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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

administration

Strategic plan might help alleviate student debt

Student debt might get a little lighter if the initiatives outlined in IU’s Strategic Plan come to pass.

The plan, released last week, primarily focused on improving students’ awareness of financial aid information.

The initiative in the Undergraduate Life section recommends increasing the visibility of scholarship and financial aid information for students.

IU’s goal is to create a comprehensive database of all the scholarships available and applicable to students, M.A. Venkataramanan, vice provost for strategic initiatives, said.

One of the concepts behind this initiative is to have a pool of funds, predominantly through philanthropic efforts, to further help students financially, he said.

In addition to scholarships, the plan also recommends expanding financial literacy programs in place at IU.

“We’re expanding upon it to help the students know that you don’t have to borrow that much money,” Venkataramanan said.

In addition to making the scholarships visible, the database would also include all of the criteria needed for each individual scholarship, Venkataramanan said.

The Strategic Plan also includes an initiative that proposes to “reduce the burden for every financially disadvantaged student admitted to IU-B.”

They would do this through a combination of increasing the amount of financial literacy education, scholarships and fellowships that would cover a percentage of financial need calculated by FAFSA for all undergraduate students.

“I think that the provost’s reason in this, is she believes that there is huge philanthropic support base available outside (the University), which we really want college students to experience so they can graduate at less debt as possible,” Venkataramanan said.

The Plan also included initiatives to increase financial aid and a potential new scholarship.

“When we chatted with students, at times the students felt that there weren’t enough scholarships throughout their four years in addition to when they’re coming in as a freshman,” he said.

A potential four-year Provost Scholarship was outlined in the plan.

It would be awarded to students who enter IU already having completed 24 credit hours. Students could then enter a pathway program to graduate
credentials.

The scholarship will be linked to the pathway programs, which are programs for students to attain graduate or undergraduate level certifications or a master’s degree in four years.

“What we are finding out in the nation right now, at IU especially, more and more students are coming in with advanced credits,” Venkataramanan said.

Various sources of funding are being looked into, he said.

“So the Provost’s scholar goal is to take the students from both professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences to leave this place with additional credentials so they become life-long learners as well as have fulfilling careers,” Venkataramanan said.

Kathrine Schulze

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