Here’s a scary thought… The total amount of college debt in the United States is pushing nearly a trillion dollars and is continuing to rise at a rate of 13.9 percent compounded annually. As students prepare to accept their degrees this Spring, many teachers, mentors, and families will proudly cheer for their graduate. Valedictorians and key note speakers will tell stories of a promising, exciting future filled with unlimited potential to stadiums full of hopeful 20-somethings. However, for the majority of graduates, a grim reality of possible unemployment and debt awaits them.
The messages are contradicting. Students are told to go to school, invest in their future, and work hard to earn a degree that will guarantee them a job. My mother is always quick to suggest that I take out more loans and pursue a doctorate degree. “If I were your age again,” is how she greets me. However, since the advent of the recession, students have struggled to find employment that matches the skills they’ve acquired in college. After graduating from undergrad, I worked in retail, in a call center, as a customer service rep, as a tutor, and at more internships than I can count. For over a year, my “sent box” looks like a cemetery for outgoing cover letters and resumes.
Often times, employers are reluctant to hire recent graduates because they lack consecutive years of relevant work experience. In turn, students are forced to take jobs that are often unrelated to their field of study, usually lack the benefits they need, and are lower paying, making it extremely difficult for them to both live and pay back their loans simultaneously. Instead of a great job, undergraduate and graduate students, are often left with a mountain of debt from anywhere between $25,000 to even $200,000. And you cannot discharge student debt given by the federal government by filing bankruptcy.
In addition to these mixed messages studies to do not reflect actual hiring practices. A recent study of thousands of U.S. companies showed more than half want a worker with at least a two-year degree. However, according to the newly-published special report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 11 percent of the country’s students who’ve earned a four-year degree were unemployed in 2011. That’s an unemployment rate that was higher than the national average, which floated between 8.5 percent and 9.1 percent that year.
So how does a student make it through college, graduate with a great degree, land a fabulous job, and start an awesome career without drowning in an ocean of student loans? Even if you absolutely have to take out loans, it’s possible to stay afloat.
Accept that Equality is a Fantasy
It may be hard to accept, but not all degrees are created equal. If you decide to go to college to pursue a whimsical degree that based on market trends does not equate to a promising job search, expect to have a difficult time finding a career to suit your degree. During freshmen year, when your advisor pulls you into her office and asks you to decide on a major, ask yourself: What type of job do you plan to pursue that will justify spending a large sum of money on that type of a degree? Do research on the types of careers people usually go into with the degrees you’re in and pick your degree based on whether you will have a better chance of securing a job. Even if you attend a liberal arts college, do not be too liberal with your choice of major. Don’t believe the hype or buy into the fantasy of college being an extended party on the government’s dime. Not to burst anyone’s bubbles, but the point of going to college is to learn what you need to know in a specific field in order to obtain a well-paying job.
Balance is Key
If you choose a major, like business or engineering, the likelihood of being able to pay back any loans is greater. If you decide to go to law school and have to take out a large loan, you’ll probably be able to pay that loan back after a few years because lawyers typically earn high salaries. Same is true for medical school. For my graduate degree, I knew I wanted to be as marketable as possible, yet still remain true to my discipline. I want to eventually teach at the university level so I picked a Humanities degree that concentrated in English, which would also make me more desirable to a university’s Humanities department. The college professor salary I will one day earn justifies the loans I took out. However, if you major in women’s studies or archeology or photography or even English, you may have a harder time paying back loans… especially if you took out $200,000. Make sure the loans you take out, if any, match the career you expect to obtain.
Two or Four?
A four-year college is not the only option and many students choose to attend two-year colleges or community colleges first. After those two years they can transfer to a four year university. This allows them to fulfill many core requirements and even get a jump start on their major credits for a fraction of the cost. If you maintain a certain GPA while in community college, many schools will guarantee you a spot in your junior year. In addition, online colleges and online courses, offer virtually every degree imaginable for considerably less money.
Private vs. Public?
Often times, the only difference is the cost. In-state tuition at public colleges is usually significantly less than private schools. Some of the highest ranked colleges in the nation are state schools with have amazing resources, alumni, and scholarship plans. Currently, the University of California—Berkeley holds the number one spot in the nation. University of California—Los Angeles is second, University of Virginia third, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor fourth, and University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill fifth. For a complete list of top national public universities click here.
Work Hard So You Can Play Harder
During my junior and senior year of high school I busted my butt writing essays for scholarships and contests. I wrote about whatever the application called for, whether it was the environment, space travel, literature, or cockier spaniels. All in all, I only won a hand full of scholarship money, but I was able to purchase books and pay for housing my first year. I also worked throughout college to afford my expenses. If I could do it all over again, I would have worked more and I would have saved more. The less you have to pay back in loans the more money you will have to enjoy your life.
It’s that time of year again–the time of year that students and parents are forced to either complete their taxes early or go through loads of paperwork from the previous year to fill out the FAFSA. For those student who have completed the FAFSA in previous years it’s clear that there are lots of unclear questions. One category that lots of students have questions about is the designation of independent and dependent students.
This is an important designation because it has a very significant pull on the amount of financial aid that a student is eligible for and raises the amount of Stafford loans available immediately.
In order to meet the definition of being an independent student one must meet at least one of the following criteria:
• You are 24 years old or older (Born before Jan. 1, 1990 for the 20013-2014 FAFSA).
• You’re married on the day you apply for financial aid (even if you are separated but not divorced).
• You are or will be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program (beyond a bachelor’s degree) at the beginning of the academic year your FAFSA is for.
• You’re currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training.
• You’re a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. (A “veteran” includes students who attended a U.S. service academy and were released under a condition other than dishonorable.)
• You have children who will receive more than half their support from you during the FAFSA academic year.
• You have legal dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half their support from you.
• When you were age 13 or older, both your parents were deceased and you were you in foster care or a dependent or ward of the court.
• As of the day you apply for aid, you are an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
• As of the day you apply for aid, you are in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
• At any time on or after the July before you file your FAFSA, your high school or school district homeless liaison determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
• At any time on or after the July before you file your FAFSA, the director of an emergency shelter program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
• At any time on or after the July before you file your FAFSA, the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
• Note that a parent not claiming a child on their own tax return does not make a student independent.
If a student does not meet one of the above criteria, they must file as a dependent. Dependent students have to report both their parent’s income and assets in addition to their own, while independents only report their own income and possibly their spouse’s income if applicable.
Hope that cleared up any questions for you! Good luck filling out those papers!
No course on personal finance would be complete without a section included in investing. And investing early is one of the smartest things you can do. Investing not only protects your money for the future, but it also keeps the money you already have safe and secure. Unfortunately, a lot of young people don’t invest. It isn’t that they don’t want to, it’s usually because they don’t know where to start or what options are available. This article should make all the financial jargon around investing a lot easier to understand.
Bonds: a bond is an interest-bearing debt security. Bonds are issued by both companies and government entities for a specific amount of money that is “lent.” Bonds always have a given term. While interest is generally paid out on specific intervals, the bond amount or face value is repaid in total at maturity (the end of the term). Bond duration is generally between 90 days (treasuries) and 10 years.
Stocks: when a corporation decides to go public, it allocates ownership of the company by partitioning the company into shares. A stock is then a unit of ownership. Stock values generally fluctuate with the understood value of a company. Stocks are generally traded through the stock market.
Mutual Funds: a mutual fund is an investment made by pooling funds from a number of investors for the purpose of investing in stocks, bonds, and other assets. Funds are managed by specific money managers who invest the capital while maintaining the investment objectives and structure. Different mutual funds have different general investments. For example, some funds are focused in specific international markets, while others are focused in specific market areas (mining, the financial industry, technology, etc.).
Risk: in most cases an investment will not have the exact same return as expected. The possibility that some of the original investment will actually be lost is the risk associated with an investment. Risk is calculated using the standard deviation of historical or average returns of investment. Different investments carry different amounts of risk. While risk carries the concern of loss, greater risk also means greater possible returns. An individual’s risk tolerance is thus something that needs to be considered both from a financial and personal standpoint.
Diversification: to manage risk, it is generally desirable to diversify. That means you have a variety of investments that do differently in different scenarios. The idea of diversification in based off the wisdom of not placing all of one’s eggs in one basket. By investing in different country’s markets and in companies that might do well in different markets an investor gives themselves a cushion.
Tax-deferred investments: some investments allow users to accumulate tax free until the investor takes the money out at a later date. These types of investments are generally used for retirement saving and are important for two reasons. The first is the idea of compound interest. If the money can grow unhindered by yearly taxes on interest and gains it is a benefit to the investor. The second is the fact that money is taxed at different rates depending on the income tax bracket that an individual falls into. While one is working, they will generally be in a higher tax bracket than would be expected once retired and not working, and therefore income would be taxed at a higher rate if done immediately.
Interested in investing? Unless strictly interested in treasury bonds or placing money in a money market account, you will need to open account with a brokerage firm. If you are interested in having a financial planner, it is important to decide if you would like to do a fee based or commission based account. Also, consider going through your bank or through a referral.
Paying off student loans (and any credit card debt accrued while in school) should be a big priority for any student who is looking to get their personal finances in order and to get rid of a big cause of stress. For students who have a basic understanding of the way that compound interest works—that is that an extra $100 dollars paid off this year means $150 less down the road—paying off loans as fast as possible is also important. Here are our 5 suggestions to help students do so:
1) Put things in order…
Pay off loans in order of interest rate. Because interest is your enemy when holding debt, make sure to pay off higher interest student loans (generally these are any privately-held loans) and credit card debt before tackling student loans with lower interest rates. Focus energy into paying off the loans with the highest rates for the greatest return.
2) Take full advantage…
Not too many students know that they may be eligible for tax deductions. If paying off student debt, you can deduct up to $2500 of interest paid each year on federal taxes. Borrowers should check their eligibility for this benefit by speaking with their tax preparer or checking the IRS website.
3) Borrowing has its benefits…
Because lenders compete for private student loans, there are often different perks that lenders offer to borrowers. Student borrowers should always check the small print of their loans to figure out if there are incentives given to those who sign up for auto repayment, keep a good payment history, or have graduated from school.
4) Don’t waste the grace…
If you have a “grace period,” before student loans are due, make sure to check the terms of the grace period and use the time to get organized. Most loans allow students to set amount of time between graduating or leaving school before month payments start being due called a grace period (generally 6-9 months). During this time, students should take an inventory of all loans if they haven’t already and should come up with a repayment plan. If employed, students should also begin to save monthly so they get in the habit of saving. Setting aside money will also allow such students to either pay down a portion of their principle once loan payment kicks in, or will give such a student an emergency fund to rely on.
5) Become the commitment type…
To really try to pay off debt, students need to commit to paying more each month than is actually due, especially if the minimum payment is interest-only. The more principle is paid off the better. A trick that is used for mortgages that could also be applied to student loan debt is the trick of making biweekly payments instead of monthly payments. This is very easy to do—especially for individuals who are paid biweekly, not monthly and will make an automatic extra months payment each year, which can help a borrower to pay off loans years earlier in the long run.
While there are a few colleges out there that offer courses in personal finance, most schools do not. This leaves many students to muddle through personal finances on their own. But, don’t stress out! This blog post is especially for students who are struggling with basic finances.
The most important way to save money is to eliminate or reduce expenses. It doesn’t matter how much you can save on an item, if you can live without it or you can do with much less, it’s much better to cut the cost altogether.
FOR ONLINE PURCHASES
Cash back isn’t just for credit cards…
If you sign up for a program like ebates.com or shop at home, you can click through their links to a host of different online retailers and can then earn between 1% and 12% back on your purchase.
Promo codes are like secret passwords…
Unlock those savings. Whenever you get to the checkout page and see the promo-code box make sure to do a quick internet search for “retailer+promo code” to see if you can find anything that will work on your purchase, whether it be a percentage off or free shipping.
Deal sites are dangerous…
Unless you have a plan to buy something that you need. Deal sites can be great if looking for something in particular, but other than that they can be very misleading. The steep discounts on luxury items such as facials, eating out and even hotels can lure buyers into purchases that aren’t needed. Always use caution when visiting these sites.
Grab your little brown bag…
Make yourself a lunch for work and when you’re just hanging out with friends. Even if you’re eating off the dollar menu every time you go out, those dollars quickly add up. If you happen to be out and get hungry often, consider buying a box of granola bars to leave in your car to tide you over until you can get home and prepare an inexpensive lunch.
Brew at home…
Even if you only drink coffee a few times a week, a $10 coffee maker bought on sale and coffee beans bought at the store can translate into immediate savings.
Explore your city, for free…
Especially as a college student, there are lots of free and discounted activities available to you. Most universities let students into school athletic games for free and host a slew of free on-campus events. Even if you want to escape from campus for a little, consider going to a local beach, park, or hiking trail. For activities near you, search “your location + free events” and you’re likely to come up with some new ideas!
Use your oven for a change…
It can be easy to get into the habit of going to restaurants a few times a week just to go out with friends. However saving the expense of eating out for special occasions—birthdays, anniversaries, really big announcements—can be really important to budgeting.
Turn on the faucet…
Just like eating lunch and dinner out every day can add up quickly, a $2 bottle of water every time you get thirsty can take a big chunk out of your wallet. Reuse your water bottles and refill them with tap water—that’s what your immune system is for. However, if you don’t want to rely on your own body’s own defense mechanisms to protect you from toxins in public drinking water, purchase a filtered water bottle and reuse it as long as possible.
Learn to mend…
Pick up a needle and tread. It might seem a little grandma-ish, but being able to quickly fix a small hole or tear can salvage clothing, as well as, will help you avoid buying more clothes.
BE A SMART CONSUMER
Necessities, necessities, necessities…
One of the most important steps to saving is learning the difference between needs and wants. To really save money it is very important to be able to tell the difference and make purchases that are necessary, not just desirable.
Make a list and check it twice…
Before you go to the store write down or make a list in your phone of the things you need to purchase. This will help you avoid tempting deals or unplanned purchases. Make a list before entering a store or running a series of errands and stick to it.
Quality is key…
When buying, often the least expensive option is not actually the most cost-effective. When making purchases, be sure to read reviews, consider any applicable warranties and quality of the item. If there is much more life in an item it might be worth paying more for as it will need to be replaced less in the long run.
Abort the brand names…
Buying store brand items for groceries and household items doesn’t make you look poor, it makes you look smart and can lead to large savings at the register. Often these items are not only made of the exact same ingredients as the brand name, but are actually made at the same place and then just branded differently. Don’t be fooled into paying more for the same item. What you’re paying for in brand names is often just marketing.
Another man’s trash…
Can be another man’s treasure so consider used good as well. You can save a lot on item if you make “vintage” your friend. Getting items off Craig’s List or at a resale store can be much less expensive than getting new items.
While budgeting might not seem like a lot of fun, neither is waking up senior year to realize that in addition to the possible student loans you’ve taken out, you’ve also piled on additional debt from overspending. Plus you’ll likely score some favorite child points with Dad if you tell him you’re budgeting!
For most, their college years are the the tight years. Unlike people who have already graduated and work full time with a good salary—college students spend a majority of their time doing work that they are paying to do and learn. Side jobs like nannying, tutoring, and even interning are rarely lucrative. This makes college an ideal time to start looking at a budget. Once you get out into the real world, being financially successful means knowing how to live within your means.
There are different options for budgeting. Lots of individuals now choose to use online budgeting sites like Mint.com and Moneytrackin.com. There is also the low tech option of budgeting worksheets and cash envelopes, and then there is an inbetween point of using excel and entering in receipts and budgets. Students should choose the method that best fits both their personality and their budget needs. Cash envelope budgeting is the most rigorous of the options, but might be needed if a budget is too hard to stick to otherwise.
1. First, decide if you will budget by month or by semester. Figure out if tuition and books will be a good portion of your expenses. If you are living on campus and paying rent by the semester, planning based on academic blocks probably makes more sense. Otherwise a standard monthly budget probably makes the most sense.
2. In addition to the tuition and room and board that you might be financing, you should determine approximately how much you will be spending on other items. Make a list of educational extras like books, supplied and tutoring, groceries and food, clothes, etc.
3. Look at past semesters expenses to make sure that your estimated figures are realistic; if you are a new college student then consider asking friends or looking around for cost trends online. If your expenses can’t be reconciled with income or available funds, look for ways that you might be able to curb your expenditures. This step often involves separating wants and needs.
4. Track your spending and expenses and make adjustments to either the budget or spending habits as necessary.
Community college enrollment has been steadily growing in popularity in recent years. According to recent figures from the American Association of Community Colleges, enrollment is over 13 million, which represents about half of all college and university students in the US.
One of the main reasons for this growth is likely the relatively low tuition cost of attending community college. Full-time tuition, based on two 15-unit semesters is about $600 -$5,400 per year, or an average of $2,361 according to the American Association of Community Colleges.
Many students go to community college to earn their associates degree in specialized fields (some popular fields are dental hygiene, computer technology, and nursing). However, many students attend community college in order to take advantage of the low unit costs that such schools offer in addition to the savings that can be recognized by continuing to live at home.
If you are a high school senior and are financing college on your own or have a smaller family budget for school, don’t forget to consider community college as an option.
When considering community college students should try to plan further out by anticipating what 4-year college they would like to attend following completion of their lower credits. Most community colleges maintain specific articulation agreements with four-year universities that outline exactly which courses will transfer. On occasion these articulation agreements also include agreements on the universities part to admit students who meet grad and course work requirements automatically. Students should pay close attention to such details, as courses that do not transfer equate to a loss of both time and money.
If you are already a college student, consider taking summer classes at a community college, or see if your school allows students to take courses at community college during the academic school year.
An additional bonus about community college is the flexibility that they offer. Because these colleges cater to a wide range of students they often have more evening and weekend classes and also have a variety of online courses and even telecourses.
Are you an independent learner? Have you ever taken a final thinking you didn’t need any lectures to pass it? Or do you want to avoid the time and construction of a set college class? I’ll let you in on a little known secret: you can save time, cut down on your college costs, and even graduate early by looking into taking CLEP tests for class credit instead.
If you took any AP Tests in high school, CLEP tests are very similar in style and just like AP tests, are administered by the College Board. CLEP has also been one of the most widely trusted credit-by-examination program for over 40 years, but not too many students know about it. I know I sure didn’t. Only about 200,000 students take the test each year, compared to the nearly 3 million students who take the SAT. It’s a rigorous program, but it allows students of a wide range of ages and backgrounds to demonstrate their mastery of college-level material in introductory subjects and earn college credit.
At $77 each, the tests are cheaper than taking an equivalent course in college. In addition, over 2,900 colleges and universities in the United States accept CLEP tests. If saving money in the long run is on your agenda, the CLEP is definitely worth looking into.
You can take the test at testing centers across the country and occasionally they are offered at a specific location on various campuses. Each exam lasts 90 minutes. With the exception of The English Composition essay, all of the tests are multiple choice and are scored immediately. Scores of 50 and above (out of 80) are generally considered passing, but students should check with their respective schools to determine what score they will need for credit.
While the College Board does not post pass rates to the test, the military does post their CLEP pass rates. CLEP test are especially popular among military personnel who can take the tests free of charge at duty centers around the world. These pass rates vary from year to year, but the average trends show relatively high percentage pass rates on foreign language test and intro to management and marketing. On the other hand, calculus, chemistry, and the other business courses (economics courses, financial accounting, and business law) all have relatively low passing rates.
Regardless of the test, it is important that interested students become familiar with the format and prepare for the material tested.
Right now the College Board offers the following 33 courses through CLEP exams:
History and Social Sciences:
• American Government
• History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877
• History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present
• Human Growth and Development
• Introduction to Educational Psychology
• Introduction to Sociology
• Principles of Macroeconomics
• Principles of Microeconomics
• Social Sciences and History
• Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648
• Western Civilization I: 1648 to the Present
Composition and Literature:
• American Literature
• Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
• College Composition
• English Literature
Science and Mathematics:
• College Algebra
• College Mathematics
• Natural Sciences
• Financial Accounting
• Information Systems and Computer Applications
• Introductory Business Law
• Principles of Management
• Principles of Marketing
• French Language (Levels 1 and 2)
• German Language (Levels 1 and 2)
• Spanish Language Levels 1 and 2)
Sharpen up those pencils and happy testing!
While most students tend to go for the typical plethora of loan and grant options without doing much research, there are some new, alternative, financing methods that make use of the Internet. Two such sites are sofi.com and upstart.com.
SoFi—Alumni Funding Students at their Alma Mater
SoFi (https://www.sofi.com/), which stands for “social finance,” was started by Mike Cagney (http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2012/05/15/sofis-mike-cagney-wants-to-fix-student-loans/) with the idea that the site could make alumni the lenders of student loans instead of having banks financing the loans. In essence, the model allows alumni to group together to fund students. These students are not individually chosen by the alumni, but are rather chosen by the site and grouped.
The alumni stand to make a return of at least 5% off of the loans. When using the site, students should look to pay about 5.9% an up on loans (government loan rates start at around 6.8%). This makes the site a win-win for both investors and students.
Like other online peer-to-peer lending bases, SoFi functions as a marketplace for online loans (although in this case group-to-group might be a more appropriate term).
Students can register on SoFi’s web site; if accepted, students will receive loan funding through their school’s financial aid office.
The site also offers loan consolidation of up to 200,000 for new graduates with a fixed interest rate of 5.99%.
Upstart—Capital for a Portion of Future Income
Upstart (https://www.upstart.com/) is a totally new model of financing. The idea is based off of the future value of promising graduates. Upstart takes information from applicants including schools attended, work experience, job offers and signs of potential including accomplishments and even standardized test scores.
Upstart then uses statistical models to predict the individuals expected income during the next 10-15 years to determine a funding rate. They then allow individuals to determine a specific percentage of their future earnings that they would like to share—although they are capped at 7%. Based off of the statistical determination made, upstarts are granted a specific funding amount for each percentage of income shared.
Obviously this model doesn’t work for everyone, but only those who are really promising and committed to having a strong career to repay those who have decided to invest in the individual.
Students can use the funds raised for student loans, but are not limited to doing so.
American university students will be glad to hear that the ways to fund their education have grown. Three schools had renewed their pledge to guarantee an affordable education to low-income students. The saviors are Texas A&M, Boston University and Vanderbilt, who joined 50 other schools who made similar promises to the public.
The Major Problem
This is certainly good news when you take into account how poorly the nation’s economy is holding up. The financial crisis has affected everyone, including deserving students who are working two jobs to keep their life afloat.
Granted they are not full scholarships or study grants, but merely financial aids that could probably ease some of the burden from the students’ backs. There are terms and conditions that need to be adhered to and not everyone qualifies.
The Rich – Texas A&M Scholarships
For the freshmen at the College Station campus of Texas A&M, there is good news about to come their way. Starting from 2012, any student from a family who is earning less than $60,000 and manages to maintained a B minus average will be given financial aid, in the form of the Aggie Assurance Scholarship. There is an estimated $300,000 ready to be given out to deserving students for this year alone. And the amount is expected to grow as more students start joining Texas A&M.
In fact, many freshmen of Texas A&M has already been promised financial help, says the assistant provost. In the coming future, around 5,000 students will be given these financial packages that come to a cost of about $3 million a year. This is made possible by the fact that Texas isn’t hit with the financial storm as severely as other states due to having vast reserves of oil.
As said before, the money given away will not be used to cover everything. Students still need to pay for their living costs and it isn’t cheap. An average annual living cost estimate that includes food, lodging, study aids and travel amount to about $12,000.
The Bold – Vanderbilt Scholarships
Vanderbilt has taken a similar route in giving their students financial aid. All need-based loans will be replaced by study grants, a move which will cost it $15 million annually. The grants will also be given to seniors for their spring semester and this will deeply impact Vanderbilt, since it’s not having a very stable economy.
Although another $100 million is needed to keep the momentum going, Douglas Christiansen, associate provost for enrollment and dean of admissions is optimistic. He says they will have to work doubly hard to ensure they meet all demands. This statement is agreed upon by other school officials who believe the students are worth all the trouble, no matter where they’re from or what financial state they’re in.
The Famous – Boston University Scholarships
Boston University has also followed the footsteps of the two schools. Last September, they released a statement saying they would give full scholarship to needy and deserving students that will cover almost everything. No loans will be given and the total amount BU has to part with will be dependant on number of students applying.
To support this move, Boston University will cut down on its Boston Scholars program, in which 50 public high school graduates receive a full scholarship every year. Even then, there are skeptics. Colin Riley, a spokesman for the university, said a further $1 million is needed to get this program moving.
To safeguard their money chest, Boston University has stopped hiring new workers and has put construction on hold. Riley says that they are not in any difficulty, but just wanted to be cautious, adding that there is already enough money in the kitty.
But of course, these applications for financial aid will need an examination of the students’ and their families’ funds, or lack of it. And these checks will be thorough. On top of that, there is the problem of different families having different ideas on what they could afford. However, any financial aid given will be a pleasure for these low-income students.