Tag Archives: financial aid

Financial aid awards from colleges have always, for better or worse, possessed an air of finality about them. Once applicants submitted all their paperwork, they basically had to accept whatever thin gruel of grants, loans, and work study a school deigned to offer, need be damned. Only rarely did applicants appeal their financial aid, and more rarely still did those appeals elicit further funding. At least, that’s how college financial aid used to work… The year 2020, if you haven’t noticed, ushered in what can be fairly described as a higher ed apocalypse. In February, The College Stress Test was published, wherein the authors constructed a stress test for estimating the market viability of more than 2,800 undergraduate institutions and concluded that 10 percent or so of the nation’s colleges and universities faced substantial market risk. Around the same time, I interviewed past president of NACAC Patrick O’Connor about the…

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Many colleges are “need blind” for admissions, meaning that when the college makes an admission decision, it does not consider whether or not the student can pay the cost of attendance. Sometimes this information is on the college website, or students and parents may hear about it during college tours or information sessions. The College of the Holy Cross recently changed from need blind admissions system to a “need aware” admission system. Other colleges have done this in the past, including Wesleyan University and Haverford College a few years ago. At first glance, changing to a need aware admissions system may sound like a negative, but it actually is not such a negative if the college also meets 100% of need. When colleges are “need-aware,” they do not take need into account for most of the admitted students; but then, after some number of students have been chosen for admission,…

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Have you ever wished for a way to enjoy expert explanations of the most pressing issues in test prep, college admissions, financial aid, and education without having to actually read? If so, your lucky day has arrived. Say hello to Tests and the Rest! Tests and the Rest is THE college admissions industry podcast, perfect for school counselors, educators, test prep professionals, college consultants, and just about anyone engaged in the college admissions process. You can subscribe to this podcast at the TestBright website or stream it online via leading podcast apps, including iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn Radio. At about 25 minutes per episode, Tests and the Rest can be enjoyed just about any time, and every Tuesday brings a fresh episode. Why am I so excited about Tests and the Rest? I’m one of the hosts 😉 My co-host is the amazing Amy Seeley, president of…

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“A rising tide,” as they say, “lifts all tuitions.” Perhaps that’s not the traditional saying, but the sentiment remains as accurate this year as ever. According to the College Board, college tuition continues to outstrip inflation. Worse yet, financial aid is not keeping up with the cost increases. The College Board’s new report on Trends in College Pricing 2015 reveals a ton of informative and possibly demoralizing data on changes over time in undergraduate tuition and fees, room and board, and other college expenses, derived from the organization’s Annual Survey of Colleges. What are some of the biggest findings?   Average published tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year institutions rose by $1,122 (3.6%), from $31,283 in 2014-15 to $32,405 in 2015-16. Average total charges are $43,921. Average published tuition and fees for in‐state students in the public four‐year sector increased by $265 (2.9% before adjusting for inflation), from $9,145…

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At a recent college finance seminar presented by NextStepU, Rick Ross of College Financing Group delivered a message most families engaged in the college application process need to hear: most financial “aid” is not aid at all, but rather a package of student and parent loans. However, students may receive actual grants or scholarships on the basis of either need or merit. We don’t generally strive for need-based aid because, well, need comes with its own challenges. Merit, on the other hand, is worth pursuing for so many reasons. Every year, we see how higher test scores translate to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in merit aid. But the process of determining who awards merit aid adds even more complexity to an already byzantine college search process. Fortunately, you can find some tools to make your search at least a little easier. Back in 2012, Education Life,…

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