Cameron University is launching "CU $upports You," an ambitious financial assistance program to help students and their families afford a college education, CU President Cindy Ross announced today. The Board of Regents for The University of Oklahoma, Cameron University and Rogers State University approved the program as an initiative of the FY2010 budget during its regularly scheduled meeting in Ardmore yesterday. "CU $upports You" is a comprehensive package offering financial programs and other innovative options to help cover the costs of college-related expenses.
"By freezing tuition and fee rates for the coming academic year, Cameron will remain the second-most affordable university in Oklahoma," says Ross. "Still, we realized the need to take additional steps to assist our students as they face the economic realities of higher education. We established ‘CU $upports You' to help alleviate some of the costs associated with a college degree and to help students reach their goal of a college education."
Cameron officials are committed to providing high quality education at a reasonable cost and to providing financial assistance whenever possible. According to U.S. News & World Reports' America's Best Colleges 2009, graduates of Cameron University carry the lowest debt load of the 572 institutions surveyed in the Universities - Master's category. Approximately 59 percent of CU's students graduate without any debt at all.
"CU $upports You" components include:
- Increased Student Scholarships - Currently at Cameron, 72 percent of our students receive some kind of financial assistance, compared to an average of 50 percent at other Oklahoma colleges and universities. In 2009-2010, more students will receive scholarships, and those scholarships will be in higher amounts. CU has budgeted $1.5 million in resident tuition waiver scholarships and $200,000 in scholarships. This is a three percent increase of $50,000 over last year's amounts. Since Fall 2002, the amount of money budgeted for student resident tuition waiver and scholarships has increased by $941,000, a 124 percent increase in seven years.
Additionally, the Cameron University Foundation has budgeted $332,050 for scholarships, a 21 percent increase of nearly $70,000 from last year.
- "Check It Out Books" - According to data from The College Board, students at four-year public universities spent an average of $1,077 on textbooks during the 2008-09 academic year. To assist our students with the high costs of books, Cameron University has budgeted $200,000 to purchase textbooks for all of Cameron's general education classes and most popular courses and make them available for student use in the Cameron Library and at the Duncan branch.
- Tuition Payment Plan - For the first time, Cameron students will have the ability to pay their tuition and fees in four installments during the semester. Students who choose this option will be eligible for early enrollment for the next semester. This plan will help students manage their funds and ease the stress of paying for college.
- Displaced Worker Assistance - In cooperation with the South Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board and the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG), area Workforce Development Offices, and Oklahoma Employment and Securities Commission, Cameron is assisting displaced workers in seeking out education and training opportunities to help them reenter the workforce. Often these opportunities are available free of charge or at greatly reduced fees. Cameron has developed a website with tips and information to assist displaced workers in locating funding to attend Cameron and complete a degree.
- Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans - Cameron is partnering with the United States Veterans Administration to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, which provides support to veterans eligible for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Cameron has committed to provide 50 qualifying students up to $2,484 each during the 2009-2010 academic year to help offset educational costs not covered by the Post 9/11 GI Benefits, a $124,200 commitment to our students who are veterans.
- Support for Military Spouses - CU participates in the Military Spouse Career Advancement Financial Assistance Program. Spouses of active duty military personnel may receive up to $6000 in assistance to pursue their college degrees. Cameron's Admission Office administers the program and is ready to assist the spouses of our soldiers.
- Emergency Loan Program - Unexpected financial emergencies can have a devastating effect on college students, causing some to drop out of school. Whether it is car trouble, medical bills or other financial emergencies, the Emergency Loan Program, funded through the Cameron University Foundation, provides students with a short-term loan to assist with unexpected expenses and allows them to continue their studies.
"The development of ‘CU Supports You' would not have been possible were it not for a lot of assistance from Cameron friends," says Ross. "Many thanks are due to our local legislators who took action to ensure that higher education received much needed funding from the Oklahoma Legislature. I also want to thank the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and specifically State Regent Bill Burgess. Bill has an unequaled commitment to our students, and through his direct actions, Cameron received an allocation from the State Regents that made this program possible. In addition, we are indebted to our generous donors - those individuals who provide Cameron University funds for student scholarships and initiatives that directly impact students, such as the emergency loan program. The Cameron University Foundation plays a key role in our ability to support our students."
Detailed information about the seven components that comprise "CU $upports You" can be found at www.cameron.edu/cusupportsyou. The components of this comprehensive financial assistance package share one common purpose - to ease the financial burden of obtaining a college degree.
"Students are the heart of Cameron's commitment," says Ross. "We want them to know that we are here to assist them outside of the classroom as well as inside as they pursue a college degree."
June 23, 2009