASU currently has just over 80.2 percent of students receiving some form of financial aid. SFA awards roughly $1 billion in aid annually, with the average funding at $11,413 per student receiving aid.

“We realize there can be financial challenges to attaining a college degree and we want to minimize this as much as we can by working with students to optimize their funding options and finding solutions that suit their needs,” said Melissa Pizzo, executive director of Student Financial Assistance.

The university also has created a series of options that allow for discounted tuition. The Western Undergraduate Exchange Program (WUE) offers residents from selected western states a tuition discount if they enroll in a WUE eligible major at ASU. Under the program, students pay 150 percent of resident tuition. This equates to about $14,000 a semester compared to about $23,000 for average out of state students.

The College of Technology and Innovation at the Polytechnic campus and the New College at the West campus offer a tuition discount for those who take their full course load at the respective colleges. The university recently opened the Colleges of Lake Havasu for students looking to earn a high-demand degree in sustainability and the sciences at a discounted price.

To educate students in the importance of being financially responsible, the university offers a series of budgeting and FAFSA workshops throughout the year. Students are able to learn about the resources available to them and which type of aid best suits their personal needs. MidFirst Bank partnered with ASU to offer similar sessions to students.

Keeping Sun Devils financially sound is certainly a priority to the university. ASU students are well below the national debt rate upon graduation. Arizona residents will walk away with about $20,827 in debt. Non-residents will carry roughly $25,646 in aid payback.

The numbers also show that having a degree from ASU pays off. According to recent grads, 82.4 percent said they were offered at least one job within 90 days a graduating. In a survey of bachelor degree recipients from 2011, those with a GPA of 3.5 and higher were making $46,625. These figures mirror a ranking by the Wall Street Journal that named ASU a top choice in the nation for recruiting new hires.

Students looking to apply for admission at ASU should do so now as priority deadlines for scholarships are coming up in March for undergraduate students. Graduate opportunities extend into April. Apply now.