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December 23, 2004

More College Students Will Be Broke Like Me When They Graduate

More fabulous news from the Shrub administration. "Students Bear More of the Cost of College," by Greg Winter in the NYT:

College students in virtually every state will be required to shoulder more of the cost of their education under new federal rules that govern most of the nation's financial aid.

Because of the changes, which take effect next fall and are expected to save the government $300 million in the 2005-6 academic year, at least 1.3 million students will receive smaller Pell Grants, the nation's primary scholarship for those of low income, according to two analyses of the new rules. ...

The enormous University of California, with campuses scattered across the state, estimates that at least half of its 46,000 Pell Grant recipients will face some sort of reduction as a result of the changes. At the other end of the spectrum, Knox College, a small liberal arts institution in Illinois, says the changes will most likely reach upward to affect the middle class as well.

"Of course we focus on the students who have the greatest need, but these families are needy, too," said Teresa Jackson, Knox's director of financial aid. "They can't just sit down and write a check for $30,000 a year. I can appreciate the difficulty with the budget, but my gosh, to cut back on financial aid given the times doesn't make a lot of sense."

You see even when your rents make loads of money on paper, you could still struggle to make ends meet with your tuition bill. Personally, it was a struggle every year to get Swellesley to guarantee my folks' education loans (because of a past bankruptcy) and to add insult to injury, a "helpful" woman in the Financial Aid office called me in during my senior year to point out that my personal contribution to my tuition bill was much higher than most students and asked if I was sure my folks were paying as much as they possibly could. Sigh. The end result is that I'm stuck with a bill that's too much for my meager paycheck to afford on top of my car loan, car insurance, credit card bills from a year of unemployment, rent, and utilities.

I remember when English students took to the streets last year when Prime Minister Tony Blair forced them to contribute towards the cost of their college education. Their yearly bill is now about thirty bucks. Would that I was an English woman.

Posted by cj at December 23, 2004 11:25 AM


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