This week's quotes focus on the state of the economy and its implications for the financial aid office:
"CSN [College of Southern Nevada] Financial Aid Director Peter Hurley says their applications are up 82-percent from this same time last year. If this trend continues, they're expecting 35,000 students to apply for help for next year putting a strain on their work study programs and grants. "It can only go to so many people and make a difference. I can't give everybody $5 and expect to have a positive impact on enrollment," said Hurley."
"After hearing anecdotal stories about UCLA students sleeping in their cars and skipping meals, an emergency crisis team was put together. The team offers programs such as an on-campus food closet and hopes to identify students who are at risk of eviction or are going hungry. "It is set up as a sort of safety net to make sure no one falls through the cracks," said Ronald Johnson, financial aid director at UCLA."
"On the federal level, the stimulus package raises the tuition tax credit for middle-class families from $1,800 to $2,500. Daniel Sistarenik, director of financial aid at SUNY New Paltz, said the credit will help bridge the gap between financial aid and the cost the student has to cover. "Not everybody gets enough financial aid to cover everything, so everyone should be able to get this tax credit," he said. ""And some of our middle- and higher-income families don't get any grant money, so at least they'll get a credit next year when they do their taxes."
“Students are encouraged to only borrow the amount that they need,” Mann [Dan Mann, Director of Financial Aid Services at University of Illinois] said, “There are many students that choose not to borrow at all.” Though Mann said many students are able to cover University costs, the economic downturn has pushed people to look for help. “Right now, we have a 16.6 percent increase in applications for student aid,” Mann said, “We also had more student admissions this year than in past years, but this is clearly an increase in demand for financial aid.”
- While awards are largely determined by economic factors, aid officers also recommend giving the appeal a more personal touch by having the student, rather than the parent, make the first call. "You tend to see [financial-aid officers] doing more because you're trying to help the student," says Chris Gruber, Davidson's vice president for admission and financial aid. "It seems a little more genuine to us than perhaps somebody sitting at their desk and calling the five colleges that a student has been admitted to and trying to jockey for greater dollars."