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The University of Missouri-Kansas City finally has some good news for its lowest-income students. What the poorest students have to pay out of pocket to attend UMKC dropped more than $2,500 last year. Ita€™s the amount students and their families are expected to borrow or pay out of pocket.In 2010-11, UMKC was one of the 10 most expensive public colleges in the country for students coming from households where the family income was $30,000 a year or less.
A new article by researchers in the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine explores the impact of this teaching tool in the new issue of the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education."The use of tablet PCs, or personal computers, has been investigated in many disciplines such as engineering, mathematics, science and education, but we wanted to explore student and faculty attitudes and experiences in veterinary medical education," said Hong Wang, coordinator of instructional technology and design at the veterinary college and co-principal investigator of the grant that led to the journal article. The college has been using paperless classrooms since 2007.Notable quote"Overall, we are very pleased with the success of tablet PCs at K-State. We are excited to be at the forefront of technology, and we are also excited to be at the forefront of research to show the real-world impact of this technology in our classrooms.
These laptop computers include a touch screen and a digital pen or stylus that can be used for handwritten notes and drawings."Our study reports that the use of tablet PCs allows students to organize and search course notes more efficiently," Rush said. The study identified digital distraction as the major negative experience with tablet PCs during class time.

However, there are tools and techniques available to the faculty to help limit distractions.One faculty member's strategy was using a program called "DyKnow" to block noneducational resources in class. It has taken three years for UMKC to see its efforts a€” a scholarship program that discounts the cost of tuition for low-income students, plus new endowed scholarships a€” work to lower its average net price.a€?Our goal is to find more resources for need-based aid,a€? DeHaemers said. The financial aid office also has seen an uptick in the number of low-income students who get their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, in by March 1. Students who file forms for financial aid early are more likely to get need-based assistance from the school, DeHaemers said.As at UMKC, net price for the lowest-income students also dropped on the university systema€™s Rolla and St. Louis campuses.But at the University of Missouri in Columbia, that price has crept up a few hundred dollars each of the last two years.
Keeping tuition down helps slow the rise in net price.As of 2013, tuition at Missouria€™s four-year universities had increased an average of 5 percent since 2008, the lowest in the nation. For the most part, the increase in net price at MU, Prewett said, is affected by larger enrollments that outpace increases in dollars available for need-based aid. Like UMKC, K-State hopes to attract more donors willing to put money toward supporting the neediest students.

The difference between the two schoolsa€™ programs is that UMKC based its program purely on need.
KU imposed academic standards requiring qualifying students to have at least a 3.25 GPA and an ACT of 22 or an SAT of 1020. KU shifted the focus of its scholarship dollars from solely access to merit, said Matt Melvin, vice provost for enrollment management. And there are not enough dollars to go around.a€?At UMKC, DeHaemers is expecting that next year may show another drop in net price for the lowest-income students.
The school received a $175,000 matching grant from the university system that this fall will allow UMKC to dole out thousands of dollars more to low-income black and Latino students studying science, technology, engineering and math.a€?It will be money they can use to cover expenses other than tuition,a€? DeHaemers said.

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