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Grants encourage students to pursue education

Granting education to all

Attending college is an expensive endeavor for most students. With the cost of higher education increasing by an average rate of five percent over the past decade, according to The College Board, it is understandable how rising college costs may create difficulties for students pursuing their dreams. Luckily, there are options and resources to help students with the cost of college outside of loans. Grants and scholarships are sometimes called “gift aid” because they often do not have to be paid back by a student. The assistance that grants provide can make a significant difference in the financial burden that a student may experience when attending university.

Photo credit: Bobby Jones• CU Denver Sentry

Although it can seem like an indomitable, intimidating creature of anxiety and stress for students, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid can help students gain access to grants that will help fund their education.

Grants typically are processed through a student’s FASFA and proper filing of one’s FASFA can mean receiving multiple forms of aid. In addition to grants, FASFA also helps students gain access through eligibility and formulas to work-study funds and loans. The beauty of grants, however, are that, whether need-based or merit-based, not having to pay those funds back can take heavy stress away from the student. “Don’t have to rely on my parents as much and it encourages my independence,” Freshman Counseling and Human Development major Brittney Calcagno said. “Also, with college being more affordable, it makes me want to keep pursuing my degree.”

At CU Denver, grants are a vital portion of many students’ aid packages that help support the individual student costs of attending college on this campus. With student fee changes and tuition increases changing the cost of an education at CU Denver, grants allow students to have the opportunity to attend CU Denver and reach their academic goals without the worry of increasing loan amounts.

In Fall 2016, the number and proportion of Pell grant recipients at CU Denver peaked with a record of 3,738 students. Previously, nearly half of undergraduate students who earned a degree were students who used a Pell grant as a part of their aid package to achieve their baccalaureate degree.

According to the 2016-2017 Diversity Report released by the University of Colorado across all campuses, Pell grants have helped freshman students substantially in their educational decisions. For freshman students who received Pell grants, the retention rates for those students were consistently meeting or exceeding the average for all first-time freshman students at CU Denver. It seems that because of the added financial support, and because of less stress and anxiety caused by the semester bill, more freshman students who receive grants choose to stay enrolled and return for following years.

When asked about how grants have helped support her college goals, freshman Mikayla Watson, a Criminal Justice major, said, “Not having to stress about paying for college allowed me to focus on classes. I feel more encouraged to keep going.”

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