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Published July 18, 2019
The University of Wyoming will offer more merit- and need-based aid to Wyoming students starting in the 2020-21 academic year, following action today (Thursday, July 18) by the UW Board of Trustees.
That will include new award commitments of $6,500, $3,500, $1,500 and $500 for new Wyoming high school graduates based upon their academic performance -- along with a new $4,000 award for Wyoming community college transfers with associate degrees, 75 or fewer academic credits and grade-point averages of at least 3.0.
Additionally, trustees have allocated $1 million for need-based aid for in-state students, part of the university’s effort to make a UW education as accessible as possible to Wyoming residents. The new merit- and need-based programs are called the Cowboy Commitment, a financial pledge that benefits incoming first-year students from Wyoming who are beginning college in fall 2020.
These financial aid changes come as the board voted to increase in-state tuition for Wyoming residents by 4 percent -- from $139 to $145 per credit hour -- in the 2020-21 academic year. Meanwhile, nonresident undergraduate tuition will rise 8 percent, but trustees directed development of a transition plan to retain current UW nonresident students who will be affected by that increase. And, the board established higher academic credentials for nonresident students to receive the largest tuition discounts, with larger awards for those higher-achieving students.
“The trustees’ actions reaffirm UW’s commitment to keep tuition as nearly free as possible for Wyoming citizens, so they have access to the high-quality education they can only receive at the state’s university,” says Kyle Moore, associate vice provost for enrollment management. “The adjustments also take into consideration the appropriate balance between enrollment markets, academic quality and financial aid expense outcomes, allowing us to realize greater net tuition revenue while meeting the university’s strategic enrollment goals.”
Graduate student tuition will rise by 4 percent for both residents and nonresidents, with some variation for graduate programs with differential or market-based tuition rates.
Even with the increase for nonresident undergraduates -- the cost per credit will rise from $558 to $603 per credit-hour -- UW’s nonresident undergraduate tuition will remain in the lowest-cost tier of universities across the country.
The awards for resident undergraduates represent the university’s commitment to enroll and deliver a quality education to as many Wyoming citizens as possible; limit student loan debt for Wyoming families; and maintain the cost of attending UW for students from lower-income Wyoming families.
For the highest-achieving Wyoming students -- those with an ACT score of over 32 and a high school grade-point average of at least 3.96 -- the university will provide an award of $6,500, on top of what they receive from the state Hathaway Scholarship Program. The existing UW Trustees Scholars Award program already provides full tuition, room and board for approximately the top 100 Wyoming students -- for this year’s Trustees Scholars Award winners, the average GPA is 3.97, and the average ACT score is 32 -- but the $6,500 award will cover those who meet the standard in the event they are not selected for the Trustees Scholars Award.
Currently, Wyoming students who have an ACT score of over 28 and a high school grade-point average of 3.88 receive a $1,000 award, on top of what they receive from the state Hathaway Scholarship Program. Starting in 2020-21, those students will receive a $3,500 award.
Financial awards have been added for others students as well. Those with an ACT score of about 25 and a GPA of 3.69 will receive $1,500, and those with an ACT score of about 22 and a GPA of 3.26 will receive $500.
Additionally, the $1 million in need-based aid will significantly close the gap for students whose families can’t afford the post-Hathaway cost to attend UW -- helping cover up to 81 percent of the cost of attending the university. And the new $4,000 award for Wyoming community college transfers -- with the number of recipients capped at 125 annually -- is an increase from the university’s current $1,000 award for those students.
“Serving Wyoming students is the top priority of the state’s university, and these new and enhanced awards will make it possible for more residents to achieve their educational aspirations,” Moore says. “They also will help the state make progress toward its educational attainment goals, resulting in a more highly skilled workforce to help grow and diversify Wyoming’s economy.”
Nonresident undergraduates will continue to receive institutional support, but standards have been raised to achieve these awards. Those with an ACT score of about 22 and a GPA of 3.26 will receive a $2,000 award; those with an ACT score of about 25 and a GPA of 3.60 will receive $4,000; and those with an ACT score of over 28 and a GPA of 3.88 will receive $7,000.
The highest-achieving nonresidents -- those with ACT scores over 32 and GPAs of at least 3.96 -- will receive the equivalent of 150% of resident undergrad tuition. But no more than 50 of those highest nonresident awards will be given each year.
In fall 2018, UW enrolled its largest-ever first-time freshman class of 1,859, with 915 students from Wyoming and 944 from out of state. Overall enrollment was 12,450, with Wyoming residents making up 66.6 percent of that number and nonresidents 33.4 percent. UW’s strategic plan, “Breaking Through: 2017-2022,” calls for the university’s overall enrollment to reach 13,500 by 2022.