High-achieving Wyoming students are set to receive more help from the University of Wyoming, though students overall will see higher costs.
The university announced July 18 that its board of trustees had approved new financial aid awards for the 2020-21 school year. The aid is part of a program called the Cowboy Commitment, which will help students who start at the college in fall 2020.
“The trustees’ actions reaffirm UW’s commitment to keep tuition as nearly free as possible for Wyoming citizens,” Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management Kyle Moore said in a press release.
The highest awards are increases to existing ones: In-state students with a high school GPA of at least 3.96 and an ACT score over 32 will receive $6,500. Many of those students already qualify for the state’s Hathaway Scholarship Program, so the money will be on top of what they receive from that award.
The college also has its Trustees Scholars Award program, which covers tuition, room and board for the top 100 Wyoming students. The new $6,500 awards will cover students who meet the requirements but are not selected for the program.
In-state students with a GPAs of 3.88 and ACT scores over 28 will be given $3,500, a significant bump from the $1,000 they have received in the past. Two new awards will be given to those with ACT scores of about 25 and GPAs of 3.69 ($1,500) and with ACT scores of about 22 and GPAs of 3.26 ($500).
Trustees also approved $1 million in need-based scholarships meant to cover post-Hathaway costs for Wyoming students whose families cannot pay the difference.
“Serving Wyoming students is the top priority of the state’s university,” Moore said in the release, “and these new and enhanced awards will make it possible for more residents to achieve their educational aspirations.”
The new financial aid offerings come at the same time the university trustees approved raising tuition in the 2020-21 school year. For in-state students, the hike is modest, just $6 per credit hour, from $139 to $145. Out-of-state students will see a much higher bump, from $558 to $603 per credit hour, about 8%.
Even with the increase, the university remains one of the cheapest public colleges for out-of-state students. A CNBC report from April — before the increases were approved — listed it as the third-cheapest school for those students, with tuition costs running just under $19,000.
UW’s tuition ranks well below the national average, as outlined in a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an intergovernmental organization headquartered in France. Its 2018 Education at a Glance report found that the United States spends roughly $30,000 per student between families and institutional support, putting UW’s out-of-state tuition about $10,000 lower.
Though costs are rising for out-of-state students, the college offers financial aid to them as well. The top 50 out-of-state students — with ACT scores over 32 and GPAs of 3.96 — will receive a scholarship worth 150% of in-state tuition.
Other awards for students from outside Wyoming include $7,000 for those with ACT scores over 28 and a 3.88 GPA; $4,000 for ones with ACT scores of about 25 and GPAs of at least 3.6; and $2,000 for those who score about 22 on the ACT and have a 3.26 GPA.
As tuitions rise slightly, the college hopes to boost enrollment, listing a goal of 13,500 students by 2022 in its strategic plan. Fall 2018 saw its largest enrollment, with 12,450 students.
With the addition of programming and increases in marketing to meet the goals laid out in the strategic plan, Moore said in the press release, the cost increases allow the college to “realize greater net tuition revenue while meeting the university’s strategic enrollment goals.”