Financial aid at some colleges are better than others.

January 26, 2009

Does your student's prospective college stack up in the financial aid arena? Is it going to topple like so many dominos or make the grade? Case in point, Duke raised $308.5 million for financial aid. That is $308,500,000.00. 


For those of you who think it is only the elite colleges... While in-state tuition at University of Colorado Boulder campus has risen from $2,444 a year in 1999 to $5,922 — a 142 percent increase, the average financial-aid package CU awarded to its students increased 241 percent during that same time period.


Of all the colleges on your student's list, how do they stack up financially? Questions you need to ask are

  • Does the college that my child wants to attend have money to give out?
  • How much of that money is grants and scholarships and how much is in student loans?

Duke University raised more than $308.5 million. Of the $308.5 million raised through gifts and pledges, $226 million is dedicated to need-based undergraduate scholarships, $20.6 million to athletic scholarships, and $61.9 million to graduate and professional student support.

For more than a decade, the percentage increase of Duke's financial aid support has far outpaced the percentage increase of tuition.

The point is students and parents must research schools and ascertain as much about the colleges as possible. Picking a college because it is a "cheap state school" is not the best reason to select a college. Reasons being it may be less expensive to attend a private school as apposed to a state school: because

  1. The average gradation time line at a state college is 6 years vs. 4 years at a private college
  2. Private colleges typically have more money in their dowry resulting in being more generous with financial aid.

Researching colleges can be a tedious job but the outcome will be extremely beneficial.

Here is where you should start.

Create a list of the top 8-12 colleges your student desires to attend then visit the colleges individual websites as well as various other college related websites and blogs to find answers. Check out the local bookstore or library for books about colleges.  Research more than just polls.

One resource that comes to mind is the book Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges by Loren Pope. 


 Don't get caught behind the financial aid-ball, eight-ball. (Sorry, bad pun.)






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