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NMU and MTU aim to assist students financially

MTU students graduate with an average of $37,000 in student debt.
Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Returning to campus comes with expenses.

Both Michigan Tech University and Northern Michigan University say they are doing their best to help.

“One of the things that I am appreciative of in my role, in financial aid anyway, is that the administration is not looking to reduce financial aid, if anything they are increasing,” said Joe Cooper, Director of Financial Aid at Michigan Tech University.

“Offices like ours are working with families to try to find as much in the form of resources as we can,” Mike Rotundo said, Director of Financial Aid at Northern Michigan University.

Each year, students can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to receive financial aid.

This year’s FAFSA is based on 2018 tax returns.

“So in many cases this is no longer an accurate view of the families income,” said Rotundo. “So financial aid offices have a reevaluation process to account for changes like lost employment or reduced wages for the family.”

MTU students graduate with an average of $37,000 in student debt.

Cooper says this year, more than ever, he is receiving questions from families.

“You know every day I likely talk to another parent or another student who says hey, ‘My parent lost their job or my parent has been out of work for this many week’. We try to work with those families to see what they may qualify for,” said Cooper.

What should student and parents do if they have concerns?

“We can try to make accommodations; especially if they talk to us up front and tell us in advance,” said Cooper.

MTU has created a ‘Husky Emergency Assistance Fund’ to help students in dire need of help.

NMU says they have a ‘Wildcats 2020 Student Relief Fund’ that has rewarded 82 students up to $300.

“Students coming in, that is often one of the first things on their mind,” said Cooper. “In this time if you have financial concerns it’s kinda hard to shake that out of our mind, right?”

This all for a country that, according to the latest federal report, has over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.

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