Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Future of Financial Aid

Most American families ask two questions when anticipating college for their teens: 1) Which is the best school for us?, and 2) How will we pay for it? With the cost of college tuition increasing every year, financial aid is an absolute necessity for the vast majority of students. While scholarships, grants and college savings plans can offset the cost of attendance, student loans are usually needed to cover the bulk of the cost.

The credit crisis that is currently shaking up the housing market is spilling over into the realm of student aid. Some experts see this as a positive development, providing the federal government, lenders and institutions of higher education an opportunity to seriously evaluate and make changes to a system that most acknowledge is broken. But like any systemic shift, any alterations to the current student loan program will be slow in coming. Should the changes begin with the FAFSA system? Lenders? An insistence that colleges begin to look at ways to cap costs? And in the meantime, what impact will this uncertainty have on students preparing for college in the next few years?

Inside Higher Ed offers perspectives on these issues in its article "Rethinking Student Aid--Really?" While there are currently no easy solution for the challenges of the financial aid system, it pays for those heading to college to be well informed and get the best advice possible to make sure that the road through college doesn't lead straight to the poorhouse. Tune in to the Financial Aid Podcast for up-to-date info and advice.

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