New scholarship helps middle-income students

A new financial aid scholarship geared toward helping students from middle-class backgrounds is in early stages of development for implementation in the next academic year.

Undergraduate students attending a California State University or University of California are eligible for the Middle Class Scholarship program. It provides financial aid to students whose parents have an annual income of $100,001 to $150,000, said Dan Reed, the director of the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office at Chico State.

For the first year, the 2014-15 academic year, applicants will be eligible for financial aid covering up to 14 percent of tuition at a state school, Reed said.

The maximum eligibility will increase every year until the 2017-18 academic year, when the scholarship may support as much as 40 percent of tuition, Reed said.

Students will apply for the program through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, Reed said.

Eligibility information from the application will be compiled by universities and sent to the California Student Aid Commission, the administration organizing the scholarship.

The commission will calculate the potential population with need will be and begin funding the scholarship.

The campus does not have the income information of many middle-class students, Reed said. Many families do not submit the federal application because they are not eligible for need-based support.

“I also don’t know what the funding is going to be,” Reed said. “The Middle Class Scholarship is dependent on the state budget.”

The commission will work with the state to obtain funding for the scholarship, but the Legislature needs to know how much state revenue is available before allocating funds .

In May, the Legislature re-evaluates the budget set in January. The commission will then be given the amount of money it can dedicate to the scholarship program.

“This is the first year, we don’t have any baseline figures,” Reed said. “It’s a new thing.”

Nathan Lehmann can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.