Financial Aid Available
Literally billions of dollars in
financial aid is available to those
who need help paying for college.
Yet lots of misinformation clouds
the facts about what type of aid is
available and who is eligible. Here
are some myths dispelled for students
confronting the process of securing
College Is Just Too Expensive for
Despite the media hype about rising
college costs, a college education
is more affordable than most people
think, especially when you consider
college graduates earn an average
of $1 million more over their careers
than high-school graduates. The average
yearly cost of a four-year public
school in 2003-2004 is just $4,694.
There are some expensive schools,
but high tuition is not a requirement
for a good education.
There's Less Aid Available than
There Used to Be
In fact, student financial aid in
2002-2003 rose to a record level of
more than $105 billion. Most students
receive some form of aid. Less of
this aid now comes in the form of
grants, however; most aid is awarded
through low-interest loans or institutional
and other grants. You should consider
carefully the financing packages you've
been offered by each college to determine
which makes the most financial sense.
My Parents' Income Is Too High to
Qualify for Aid
Aid is intended to make a college
education available for students of
families in many financial situations.
College financial aid administrators
often take into account not only income
but also other family members in college,
home mortgage costs, and other factors.
Aid is awarded to many families with
incomes they thought would disqualify
My Parents Saved for College, So
We Won't Qualify for Aid
Saving for college is always a good
idea. Since most financial aid comes
in the form of loans, the aid you
are likely to receive will need to
be repaid. Tucking away money could
mean you have fewer loans to repay,
and it won't mean you're not eligible
for aid if you need it. A family's
share of college costs is calculated
based mostly on income, not assets
such as savings.
I'm not a Straight "A"
Student, So I Won't Get Aid
It's true that many scholarships
reward merit, but the vast majority
of federal aid is based on financial
need and does not even consider grades.
If I Apply for a Loan, I Have to
Families are not obligated to accept
a low-interest loan if it is awarded
to them. "In my opinion, everybody
should apply for financial aid,"
says Tally Hart, Director of Student
Financial Aid at The Ohio State University.
"Student loans are at all-time
low interest rates." She recommends
applying and comparing the loan awards
with other debt instruments and assets
to determine the best financial deal.
Working Will Hurt My Academic Success
Students who attempt to juggle full-time
work and full-time studies do struggle.
But research shows that students who
work a moderate amount often do better
academically. Securing an on-campus
job related to career goals is a good
way for you to help pay college costs,
get experience, and create new ties
with the university.
I Should Live at Home to Cut Costs
It's wise to study every avenue for
reducing college costs, but living
at home may not be the best way. Be
sure to consider commuting and parking
costs when you do this calculation.
Living on campus may create more opportunities
for work and other benefits.
Private Schools Are Out of Reach
for My Family
Experts recommend deferring cost
considerations until late in the college-selection
process. Most important is finding
a school that meets your academic,
career, and personal needs. In fact,
you might have a better chance of
receiving aid from a private school.
Private colleges often offer more
financial aid to attract students
from every income level. Higher college
expenses also mean a better chance
of demonstrating financial need.
Millions of Dollars in Scholarships
Go Unused Every Year
Professional scholarship search services
often tout this statistic. In fact,
most unclaimed money is slated for
a few eligible candidates, such as
employees of a specific corporation
or members of a certain organization.
Most financial aid comes from the
federal government, though it's also
a good idea to research nonfederal
sources of aid.
My Folks Will Have to Sell Their
House to Pay for College
Home value is not considered in calculations
for federal financial aid. Colleges
may take home equity into account
when determining how much you are
expected to contribute to college
costs, but income is a far greater
factor in this determination. No college
will expect your parents to sell their
house to pay for your education.
We Can Negotiate a Better Deal
Many colleges will be sensitive to
a family's specific financial situation,
especially if certain nondiscretionary
costs, such as unusually high medical
bills, have been overlooked. But most
colleges adhere to specific financial
aid-award guidelines and will not
adjust an award for a family that
feels it got a better deal at another
school. "We won't bargain, but
we want to make sure we know the family's
full financial picture," says
Tally Hart, Director of Student Financial
Aid at The Ohio State University
For more information on financial
aid to Study in New york contact www.collegeboard.com