UI dependents receive more aid, no institutional scholarships
The University of Idaho approved a new benefit for dependents of UI employees that would waive 50 percent of the student’s tuition, but accepting the waiver means giving up all institutional aid.
“It came about as a resolution from the faculty senate and it was presented to the president as a method of recruitment and retention of faculty and staff,” said Ron Smith, Vice President of Finance and Administration. “We took it to the Board of Regents and then they approved it.”
Smith said students cannot have both institutional aid and the waiver because then UI would receive little to no revenue.
“If you get external scholarships you get to keep those, but if you choose to take the waiver then that is also institutional aid,” Smith said. “In other words, the institution will pay whatever you get the max — the financial aid or the waiver, but not both. It’s not money we are handing out, it’s losing revenue.”
But the proposal to the State Board of Education did not mention the stipulation.
Marilyn Whitney, communications officer for the State Board of Education, said the stipulation is in line with the proposal.
“Implementation is left up to the institution,” Whitney said.
She said those kinds of details — students being forced to choose between the waiver and institutional aid — is not something the board approves.
“They don’t need to see those details,” Whitney said.
Smith said the stipulation was just a matter of implementing the benefit.
Whitney said the benefit does what it is supposed to.
“It was designed to ease the burden on students,” she said.
While the waiver provides a 50 percent reduction, students would lose thousands of dollars of additional funding.
The waiver is only available for in-state tuition, which is $6,212 a year. With the tuition waiver, students would save $3,106.
An Idaho resident could receive between $1,000 and $4,500 in institutional scholarships, not including other departmental and university scholarships. If students were able to accept both the waiver and institutional scholarships, their tuition would be almost or entirely paid for.
Keith Ickes, UI executive director of planning and budget, said the faculty senate calculated that there would be 113 students already enrolled and an additional 28 new students that could use the benefit for a total of 141 students.
“But I would tentatively say there are 70 students currently and an additional 20 that would take advantage of the benefit for a total of 93,” Ickes said. “With the faculty senate calculations there were a few assumptions. One was that it would result in increased enrollment and the state would fund the growth. This isn’t going to happen.”
Ikes said the higher total of 141 would result in a loss of $248,880, but his smaller estimates would result in a loss of about $150,000.
“There are no final numbers. We are still waiting to see how many people came,” Ikes said. “But I expect about $150,000 in revenue loss because many students were already enrolled paying full tuition or close to full tuition that are now paying half.”
Lori Krasselt, student health insurance manager, said the university uses the Go Idaho scholarship program as a benefit for the “best and brightest” students.
“It’s based on GPA and test scores, and guarantees financial support from UI,” Krasselt said. “The dependent tuition reduction benefit that just passed is an employee incentive. It’s supposed to be an incentive for recruiting and maintaining valuable employees.”
Krasselt said when the benefit was presented the details were not all there, but after it was passed the details were sent out and explained that to use the benefit students have to forfeit UI scholarships.
“The issue is if you look at the Go Idaho wording, it’s a guarantee of funding. (The benefit and scholarships) are two separate things,” Krasselt said. “The benefit is separate to help employees because we haven’t had raises in a while and the benefit is to help compete with other employers.”
Krasselt said the stipulation isn’t right.
“If there is a family with a student who has earned academic scholarship and an employee who has earned the right for an employee benefit — for that family to lose the benefit because they both happen to be in the same family isn’t fair,” Krasselt said. “I guarantee there is not just one family out there who has a student with academic scholarships. It’s an employee benefit they presented to employees who have students. In my mind, our families should qualify for that.”
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