Oldham confident of keeping federal aid

President Barack Obama’s plan to connect federal funding to tuition costs not have a negative impact on Tech.
“I don’t think it will affect us,” Tech President Philip Oldham said. “I think we’re so far down on the spectrum by cost that’s probably not a realistic concern on our part.”
Obama’s proposal for student aid reform consists of shifting aid away from colleges that fail to keep net tuition down, and toward colleges and universities that do their part to keep tuition affordable, provide good value and serve students well.
Oldham said every state funds their public higher education differently. Some states support theirs to a higher extent than others do, but some universities in other states have had to raise tuition because of lack of state support.
Oldham went on to say the tuition at Tech has gone up significantly in the past 10 years, but that has been driven primarily by the reductions on the state’s side of support, not because the costs have gone up that much.  
“Universities have actually controlled their costs and cut about as much as you can cut to keep costs manageable,” Oldham said. “Ultimately, it has to be paid for in some way, so if the state doesn’t come up with it, it generally falls on the shoulders of the students and their families, unfortunately. Whatever support from federal government, in terms of Pell Grants and low interest loans support, is a good thing.”
Karen Lykins, associate vice president for communications and marketing, said according to a Newsweek study, Tennessee Tech is the 12th most affordable university in the country and the only school in Tennessee to make the list.
Oldham said, “Tennessee Tech students fare very well financially. We have the lowest student debt load in the state and among the lowest in the nation.”
A 2010 study by U.S. News & World Report found that 60 percent of Tech graduates left school debt free, and students with debt had an average debt of less than $10,000, the lowest in the South.