SHU students discuss financial aid

Financial aid at Seton Hill University (SHU) has always been a topic that affects all of its students, whether they have a full scholar- ship or are in a ton of debt.

There are many full-tuition scholarships that SHU offers for students in each department. The departments are humanities, visual and performing arts, natural and health sciences, social sciences, business, and education.

Also, each student can have a chance when coming to SHU with the presidential scholarships. If you have a high school GPA of 3.6 or higher, incoming freshmen may acquire a scholarship of up to 15,000 dollars. If your high school GPA is 3.0 or higher, you may acquire up to 13,000 dollars.

SHU’s financial aid system has had many positive effects on students. Jacob Zelmore, a senior and political science and history dual major, said he believes the financial aid department is doing a great job.

“I like that the financial aid is distributed evenly on academic standards and by need base. Everyone has an opportunity here at Seton Hill, regardless of financial background,” said Zelmore.

Kelsey Martin, senior and his- tory major, also says that the finan- cial aid department helps students. “The financial aid department has been fairly helpful in explaining different issues I have faced in my four years here at Seton Hill Uni- versity,” said Martin.

With programs such as financial aid, which can become quite con- troversial, may have some issues. For instance, when the amount of scholarship money changes, only incoming freshmen receive the change. It will not apply to any upperclassmen, which caused quite a stir with some students and their parents.

Emily Urbaniak, a senior and musical theatre major, is thank- ful for the financial aid she re- ceives. However, she does believe that some parts of the system need revamped.

“I guess the thing that I really dislike about financial aid is that you either really benefit from it, or you don’t. Meaning, you either get most of your education paid for, or you must pay for it out of your own pocket,” said Urbaniak.

Zelmore and Martin also have some concerns about financial aid, but more about the procedures of the actual office.

“I dislike the office procedures. I dislike how serious matters are sent via email instead of phone call. For a small, family like Catholic university, it’s such a blemish
on the rest of the staff ’s personal touch and personal out reach,” said Zelmore, who replied to his own comment stating, “I will stop there, because as a child, I was raised that if you didn’t have anything nice to say, you kept quiet.”

Martin had a similar response as Zelmore’s saying, “They could be quicker in informing students that they are being charged additional expenses on their semester bill and not waiting till several weeks later to email students.”

Although this can be a burden for some students, Urbaniak raises the question of how to manage tuition and suggests a way to fix the problems in the financial aid system. “I wonder if maybe more undergraduate programs could offer like certain graduate degree programs that allow you to work in exchange for your tuition, or at least a decent portion of it,” said Urbaniak.

Currently, Seton Hill’s tuition for a full-time student is 14,600 dollars per semester, which amounts to 29, 200 dollars a year. This number does not include room and board, which would bring the cost up to 39,004 dollars a year, as room and board is, at least, 4,902 dollars a semester. These costs do not include technology fees, books, or supplies.

When the numbers are looked at, they are huge and almost unaffordable to a lot of students. Other private universities, such as Seton Hill’s sister school Saint Vincent University, have a high tuition for their students as well.

Saint Vincent’s tuition for full- time students is 29, 540 dollars a year, which is also 14, 770 dollars a semester. Both private universities are around the same price range.

“It’s sometimes difficult to look at and explore private universities. They can often offer unique and special opportunities for students, but the cost can deter people from even considering them,” said Kelsey Riker, a sophomore and musical theatre major.

Public universities are usually cheaper than private universities for full-time students. For example, the University of Pittsburgh’s tuition for full-time in-state students is 16, 240 dollars a year. However, they do charge full-time out-of-state students about 10,000 dollars more.

Riker continued by saying, “Public universities on the other hand can sometimes make you feel like just a number; a statistic. But financially, they are often the most suitable.”

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