Some MU work-study students lose, receive less financial aid

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | 4:32 p.m. CDT; updated 7:10 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 13, 2012
The amount of MU student work-study applications has increased from more than 27,000 to more than 35,000 during the past three fiscal years. The average amount of work-study awards for returning students decreased from fiscal year 2012.

COLUMBIA — Some returning MU students did not have their work-study grants renewed this year because of a change in who is eligible for aid.

After an increase in financial aid applications, the Office of Student Financial Aid decided to focus on "higher need" students when awarding federal work-study grants, said Nicholas Prewett, director of financial aid.

After the deadline for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid the financial aid office evaluates the number of applications to see how many students qualify and how much aid they can offer each student and each grade level, Prewett said.

The office decided to lower the Expected Family Contribution — the number used to determine a student's eligibility for financial assistance that is calculated using a formula that accounts for the parents' and student's income.

Along with this change, which left some students above the benchmark that qualifies them for work-study, the average amount of work-study awards for returning students decreased by $300, Prewett said.

The number of FAFSA applications at MU for the 2012-2013 school year increased to 35,314, from 32,354 at the same point last year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education's website. The number of applications has increased for the past three years by about 8 percent each year.

This is not the first time financial aid has changed due to an increase in applications. In 2009, a 16 percent increase in the number of FAFSA applications submitted led to a decrease in the amount of each student's award.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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