New Purdue program to help Hoosier students have tuition in the ‘BAG’

INDIANAPOLIS — Beginning next fall, Purdue is launching the Boiler Affordability Grant, which, after applying other need-based aid, will cover any remaining tuition, fees and estimated book expenses up to full financial need for qualifying Indiana resident undergraduates.

The program, announced by university officials on Tuesday (Nov. 21), is for Indiana residents at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus pursuing their first bachelor’s degree and who are either federal Pell Grant-eligible or have a parent Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $70,000 or less. The Boiler Affordability Grant (BAG) will apply both to newly enrolled students in the 2018-19 academic year and to students currently enrolled.

“Through our multiyear tuition freeze and cost reductions for food and books, it is less expensive to attend Purdue today than it was in 2012, but attending Purdue still represents a challenging expense for many low- and middle-income Hoosier families,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “Our goal of ‘higher education at the highest proven value’ means lowering every barrier we can to ensure Purdue is accessible to all students who can meet our academic standards.”

Ted Malone, executive director of Purdue’s Division of Financial Aid, said he anticipates that about 3,000 Indiana students at Purdue would be eligible under the BAG program. He said that by basing the program on a family’s AGI, it will be easier for families to see that attending Purdue is an affordable option.

“Not only does this program make additional funding available to address student financial need, but it also removes some of the mystery from the financial aid process,” he said. “Instead of waiting until the FAFSA is complete to have some idea of expected costs, families that fall in this income range will know before they file the FAFSA that a Purdue education is within reach.”

Teresa Lubbers, commissioner of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, said, “At a time when higher education is more important than ever, we need to do all we can to ensure that attaining a degree is financially possible. The Boiler Affordability Grant increases the value of the higher education experience by reducing debt and simplifying the financial aid process – which is good news for Hoosier families.”

Kristina Wong Davis, Purdue’s vice provost for enrollment management, said funding for the Boiler Affordability Grant came from pooling the university’s existing financial resources with money from donors and other university savings initiatives.

“This represents us taking a fresh look at how we package our aid offerings and how we make the best use of available funds,” she said. “We are going to make a difference for a lot of Hoosier students through this program and our commitment to affordability.”

In addition to covering remaining tuition, fees and book expenses, the program also will include differential fees, except for individual fees associated with courses such as labs, music and aviation. Malone said this could be a significant difference for students because some programs, such as the Indiana 21st Century Scholars, do not cover book and differential costs.

Additional information is available on the Boiler Affordability Grant website.

Purdue’s tuition will be held at 2012 levels through the 2018-19 academic year, ensuring that four graduating classes will have gone through Purdue without ever experiencing a tuition increase and marking six straight years of flat tuition. When combined with lower room and board rates, this means students and their families will pay less to attend Purdue in 2019 than they did in 2012.

Undergraduate borrowing also is down 37 percent since 2012, and more Purdue students are graduating debt-free than at any time in at least the past 20 years; the number of students who borrow has dropped in each of the past four years, and the total amount they are borrowing is down from $183 million in 2012 to $116 million in 2017, a 37 percent decrease. Just over 56 percent of 2017 graduates left Purdue debt-free, compared to the national average of 39 percent.

SOURCE: News release from Purdue University

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