CU graduates continue to carry low-debt load

Graduates of Cameron University for 2008-09 had the third-lowest debt load in the nation, according to the just-released U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges 2011” report. Of the 572 universities surveyed in the Regional Universities category, CU ranks third nationally and second in the West region. This continues Cameron’s trend of having its graduates leave with low-debt totals, as CU has ranked in the top three nationally each of the past three years. Significantly, only 35% of CU’s 2009 graduates completed their degree work with any debt, while 89% and 55% of graduates from the first and second-ranked schools, respectively, incurred debt upon graduation.

In tabulating debt load, the report includes loans taken out by students from colleges, private financial institutions and federal, state and local governments. Parents’ loans are not included.

According to the report, the average financial aid package for full-time Cameron students is $10,100 per academic year, more than that received by students of other regional universities in the state.

“At Cameron University, we make a commitment - no student will be denied a quality education due to financial obstacles,” says Cameron President Cindy Ross. “Providing a multitude of financial assistance options is key to our students’ ability to graduate with little or no debt. An important component of financial assistance is scholarship opportunities. In addition to resident tuition waiver scholarships, many Cameron students benefit from private scholarships. Donors open doors to a quality Cameron degree through their generosity. We are truly appreciative of the donors who provide scholarships for Cameron students.”

Cameron’s commitment to providing increased financial support to students, despite decreased state funding, was evident when university officials crafted the current budget. Resident tuition waivers and university scholarships were increased by seven percent over last year – a two-year increase of more than 10 percent. Private scholarships were increased eight percent over last year - an impressive 37 percent increase in two years. More Cameron students are receiving scholarships than ever before, and those scholarships are in higher amounts. In the past nine years, Cameron has increased funding for tuition waivers and scholarships by 140 percent, from $759,000 to $1,819,000.

Major initiatives from CU $upports You, a comprehensive student assistance initiative launched in 2009, are being continued. The support includes a textbook check-out program known as Check It Out üBooks, participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans, assistance for displaced workers, and an emergency loan program.

In addition, the Cameron University Bookstore has launched “Rent-A-Text,” a textbook rental program to further reduce the cost of books.     

U.S. News & World Report 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 Regional Universities category, which includes institutions that provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs yet offer few, if any, doctoral programs.

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August 18, 2010

PR# 10-154