Locals struggle with tuition hikes

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The $1.50 raise Anthony Loughran's received Friday was cause for celebration, but it likely won't cover the extra $1,000 he'll have to come up with if he wants to return to the University of Colorado this fall.

And he does, but Loughran won't be able to focus the attention on coursework in his second year that he did his first. The 2004 Moffat County High School graduate probably will have to get a job because CU increased tuition for in-state residents by 28 percent -- a $944 hit.

According to Colorado North--western Community College officials, not only is CNCC inexpensive to begin with, but you also can receive various types of financial aid. Eighty-five percent of the college's full-time students do. CNCC offers a variety of financial assistance programs for full-time and part-time students. These programs include grants, work-study, scholarships and loans. Although CNCC has an open-application policy and will accept applications throughout the year, students submitting their files by the priority deadline, which was May 1, are given first consideration. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis after May 1. Tuition is based on residency. If you reside outside of Colorado but within one of the western United States, you may be eligible for the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program-WUE, which provides a lower tuition rate. All Colorado residents are eligible for funds from the College Opportunity Trust Fund, which was created by the Colorado Legislature to provide a stipend to eligible undergraduate students. The stipend pays a portion of the total in-state tuition at a Colorado public institution or a participating private institution. Eligible undergraduate students must apply, be admitted and enroll at a participating institution beginning with the fall semester of the 2005-2006 academic year. New and continuing students are eligible for the stipend. Qualifying students may use the stipend for eligible undergraduate classes. The stipend is paid on a per-credit-hour basis to the institution at which the student is enrolled. The credit-hour amount will be set annually by the General Assembly. Tuition (per credit hour) In-state -- $66.80 Out-of-state -- $276.10 CCCOnline -- $136.40

"He didn't work his first year because tuition was cheaper, and he really needed to just get used to being in college," Loughran's mother, Nancy, said.

Loughran's parents help with living expenses but expect their son to bear the brunt of tuition costs.

"My philosophy is he pays for his education. That way he has ownership," Nancy said. "It's truly his investment into his future."

Loughran entered CU last year as a sophomore because of the credits he had already earned from Colorado Northwestern Community College -- free because of the school's tuition buy-down program for all students who are Moffat County residents.

"That has really helped us financially, even more than I could imagine," Nancy said.

Loughran entered CU with several scholarships and will have some this year, but not nearly the amount. He said he will apply for a Stafford Loan.

Loughran is majoring in architectural planning and said his course load will make getting a job difficult.

The Loughrans have four children. Nancy estimates they've paid for 14 years of college in the past 10 years. Anthony is their only child in college this year, but he'll be joined by his brother next year.

A 28 percent increase brings the in-state tuition for CU to $4,400. Out-of-state students will see a 6 percent increase, bringing their annual payments to $21,900.

According to Moffat County High School Guidance Counselor Paula Duzik, only two of this year's graduates are planning to attend CU. Eight are heading to Colorado State University, where the tuition also increased, though not as severely.

"We haven't really had the time to let it sink in," said Jeanne Maneotis. "It's definitely going to affect us for the next few years."

Her daughter, Sari, has chosen to attend CSU next year. Her parents will pay all of her education-related expenses.

"We'll foot most of the bill because as far as we're concerned, Sari's done her job," her mother said. "She has gotten straight A's and taken the hard classes. She deserves a top-quality education."

Sari is working two jobs this summer to save spending money for school.

"We would hate for her to deplete her resources," Jeanne said.

Sari has earned $7,500 in scholarships -- more than enough to pay the bills for her first year.

CSU's 15 percent increase brings the in-state tuition to $3,381, up $441. Tuition for out-of-state students increased $816, which brings it to $14,343.

If the state Legislature's joint budget committee decides not to cut $13.8 million from CU's budget, it could eliminate the school's proposed tuition increase. CSU's would not change.

Budget cuts to Colorado schools during the past four years have brought the state to 49th in the nation for aid to higher education.

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