Grant relieves financial burden for students

Struggling to pay tuition will soon be a distant dream from some Northern Kentucky University students, as the new Northern Difference Grant will offer more financial assistance for students.

“In an effort to provide financial assistance to Kentucky residents who demonstrate financial need and who are interested in attending NKU, the Northern Grant was created,” said Leah Stewart, director of Student Financial Assistance.

According to Stewart, the new need-based grant is institutionally funded at $350,000. These funds would be used to assist qualifying students in paying for the cost of college.

Currently, the approximate total cost of attending NKU, including tuition, parking, traditional dorms, a meal plan and books is $11,578 per year, according to Brandon Billiter, Office of the Bursar specialist.

NKU’s Web site for financial assistance explains that, to qualify, each student must be eligible to receive a Pell grant, as well as be a Kentucky resident and is a first-time freshman. Students then need to submit an application for admission and complete the Free Application for Student Financial Aid by April 20. Individuals must also be accepted with regular admission status and have a family income at 150 percent or below the national poverty level.

To continue eligibility for subsequent years, students must also maintain a minimum of a 2.5 GPA, be enrolled full-time and be in good standing.

“The Northern Difference Grant will help cover four years of college for those who qualify,” said Dr.James Votruba, NKU president.

According to Votruba, those students who fall in the in-between stage were discussed during the Visions, Values and Voices process. “We plan to take a closer look at the needs of this portion of our students,” Votruba said.

The Northern Difference grant in its infancy will not reach all students, but “the goal is to make it possible for all qualifying students to attend NKU,” Votruba said.