Posts Tagged ‘college grants’

What the Debt Ceiling Legislation Means for Your College Education

abcThis has been the summer of the debt crisis and a seemingly never-ending debate on raising the debt ceiling. Even if you didn’t really quite understand–or care to understand–the impact of the resulting bill signed by President Obama earlier this week, one of the biggest public concerns throughout the debate was how it would harm access to higher education. So was the future of college and graduate education harmed or protected?

Nothing is ever completely black or white, but here are some details of what the legislation will do:

Overall, the legislation will couple an increase in the government’s borrowing cap with more than $2 trillion in budget cuts over the coming decade, including cuts to federal education spending. So, do you want good news or bad news first?

If you chose “bad news,” skip to the section that says “bad news.” For “good news,” keep reading.

Good news:

Despite the nail biting induced by fear that the Pell Grant program would encounter extremely deep cuts, the program was salvaged. Need a reminder of what the Pell Grant program is? Basically Pell Grants are designated to students from low-income families. They are grants for college that do not have to be repaid. According to the U.S. Despartment of Education, more than 19 million undergraduate students are expected to be awarded Pell Grants in the upcoming academic year. That’s a lot of students and a lot of education.

Instead of harmful cuts to the program, as was expected, the Pell Grants progam will receive $17 billion in funding at no additional cost to taxpayers.

Which leads us to the bad news:

If the Pell Grant program is safe, and at no additional cost to the taxpayers, where does the $17 billion come from? No, not a money tree. Those don’t exist yet (I’m currently working on it in the secret laboratory in my basement). With a money tree out of the picture, money has to be cut from elsewhere. In this case, saving the Pell Grant program came at the cost of government-subsidized loans for graduate and professional students. The loans will be eliminated in July 2012, which means that graduate students would have to pay interest on their loans while still in school. On top of that, the rate reduction on student loan interest for on-time payments will be eliminated.

Together, these two changes are expected to generate $22 billion in savings, with $17 billion allocated for Pell Grants and the remaining $5 billion helping to reduce the deficit.

Nobody was expecting a win-win situation to come out of the legislation, but it will definitely be interesting to see how pitting undergraduate education against graduate and professional education will work in the long run.

Is this good news or bad news? Share your opinion by leaving a comment below.

10 Cheapest Private Colleges and Universities

diplomabiggerOften times, students nix the private colleges on their college search lists because they figure they’re going to be more expensive than public schools.  But, that’s not always the case! A lot of times private colleges and universities have huge endowments and can offer many more, and often larger, grants to admitted students.

US News recently published a list of the 10 least expensive private colleges and universities for 2010-2011. As you go through the list, compare the numbers with the average cost of tuition and required fees for the 2010-11 school year which was $26,079.

Here are the 10 least expensive private schools:

1. Berea College
Tuition and fees 2010-2011-$910
Cool fact: Berea College charges no tuition; every student is provided the equivalent of four-year, full-tuition scholarships and has to take part in a work-study.

2. Brigham Young University-Hawaii
Tuition and fees 2010-2011-$4,330
Cool fact: The university owns the Polynesian Cultural Center, the largest living museum in the state of Hawaii, which employs roughly one third of the student body.

3. Brigham Young University-Provo
Tuition and fees 2010-2011-$4,420
Cool fact: Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, is an alum.

4. Lane College
Tuition and fees 2010-2011-$8,000
Cool fact: Planning for the school had begun in 1878, but the school’s establishment was delayed by a yellow fever epidemic in the region in 1878.

5. Life University
Tuition and fees 2010-2011-$8,622
Cool fact: Life University remains the largest school in the chiropractic profession.

6. Blue Mountain College
Tuition and fees 2010-2011-$8,870
Cool fact: The college officially became co-educational in 2005.

7. Park University
Tuition and fees 2010-2011-$8,898
Cool fact: The original concept called for students to get free tuition and board in exchange for working up to half day in the college’s farm, electrical shop or printing plant.

8. Mountain State University
Tuition and fees 2010-2011-$9,000
Cool fact: The university has gone through 3 name changes: Beckley College, The College of West Virginia and now, Mountain State University.

9. Philander Smith College
Tuition and fees 2010-2011-$9,450
Cool fact: Philander Smith College was a pioneer during the civil rights movement as many of its students engaged in nonviolent resistance against segregation laws

10. Alice Lloyd College
Tuition and fees 2010-2011-$9,500
Cool fact: The college is one of two colleges in Kentucky–the other is Berea!–and one of eight in the nation–that have mandatory work-study programs.

Want to share your thoughts on this? Leave a comment!

The Best Colleges for Financial Aid

graduate piggyU.S. News & World Report recently published a report that only 63 colleges are actualy able to meet students’ full financial needs.  Financial need is the difference between tuition cost and a student’s expected family contribution as calculated by FAFSA or the institution itself.  That discrepancy is then made up by schools that claim to meet full need through grants and loans.

Students also spend hours searching for college scholarships to fill that gap to pay for college.

Here is was U.S. News & World Report said about the Best Colleges for Financial Aid:

During the recent recession, numerous schools striving to meet the full financial needs of students were unable to do so because of shrinking endowments, dwindling donations, and sharp decreases in state funding. Though the economic recovery is far from over, some schools are now able to offer more than they have in the past…

…[Sixty-three] schools out of more than 1,700 surveyed by U.S. News that claim to meet their students’ full financial need. All schools listed report that they meet 100 percent of need for all students. Several schools including Vanderbilt University and Johns Hopkins University were a few percentage points shy of meeting full need, but were not included in the table:

Amherst College
Barnard College
Bates College
Boston College

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