(Smart Money) — With freshman orientation right around the corner, many college students and their parents are about to get a surprise that could derail years of careful financial planning: last-minute tuition increases and cuts to financial aid packages promised just a few short months ago. As states have finalized their budgets in recent weeks and months, cuts to public college funding have started to trickle down to parents and students. Since March, at least 19 states have cut money for public colleges. Some states, including Illinois and Georgia, are also slashing grants awarded to students just a few months ago. Still more families won’t find out about changes to tuition and financial aid packages until the end of the summer or even after the semester begins — what experts say is the longest delay ever. “This will create real hardship for these students and may impact directly on their ability to enroll this fall,” says Tom Horgan, president of the New Hampshire College and University Council.
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