Friday, February 19, 2010

Applying to College? Big Brother Is Watching . . . Your Wallet!

An article entitled “Will You Get Enough Financial Aid?” in U.S. News just reported some troubling news for students who are applying to college.

Here’s a summary of what the article’s author, Kim Clark, has to report:

  • Fewer students are getting financial assistance. “Fewer than 3 percent of all the colleges in the country promise that they will award enough financial aid to meet the full financial needs of admitted students in 2010,” Clark reports.
  • Loans are replacing scholarships. Clark writes that “. . . the downturn in the economy has forced a growing number of even the wealthiest schools to increase the amount of loans they plan to ask needy students to take.”
  • Colleges are looking at your home’s value. According to Clark, some institutions (including Yale and Occidental) may ask parents to dip into their home’s equity to pay tuition.
  • Even parents’ marriages can be examined. Clark reports that some institutions, including Yale, are analyzing the incomes of both stepparents and original parents.
In this new age when a college education costs as much as an average house did only a few decades ago – somewhere on the north side of $200,000 - perhaps all this grim news is not too surprising.

Yet as the old expressions goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” That’s why more students and their families are exploring alternative, cost-effective strategies for reducing over-the-top college costs.

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