Articles: Financial Aid

A student speaking with her advisor

Community colleges have always been a popular place for students to begin their higher education career. Often smaller, closer, and more affordable than their four-year counterparts, they can help students get accustomed to college-level work or simply save on tuition.

The time of unprecedented growth for the federal Pell Grant program couldn’t have come at a worse time for Congress.

Given federal and state regulations­, especially now, there are many policies and procedures related to applying for, awarding, and disbursing aid that can’t be avoided.

Student loan debt has been steadily rising for a number of years and has recently passed the $1 trillion mark, making it more than credit card debt.

Many people probably only think about Napa when they’re thinking about wine.

One of the more dubious notions to attach itself to higher education is the brash “right to fail.” While the intent to demand maturity and accountability from college students is understandable, the reality, and certainly the wisdom of such an axiom, is another story.

Are the financial aid award letters your institution sends to returning and prospective students clear, correct, complete, and comparable to other institutions’ award letters? The federal government thinks that too many are misleading and difficult to compare.

At one time, each of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges ran its own financial aid office by its own rules. Ten years later, the Connecticut Community College System has doubled the number of students. Now all 12 colleges use FAFSA alone to determine eligibility.

Financial aid information is easy to find at Pierce College.

Working one’s way through college is the norm for community college students: 85 percent work part- or full-time. With an average tuition bill of $2,713 a year, only 13 percent turn to student loans.

Very few colleges and universities have actually cut their tuition, according to a National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities survey of members released in June. Other measures have been taken, though.

  • 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy: Free program from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to help Americans understand their personal finances through every stage of life

Six years ago, when Ted Beck became president and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), a nonprofit dedicated to helping Americans become more financially capable, student financial literacy had been overlooked by colleges and universities for a number of years.

With college costs still top of mind for most families, financial aid is more important than ever.

paper chase

It wasn't as if the admissions office at Boston University did nothing to keep from drowning in paper, working 12-hour days and weekends, and falling behind on customer service.

PBSC

Of all the voluminous paperwork generated by institutions of higher education, perhaps none drowns administrators quite so much as the waves of financial aid forms that surge through offices.

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