WKU Top it Off Program

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On Friday officials at Western announced a financial aid program called Top it Off.

It will help make college more affordable for high-need Kentuckians.

Beginning this fall, it will be available for first-time, full-time freshman who have earned a 2.5 G.P.A. in high school and at least a 20 on their ACT.

"As the cost of tuition rises, I think there are some students out there that just may not be able to attend WKU or any college. This program allows them access to higher education", says WKU'S Director of Admissions, Dean Kahler.

Kahler is just one of many faculty members excited about the new Top it Off program.

"I think this will be a wonderful thing for both WKU and for the need base students that may not have been able to attend WKU in the past", says Kahler.

The Top it Off program will provide financial assistance to incoming freshman who may need the extra help.

"For students from families that are at or below the federal poverty line, student's whose family income is at a low level, the students who need financial aid the most. We will add up the total number of scholarships, financial aid, federal, state, and institutional that they're receiving, [and then] calculate the total cost of tuition and fees, room and board and books, and cover the margin," says WKU President Gary Ransdell.

Western Kentucky University President, Gary Ransdell says since the program started there last year, around 114 students have been eligible for financial help from the university.

Using this number the university is expecting to help contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to incoming students.

"We're projecting that the cost will be just over $300,000 a year. When you annualize the cost over a four year period, we'll be serving some 500 students at a cost of about $1.5 million dollars", says Ransdell.

Qualifying students would be eligible to receive Top it Off funds for eight semesters in a five-year period.

The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville have implemented similar programs.

Meanwhile, the Western Kentucky Board of Regents approved tuition for the upcoming 2007-2008 school year.

Tuition and mandatory fees will be $3,208 a semester for a full-time Kentucky undergraduate student. That's up 7.8 percent from last year.

The Council of Postsecondary Education will vote on the tuition rate during a meeting in March.

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