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Cedarville University adjust costs to make it more affordable for students

Cedarville University has redesigned its scholarship program to benefit more students, increased its investment in financial aid and planned its lowest tuition increase in school history in an effort to make the school more affordable.

Cedarville will hold its tuition increase to 2.8 percent next year, and the Baptist university will increase financial aid more than 12 percent to $23.4 million. Tuition will be $26,220 next year.

“We realize higher education is expensive,” said spokesman Mark Weinstein. “We feel this puts Cedarville in a competitive position.”

Cedarville’s new academic scholarships begin at a $4,000 for students who achieve a minimum score of 22 on the ACT or minimum 1020 SAT score and a 3.0 grade point average in high school.

The top award is $12,000 for students who achieve a minimum 31 ACT or 1360 SAT score, carry a minimum 3.75 GPA and/or are a National Merit finalist or semifinalist. Named the President’s Scholar Award, it is expected to go to more than 200 students. It is renewable for up to eight semesters if a student earns a 3.2 GPA while at Cedarville, said Kim Jenerette, executive director of financial aid. The scholarship replaces Cedarville’s former scholar program, which was highly competitive and went to approximately nine students last year.

With the changes, approximately 95 percent of otherwise eligible students will receive a substantial increase in merit-based scholarships for the upcoming 2013-14 school year. Cedarville is also continuing to award need-based grants to students, which may be as high as $4,000, Jenerette said.

He added that Cedarville has a 95 percent placement rate of students entering the workforce or graduate school and the university’s student loan default rate is a low 1 percent, so “we think the quality of a Cedarville degree speaks for itself.”

Cedarville is the latest to announce new efforts to hold down college costs. The University of Dayton is offering a four-year tuition guarantee to new freshmen next year by matching tuition increases with extra scholarships. Wright State University will award $3 million more in financial aid in a new program that guarantees renewable scholarships to students who qualify.

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