ASG designs voucher program for low-income students

Jee Young Lee, Reporter

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Associated Student Government is working with the Center for Student Enrichment Services to create a voucher program that covers the ticket costs for students with financial need to attend performances and other events on campus.

The initiative, called the Student Activities Voucher program, was started by the ASG accessibility and inclusion committee. It will be run by the center to provide funding for students to attend events starting in the next academic year, said Weinberg sophomore Jourdan Dorrell, a committee member.

“Originally, it was developed as a possible program for QuestBridge scholars and also Pell Grant recipients. However, 14 percent of campus is eligible for Pell Grants, and that’s very broad,” SESP sophomore Matt Herndon, another committee member, said. “We thought the best way to do it was to have students apply (for the aid), so that we can determine eligibility solely based on need and interest.”

Herndon said the center would promote the program in the beginning of the next academic year to let students know about the opportunity. Students will be able to apply for the vouchers through the Center for Student Enrichment Services.

After receiving applications, the center will work with the Center for Student Involvement to create a list of students eligible for the program. They will then hand the list to the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid to determine students’ financial needs, Herndon said.

“The Center for Student Enrichment Services is working on a kind of ‘Common App’ on which students would set up an account and put their financial information,” Dorrell said. “The online site would let students know which financial resources are available to them.”

The committee is figuring out methods to accommodate some smaller student groups that have their own cash boxes instead of the Norris Box Office system, Dorrell said. The online sale of tickets would secure the privacy of students’ socioeconomic status, she said.

“We’re trying to figure out the best way to relieve the stigma that comes with vouchers and being a part of this program,” Dorrell said. “Sometimes you forget that there are students at NU that can’t afford to go to NU activities that are great experiences.”

Dorrell said she hopes to provide students with as many resources as possible so they can fully appreciate the activities at NU without financial distress.

“I really like opportunities like this which give students ability to participate in Northwestern culture without being penalized (otherwise),” Dorrell said.

Correction: A previous version of this story misquoted Matt Herndon. Herndon said, “Originally, it was developed as a possible program for QuestBridge scholars and also Pell Grant recipients. However, 14 percent of campus is eligible for Pell Grants, and that’s very broad.” The Daily regrets the error.

Email: jeelee2018@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @jennajeeyoung

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