Graduates of CU for 2007-08 had the second-lowest debt load in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges 2010 report. Of the 572 universities in the Universities-Master's category, CU has the lowest debt load - $7,000 - in the West, Midwest and South regions. In tabulating debt load, the report includes loans taken out by students from colleges, from private financial institutions and from federal, state and local governments. Parents' loans are not included. Approximately 68 percent of CU's students graduate without any debt at all. According to the report, the average financial aid package, consisting of need-based grants, need-based loans and work study, for CU students in 2007-08 was $8,100.
"By freezing tuition and fees and implementing CU $upports You, a comprehensive student financial assistance package, Cameron continues to be among the best values in the nation for providing quality education," says CU President Cindy Ross. "Financial hardship should not be a deterrent to achieving a college degree, and we are committed to keeping costs low and providing students as much financial assistance as possible. We do not want Cameron graduates to be burdened with excessive debt."
One of the major components of CU $upports You is an increase in student scholarships. In 2009-2010, more CU 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 other scholarships, a three percent increase of $50,000 over last year's amounts. Since Fall 2002, the amount of money budgeted for student resident tuition waivers and other 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.
Other elements of CU $upports You are:
- "Check It Out Books" - To assist students with the high costs of books, CU budgeted $200,000 to purchase textbooks for all of Cameron's general education classes and most popular courses/ These textbooks are available for student use in the Cameron Library and at the Duncan branch.
- Tuition Payment Plan - For the first time, Cameron students 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.
- 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. These opportunities may available free of charge or at greatly reduced fees.
- Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans - Cameron has partnered 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.
- Emergency Loan Program - CU's 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.
U.S. News & World Reports has been compiling data and publishing America's Best Colleges for more than 25 years. Cameron University is included in the West region of the Universities - Master's category. The publication defines institutions in that category as "those offering a broad scope of undergraduate degrees and some master's degree programs but few, if any, doctoral programs."
September 29, 2009