Originally published April 15, 2015.
As the end of the semester winds down, it’s hard to not think about what the next year has to bring. For many students in Millersville, these plans include returning in the fall to yet another semester, filling out scholarship forms and making sure they meet the registration deadline.
This year, sophomores, juniors and seniors all noticed a bit of a change to their bills; this is because Millersville University enacted a new model for their tuition billing which is a “pay-per-credit” model; in other words, students pay for the credits they take. This change left some people with higher amounts to pay than what was previously thought.
This may have led to some misdirected anger to the Financial Aid Department, as students might not have known about the new information, or, if they did, they did not ask about it.
“Most students didn’t know about the per-credit-tuition model… It was everywhere, but most students did not call and complain. The information was put out there, I just don’t think most folks read it,” said Dwight Horsey, Director of Financial Aid and Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management.
During the winter break, in past years, students would receive a check for extra funds from loans, and the funds would be used to purchase books and other things needed; however, this semester, the funds arrived later. This was also due to the new pay-per-credit tuition model. “Because of the new tuition model, when you register for new classes, your financial aid is based on your registration. If you register for 12 credits, you’re eligible for 12 credits of benefits. In the past, it was one charge,” Horsey said.
“The reason we wait is because if we give the refund the first day of classes, and you add or drop a class, I have to now come back to you and ask you for that money back. No one wants to give money back,” Horsey said. “However, we do have emergency loan funds, if a student really needed that money before the drop/add date, we could help them with an emergency fund loan.”
Because students were paying for the number credits they were taking, instead of one flat charge, the university allocated funds to help with the gap, which may have made the students unable to attend. It’s called the MU Grant, and $1.1 million was set aside to help those that need it. “Not everyone is going to see that [money], but [if] people come and say they need help, we will find the resources to help cover financial aid,” Horsey said. However, it is too late this semester to tap into these funds; the best time to look into it is when bills are due, Horsey added.
While it may be too late this semester to get extra funds in the form of scholarships or grants, it’s not too late to start thinking about the upcoming fall semester. “The biggest, most important thing students can do in the summer is work and save as much money as they can,” Horsey said. “If nothing else, you definitely have to save money for books.”
According to Horsey, perhaps one of the most under-utilized resources that Millersville has to offer is the Millersville Scholarship Database. Freshmen don’t have much use for it, as students must have a Millersville GPA before applying. “Unfortunately most of our scholarships aren’t known about,” Horsey said. “[The database] makes it easy for you.”
Many may find the Financial Aid Department intimidating, but Horsey stressed that they’re more like counselors, rather than accountants. “We’re in a business of truth telling in financial aid… We’re always going to be honest with students, because we’re not salesman here,” Horsey said. “What we try to do is make it easy for you.”
Next year, be sure to stop by the Financial Aid Department, to look into what opportunities may be had. “I do wish more people knew what we did,” Horsey said. “Our job is to help you to the best of our ability, and that’s what we’re here to do.”