Will colleges hand out more college scholarships and financial aid for the latest crop of high school seniors?
Last year private colleges and universities, in particular, dug deeper and increased the amount of money they awarded through college financial aid and merit scholarships.
Last time I checked, the financial misery index is still alarming, but colleges might not be as generous this year. That was the conclusion I reached after reading an article written by Kim Clark, a friend of mine over at U.S. News & World Report.
In the article, the president of the Council of Independent Colleges, which represents about 500 private institutions, suggests that financial aid officers now believe they might have been too generous last year with their aid packages. During the last college admission cycle, private schools were so worried about competing with state schools as the recession griped the country that they hiked their financial aid budgets by 9%.
At dozens of colleges, the financial aid and scholarships were so attractive that the schools ended up with record freshman classes. Schools overflowing with freshmen this year include DePauw University, Goshen College, Maryland Institute College of Art and Roanoke College.
What should you do with this bad news? This year more than ever, it’s critically important that students cast a wider net when applying to schools. Doing so should increase teenagers’ chances of receiving one or more acceptance letters that contain a generous financial aid package or a college scholarship.