15,000 Fresno State students apply for financial aid

FRESNO, Calif.

The bulk of the changes won't be seen until the fall semester, because the university is operating under its budget approved before the measure was passed, but student will notice some changes and told Action News they're feeling more optimistic about the futures.

A new year, a new semester a new attitude.

"It's great news for students," said Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services Bernard Vinovrski. "Tuition didn't go up and they're getting their financial aid earlier than they've ever received it before."

Thursday morning, more than 20,000 students returned to Fresno State for the spring semester and staff members tell us the climate on campus is much different than it was in the fall.

"The uncertainty, the fear that they're going to cut has been removed," said Vinovrski.

That's because after years of massive budget cuts and tuition increases, the passage of proposition 30 in November has created a sense of stability at the University and Vinovrski said the morale has improved as a result.

"We have about 20,500 students enrolled on campus which is about 500 more than we expected," he said. "Had Prop. 30 not passed, we would have had to reduce enrollment by a thousand students so that means a thousand qualified students would not have been able to enroll."

He said, for the first time in a long time, tuition has not gone up. The university also set a new record for financial aid, with 70% of the student body receiving some level of help.

"Never before have we dispersed 15,000 students financial aid before the first day start of instruction to the tune of 80 million dollars so that's really good news," he said.

There's other new trends emerging on campus as well. Kennel Book Store department manager Dusty Guthier said it's text book rental program is growing at a rapid rate.

"We started with four titles several semesters ago and now we're up to 680 rentable titles in our store and the students love it, they think it's great," said Guthier.

Great, he said, because it's saving students anywhere from 40 to 70% of the price of a new or used book.

"It does end up saving me quite a bit of money," said student Davi Giadono. " I would have ended up spending another 200 dollars."

Students will see another rarity this spring - the changing of the guard at Fresno State. For the first time in nearly 22 years, a new president will be chosen as Dr. Welty retires after this semester. The university launched a search committee to find his successor. It's first meeting is scheduled for next month.

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