Jeff Selingo, a national writer on higher education, takes on this very challenging topic in anarticle, which appeared this week in the NY Times.
I have been in this profession long enough that I can recall when we informed families that we would meet 100% of their demonstrated financial need. Today, the entire calculus around financial planning and affordability has changed. I admit, it is an area that we struggle with on the college side as we attempt to balance financial aid awarded with the revenue needed to provide the educational environment and excellence for the students.
While I can offer no breakthrough solution to this challenge, when we do encounter families who have concerns about the cost of attendance after receiving their financial aid award, we typically counsel them in the following ways:
- We work to ensure they have applied for and received all available aid.
- If local, we might suggest commuting to save on room and board.
- We offer payment plans to help manage the billing cycle.
- We can connect students with a community college as a potential starting point to help them save money.
We award over $50 million each year in Lewis funded financial aid which makes the dream of enrolling possible for many students. However, we also recognize that it is not always possible to meet every family’s full need based on their financial situation.
In the end, we do not want to put families in a position where it will be a constant financial struggle. As the article indicates, we would rather help them find a better financial fit that puts them on a path toward graduation.