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Colorado Mesa University’s FY14 budget includes an increase of more than $2.5 million in institutional support. The largest increase will go towards institutional scholarships designed to support students through merit-based financial aid.


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MavScholars help account for $2.5 million increase in student support

Colorado Mesa University’s FY14 budget includes an increase of more than $2.5 million in institutional support. The largest increase will go towards institutional scholarships designed to support students through merit-based financial aid.

“The reality is that federal Pell grants are need-based, student loans are need-based and that’s the lion’s share of aid that comes in the door,” said Vice President of Student Services
John Marshall.

“The university then comes in
with … increasingly more important dollars to support students who have distinguished themselves. Most of our dollars go to students for academic merit.”

According to Curt Martin, Director of Financial Aid, the significant increase is due in large part to a recent influx of MavScholars— students who excel in the classroom and community. These high performers are drawn to CMU’s factulty and facilities, as well as the opportunities for financial aid.

“I really think it’s one of the better scholarship programs in Colorado,” Martin said. “If you can get tuition and fees for a 29 ACT score and a 3.75 GPA, that’s pretty good. I think a lot of students, and especially their parents, are becoming more cost-sensitive so that plays into it.”

“[The MavScholar program is] some of the best dollars in financial aid that we spend. It’s the university recognizing highly motivated and high-achieving students. They tend to graduate faster, they tend to raise the bar for everyone around them, they tend to push their peers. These pacesetters make us better as a university,” Marshall said.

Institutional funds are tuition-generated dollars. CMU has made material investments in institutional aid over the past five years. Next year, Marshall anticipates increased state funding.

“This coming year, we’re hoping and expecting to see a bump from the state of Colorado, which would mean new money in need-based, merit-based and work study funds. That would be new dollars to the university, new dollars to students and that could be really, really helpful. We’ll have to wait a few months to see how it shapes up, but that could be a real bonus,” he said.

Martin estimates that at least 1,500 students benefitted from institutional aid last year, and anticipates that CMU will recruit more MavScholars next year. Marshall agrees. “I think as we’ve continued to improve the quality of the university in every respect— the physical plant, the technology, but most importantly by adding [the] high-quality faculty— we’re going to continue to recruit those high-achieving, highly motivated students,” Marshall said.

Next year’s institutional support budget also includes an increase of funds for MAVworks, a work-study program for students who do not qualify for need-based financial aid and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

“These are jobs that are adding a lot of value to the university,” Marshall said. “But even better for us, those are dollars that are helping middle-income kids pay for their college, and at the same time connecting those students to the campus in a way that makes them much more likely to retain … We’re looking to continue to grow university investment because every dime we spend [is] pumped right back into the university. I would expect to see us continue to invest in merit funds as well as work programs on campus.” •

Media Contact

Dana Nunn, Director of Media Relations

dnunn@coloradomesa.edu

970.248.1868 (o)

970.640.0421 (c)