Columbia introduces new financial aid options | Will UMKC follow?

At the University of Missouri-Columbia, undergraduate students who receive Pell Grants no longer have to worry about tuition. The university just announced a new plan taking effect for the 2018-2019 school year.

Nicholas Prewett, Financial Aid Director at the university said, “All tuition and any associated fees from the university are covered for the year.”

This new program is known as the MU land grant, and its motivation goes back to the University of Missouri’s roots.

“The University of Missouri started as a land grant school where everyone could attend, so we just wanted to bring back access to education for all students,” Prewett explained.

Although all students who are Pell Grant eligible will benefit from the MU Land Grant, the ones who will benefit most are those who are not only Pell Grant eligible, but are also part of the Honors program living on campus in Columbia.

“For honor students, their tuition, books, living on campus and meal plans are covered, as we want to attract the best and brightest students to come to the University of Missouri,” said Prewett.

Living on campus allows students to meet new people and they do not have to spend time commuting to and from school. Honor students often have more work than regular students, leaving less time to find a job. Although right now this program is only in Columbia, students on other campuses see its potential benefits.

Anthony Gilyard, a junior from Kansas City said, “I would agree that they should look to have this program here at UMKC. Many honor students want to live on campus, but cannot afford it and some might even decide not to attend college due to the cost.”

When a new program is announced, one of the first things people often want to know is how the money will be provided. This could not be truer at a time when university funds are constantly slashed. People might speculate that the money came at the costs of other programs.

This is not the case with the MU Land Grant, as it only uses money already allocated for financial aid.

“This MU Land Grant money came about by redistributing need based aid and strategic enhancements,” Prewett assured.

While this program is new at the University of Missouri-Columbia, it is not altogether unique. Many campuses help low-income students cover tuition.

Since 2011, UMKC has offered the Advantage Grant that helps cover tuition for low-income students. This program is automatic for any student who qualifies for a Pell Grant and requires no additional paperwork.

This grant is renewable each year a student continues at UMKC. However, it cannot be received by students who are pursuing degrees in the School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy or Conservatory of Music and Dance. Moreover, it’s important to note that the Advantage Grant only covers tuition, not fees.

Since starting in 2011, the Advantage Grant has helped over 650 UMKC students attain an affordable education.

 

rszb4f@mail.umkc.edu

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