ALL IN DUE TIME: ‘Due Date,’ a comedy flick starring Zack Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr., makes its DVD debut npage 5 Wednesday n February 23, 2011 WEEKEND WINNERS: Lady Mustangs out-hit four teams this weekend to sweep the MSU Invitational softball tournament npage 8 thewichitan your university n your voice Tuition set aside impacts students, university Brittany Norman Editor in Chief For the past eight years, state law has mandated that a portion of each resident undergraduate student’s designated tuition be set aside to fund need-based financial aid programs. Dr. Jesse Rogers, along with other Texas state university presidents, is asking legislators to remove this restriction and allow each university to utilize its tuition in a way that best fits the institution’s needs. The set aside originated in 2003, when Texas legislators Breaking down the tuition set aside MSU students are charged $96.55 per semester credit hour for university designated tuition. The state sets aside $10.11 per credit hour from each in-state undergraduate student’s designated tuition to fund need-based financial aid programs. If a student takes 15 hours, $151.65 is set aside. At current tuition rates, a student completing a 120-hour degree program will have paid $1,213.20 into financial assistance programs. In 2010-2011, MSU students received over $2.2 million in institutional needbased financial aid. Of the approximately $1.25 million MSU set aside this year, over $950,000 went toward financial aid for needy students. voted to deregulate tuition at state universities, allowing them to set their own designated tu- ition levels. At the time, all state universities had a designated tuition of $46 per credit hour. To ease the burden of future tuition increases, the legislature required that each school put aside 15 percent of in-state students’ designated tuition in excess of $46 per credit hour to subsidize need-based financial aid, such as scholarships, grants and work-study programs. Another 5 percent was earmarked to fund the B-On-Time Loan program, which provides needy students with no-interest loans and forgives their debt if they graduate within four years with a grade point average of at least 3.0. At MSU, students affected by the set aside currently pay $146.55 per semester credit hour in tuition – $50 in statemandated tuition and $96.55 in university designated tuition. Of that designated tuition, $10.11 – roughly 10 cents of every dollar – goes to fund financial aid programs. At current tuition rates, a student taking 15 hours has $151.65 set aside. If tuition rates remain steady, by the time the same student completes a 120-hour degree, $1,213.20 of their total tuition would have been funneled into financial aid. In June 2009, new legislation was enacted that requires universities to inform students that a portion of their tuition will See SET ASIDE on page 4 Plane and Simple Finding new sources of energy may become more important as gas prices soar in the U.S. (Photo by Hannah Hoffmann) Engineering prof speaks on energy Chris Collins Managing Editor A mechanical engineering student throws a paper plane in a competition for celebratory week (Photo by Kassie Bruton) Students celebrate National Engineering Week with contests Brittney Cottingham Features editor Zach Skelton, president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), describes himself as a problem solver. In his eyes, engineers are problem solvers who not only think outside the box, but also designed the box itself. This week, ASME and Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) are contributing to National Engineering Week. The purpose is to acknowledge the contributions to society that engineers make. It is also a time for engineers to emphasize the importance of learning math, science and technical skills. The event includes three competitions: building a pop- sicle/craft stick bridge, a paper airplane contest and a weeklong scavenger hunt. All MSU students are eligible to take part, and all entrants have the chance to win various prizes. ASME, with more than 50 student members, represents all student mechanical engineers. ESW is a special interest group of students, faculty and professionals interested in building a more sustainable world. According to the ESW faculty advisor Dale McDonald, many of his students hold memberships in both student organizations and numbers have increased over the years due to participation in national contests. Idir Azzouz, ASME faculty adviser, described this week’s See ENGINEER on page 3 Anxiety workshop draws big crowd Chris Collins Managing Editor Your heart is racing. Your palms are sweaty. You can’t catch your breath and you can feel butterflies buzzing around in your stomach. No, it’s not your first date. You have test anxiety. Test anxiety is a widespread problem that affects many different kinds of students, according to Vikki Chaviers, licensed professional counselor for the MSU counseling center. She and other counseling center staff held a test anxiety workshop Monday in Dillard. Counselors discussed common problems with taking tests and offered students some solutions. “Some people have a meltdown right in the middle of class,” Chaviers said. “Sometimes anxiety comes out in some sort of physiological way. It can be on our subconscious level.” Since testing anxiety is sometimes held in the subconscious, a student suffering from it may only feel the physical symptoms. He or she may not realize the bigger problem causing the sweaty palms and racing heart, she said. Dr. Pam Midgett, director of the counseling center, started the program by posing a question to the room packed with audience members. “We have an image of ourselves as academic people. Is that image that we are smart and we can do the work or is it that we struggle?” She asked audience members to write down what they had heard about their academic skills when they were young. Midgett said the responses ranged from people feeling inadequate compared to a sibling to people being told they were very smart. Audience members were then ask to reevaluate what they were told when they were young to see if those things were still true. In the next section of the workshop, Chaviers offered time-management tools for students to use when they need to cover a lot of material in a hurry. She said many students find themselves in situations where they need to cram for a test and don’t have much time to do it. “You need to spend 75 percent of your time just drilling yourself on the information over and over and over,” Chaviers said. “In other words, try to memorize as much of it as you can.” The other 25 percent of cram time should be spent actually trying to gain some understanding of the material. She said a good strategy for organizing study time is to break it up into 15- or 20-minute segments, separated by 5 minutes of down time. “Rule of thumb – try to sit down and study for about 15 minutes or until you’re no lon- See ANXIETY on page 4 Dr. Salim Azzouz discussed the use of alternative energy sources with students and faculty Wednesday evening in Clark Student Center. His talk focused on the efficiency of various energy mediums to produce electricity. Nuclear power rang in as the most efficient, while coal was the most wasteful. Evaluating the effectiveness of energy sources becomes more important as population grows, he said. World population could reach nine billion by the year 2050. Asia and Africa are expected to grow particularly quickly. “The demand for energy is going to grow and grow,” Azzouz said. “That means there will be competition for energy. We cannot escape from that.” The average American household uses 11,000 kilowatts per hour in a year. Today, the United States is faced with three energy challenges, Azzouz told audience members. First, it needs to have a reliable supply of energy. Second, it needs to cut down on emissions of greenhouse gases – the country has set a goal of cutting these emissions 20 percent by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050. Third, it needs to improve technology to maximize the ef- See ENERGY on page 4 Spring enrollment sets new record Chris Collins Managing Editor MSU enrollment rose by .58 percent to 6,091 students this semester, setting a new record for spring. About 67 percent, or 4,080 students, are enrolled full-time, according to the university website. There are 38 first-time freshman, 840 freshmen, 1,145 sophomores, 1,341 juniors, 2,011 seniors, 76 post-baccalaureates and 640 graduate students. Spring 2011 lagged behind Spring 2010 in first-time freshmen, freshmen, sophomores and post-baccalaureates. But juniors, seniors and graduate students were on the rise, making up for losses in the other classifications. Seniors were up by 101 students, juniors by 58, graduate students by 5. “Midwestern is where it wants to be,” said Barbara Merkle, director of admissions. She said she isn’t quite sure what caused the leap in enrollment, but she plans to find out. She plans on looking into enrollees who have been previously denied admission in previous semesters but are attending in the spring. “There’s been a stronger interest in repeat applications,” Merkle said. “Inquiries are up. Applications are up. Now we just need them to show up,” she said. MSU plans to raise its admission requirements in the fall. “I was initially apprehensive, because when we normally raise admission criteria we lose numbers,” she said. “But I’m encouraged by the number of students we’ve already admitted.” Merkle said enrollment for the fall is already neck-and-neck with numbers for the previous fall. The deadline for students to apply for Fall 2011 is in August. “I’m excited about this class,” she said.