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B-1 Committee on Financial Aid to Students

Members, 2002-2003:
Elected Members.

Abraham, Lawrence D, associate professor, curriculum and instruction
Gordon, Edmund (Ted), associate professor, anthropology
March, Hunter C., professor, music
Masada, Glenn Y., professor, mechanical engineering
Pomeroy, Elizabeth C., associate professor, social work

Faculty Council Appointees.

Markman, Arthur B., associate professor, psychology
Stavchansky, Salomon A. (chair), professor, pharmacy

Students.

Garner, Molly S., student government representative, applied learning and development
Renner, Eric A., student government representative, finance
Mayton, Laci, student government representative, government
Kolpin, Michelle, student government representative, marketing
Opiela, Eric C., Graduate Student Assembly representative, law

Administrative Advisors.

Burt, Lawrence W., director, Student Financial Services
Dollard, John D., associate dean, Graduate Studies
Jones, Kristen E., Student Affairs Administrator, Dean of Students Office


Introduction
The committee discussed with Larry Burt, director, Student Financial Services, and his staff, the potential impact of current state and UT Austin budget pressures on the policies and procedures of the Office of Student Financial Services. The issues discussed were:

cost;
access for the poor and, perhaps, middle class Texans;
quality of higher education;
need versus merit considerations in student financial aid;
success rate in terms of graduation rate of students receiving financial aid;
development of a Web based course in financial planning and management.


President Faulkner reported to the Faculty Council that several initiatives have been proposed to ease the budgetary pressures. An initiative that is gaining momentum involves giving the universities the freedom to set their own tuition, a change that would probably put more financial burden on students and their families. Don Brown, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education State Board, estimates that universities will have to increase tuition and fees $2 for every dollar they lose in state appropriations. Typical undergraduate expenses for two semesters (fall 2002/spring 2003) for Texas residents and non-residents amounted to $15,920 to $22,026, respectively. Average tuition and fees at UT Austin were $5,340 to $11,446 for Texas residents and non-residents, respectively. Ideally, fully funded appropriation combined with the freedom by universities to set their own tuition may be the best combination to ease budgetary pressures.

This budgetary scenario and the probable continued increase in the cost of higher education will probably trigger an increase in the services offered by the Student Financial Aid Office due to a potential increase in student demand for loans. Mr. Larry Burt has done an excellent job in facilitating the financial needs of students and families. However, the Committee on Financial Aid to Students, in an effort to seek continuous improvement of the Student Financial Aid Office, set as an objective for spring 2003 to develop a Web based survey to explore how the stakeholders, students and their families, view the services offered by the Student Financial Aid Office. This effort is necessary to improve the total quality of the Financial Aid Office regardless of whether their service need will increase as a consequence of an increase demand for student loans. A subcommittee of the Committee on Financial Aid to Students was appointed by the chair, Salomon Stavchansky and the survey developed under the leadership of Dr. Lawrence Abraham. Appendix 1, located at the end of this document, illustrates a preliminary copy of the survey. The survey will probably be offered during the fall 2003, if not sooner. Two versions of the surveys can be found at the following URLs:
http://www.edb.utexas.edu/finaid/status_survey.htm
http://www.edb.utexas.edu/finaid/services_survey.htm.

The committee recommends proceeding with the implementation of the second version. Assistance in administration of the survey is being discussed with representatives of Information Technology Services (ITS).

Funding to conduct the survey will be sought through the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Jim Vick.

Financial Planning and Management Course
The committee discussed at length the advantages and disadvantages of developing a course in financial planning and management for undergraduate and graduate students. The committee and Larry Burt strongly endorse the development of a Web based computer assisted course in financial planning and management. In fact, one of the questions in the survey developed by the committee explores the reaction of the students to the development of such a course.
QUESTION: Describe your interest in financial planning and management instruction.

I am comfortable with my current knowledge about financial matters.
I would like to receive printed materials about financial planning and management.
I would like a list of websites to learn about financial planning and management.
I would like to attend some information workshops on financial matters.
I would like to take a non-credit course on financial planning and management.
I would like to take a UT course for credit on financial planning and management.
I believe a course on personal finances should be required at UT.


At the present time the committee is exploring the cost and the process by which this course could be offered. Also, the results of the survey may help catalyze the development of the course.

Ron Brown Scholarships
The children of UT Austin faculty and staff were encouraged to apply for the Ronald M. and Marilou D Brown Endowed Scholarship, named in honor of the former vice-president for student affairs and his wife. The scholarship is awarded only to full-time undergraduate students (including incoming freshmen and transfer students) who are the offspring of regular, retired, or deceased UT Austin faculty or staff.

The committee is in the process of evaluating the recipients of this distinguished scholarship. The recipients will be announced in May 6, 2003.


Salomon Stavchansky, chair


This document was posted on the Faculty Council Web site, www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/ on August 20, 2003. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.