All Articles Tagged "financial aid"
(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.
(USA Today) — Law schools have done it for years. Now, some private liberal arts colleges are experimenting with the idea: They’re offering upfront to help students pay off their loans after they graduate. The financial-aid benefit, which targets students who expect to pursue careers in low-paying public-service fields, aims to help colleges attract and retain students who might otherwise enroll somewhere cheaper, or nowhere at all. ”When we have an excellent student we know will be successful here (but) who has that anxiety about student loans, this is one more tool for us,” says Jeff Abernathy, president of Alma (Mich.) College, which is testing the concept with about 10 students this fall. “We are making myriad attempts to help our students find their way to a private liberal arts education, (particularly) students who might feel like they’ve got to go to a lower-cost public institution.”
In Arizona, residents are allowed to receive tax credits for contributing money to STOs that reportedly provide financial aid to “disadvantaged K-12 students whose families could not otherwise afford private education.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and several Arizona taxpayers challenged the Christian STO with the interpretation that the tax credit associated with that organization violated the Establishment Clause (i.e., “separation of church and state” clause) of the First Amendment. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Arizona Christian STO.
Since the decision, commentary on the Court’s ruling has ranged from the seminal “Brown v. Board of Education decision being overturned” to “one of the worst judicial decisions ever” to “taxpayers not being able to sue at all.” Are all of these comments true or false? Below are 4 facts about the recent ruling relative to the aforementioned case.
1. The Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ruling was not overturned. The Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn decision did not quietly or covertly reverse the landmark 1954 ruling that “separate but equal” schools for blacks and whites were unconstitutional per the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The practice of de jure racial segregation in public or private schools was not a component of the Arizona case. Again, Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn was primarily focused on whether it was constitutionally permissible for private organizations to provide aid to private and religious schools.
(New York Times) — Are there any merits to for-profit colleges? Those following the news for the last several months could be forgiven for thinking the answer is “no.” The sustained flurry of bad press has included a federal report on deceptive recruitment practices at for-profit colleges, Congressional investigations juxtaposing the colleges’ rising profits against their low completion rates and new federal student loan data showing that students at these schools borrow more and default more frequently than those at public institutions.
These reports are rightfully alarming, to the point that reasonable people might wonder whether for-profit institutions have any legitimate place in our higher education landscape. To bring some balance to the conversation, however, I want to raise the possibility that at least some of these schools may be doing at least some things from which the traditional sector could learn.For example, while for-profit schools have been criticized for their high reliance on federal financial aid dollars, they also do a good job of ensuring that needy students receive the aid for which they are eligible. Many public institutions do not.
(Wall Street Journal) — Amid greater financial pressures, colleges are scaling back their financial-aid packages to students in ways that are likely to give wealthier families an admissions edge.
Some colleges, such as Williams College, Middlebury College and Wake Forest University, are no longer “need blind” when it comes to admitting international or wait-listed students. Some of these schools and others have recently dropped out of the so-called 568 Presidents’ Group–a group of private colleges that agree, among other things, to be need-blind in their admissions of all U.S. students. Still other elite institutions, including Stanford University, Yale University and Dartmouth College, that still have a need-blind admissions policy in place for all U.S. students have adjusted their aid formulas in ways that are raising costs for affluent families.
Not all schools are cutting back. After meeting with its board of managers last week, Swarthmore College decided to maintain its “loan-free awards” program for all students enrolled in the coming academic year, as well as its need-blind admission standards for all U.S. students, says Laura Talbot, director of financial aid.
(Smart Money) — For students not yet enrolled, the financial math behind choosing a college has radically changed. Here are the new steps students and their parents can take to get more free aid. 1) Apply ASAP: Officially, students have a long time to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. In practice, students have typically had until June to get a shot at state grants. Not anymore. Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee have already announced that FAFSAs should be submitted immediately, and they will dole out grants in the order of applications received, until the money’s gone. In a break with the traditional trends, families should no longer wait until their tax returns are ready to file the FAFSA, says Mark Kantrowitz, founder of FinAid.org, which tracks financial aid trends. Just get it in ASAP, with estimates using a W-2 and 1099 forms and the last pay stub of the year, and update the actual numbers once they’re ready. This way, the FAFSA is filed on time while grant money is still up for grabs.
(Inside Higher Ed) — The last two presidential administrations have focused significant attention and energy on trying to simplify the process by which would-be college students apply for and receive federal financial assistance, given the prevailing view that the complexity of the system deters some young people from higher education, A study to be released during an event on Capitol Hill today shows just how large the information gap is. The report from the College Board’s Advocacy and Policy Center, “Cracking the Student Aid Code,” finds that many parents have little understanding of how much it costs to attend college and of financial aid options — and that the knowledge deficit is biggest for those who already have the least access to higher education: students from Latino families and from low-income backgrounds.
(Bloomberg) — For-profit colleges more than doubled spending on lobbying and hired six former members of the U.S. Congress this year to fight regulations that threaten the industry. Ten education companies and their trade association spent $3.8 million on lobbying in the first nine months of 2010, up from $1.5 million in the comparable period last year, according to reports filed with Congress. For-profit colleges are resisting a U.S. Department of Education proposal to restrict funding and objecting to a law that limits their revenue from government sources. The proposed restriction, called “gainful employment,” would tie eligibility for federal student-aid programs to graduates’ incomes and loan repayment rates.
(New York Times) — When Congress moved in 2008 to sweeten tuition payments for veterans, it was celebrated as a way to ensure that military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could go to college at no cost and to replicate the historic benefits society gained from the G.I. Bill after World War II. Now, a year after payouts on the so-called Post-9/11 G.I. Bill started, the huge program has turned into a bonanza of another kind for the many commercial colleges in the United States that have seen their military revenues surge.
(Afro) — A new set of rules that will strengthen federal student aid programs at for-profit, non-profit, and public institutions is being met with approval by student and education advocates, though some question the rules’ necessity. Announced by the White House on Oct. 28, the broad new regulations came after an 18-month negotiation process with the higher education community and are designed to protect students from aggressive and misleading recruiting practices by providing them with better information about the effectiveness of career college and training programs, and ensuring that only the eligible students or programs receive financial aid. Addressing and regulating these issues will strengthen the integrity of the federal student aid program and ensure that taxpayer funds are used appropriately. These regulations are expected to go into effect on July 1, 2011.