Collegebound Network

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Colleges Care: How They Are Helping Students Afford Tuition

The cost of college can be daunting. In these tough economic times, it can be downright overwhelming. But colleges are taking notice and creating new financial lifelines to ensure that all students have access to higher education.

Increased financial aid funds and zero application fees
At Hampshire College (Amherst, MA), an additional $400,000 in financial aid funds will be made available in the upcoming academic year to help meet the increasing needs of middle-income families. In addition, the college has eliminated the application fee for all students applying to the school for fall 2009, and will reimburse any application fees that have already been submitted.

Textbook discount
At Mary Baldwin College (Staunton, VA), students receive 10 percent off all textbook purchases at the campus bookstore for spring 2009. The 10 Percent Textbook Initiative is being underwritten by two donors to assist students in these difficult financial times.

Reduced tuition
Saint Leo University (Saint Leo, FL) is slashing its tuition rates by 10 percent for new online students. The Saint Leo COL Values Grant Program is available for new students who enroll at the university's Center for Online Learning (COL) starting in January 2009. Students must enroll in at least one course for six consecutive eight-week terms in order to save $132 per class and almost $800 over the course of a year. Students who maintain consistent enrollment may renew the Values Grant to earn an associate degree or a bachelor's degree from the Center for Online Learning.

Out-of-state student savings
Through the new Western Pennsylvania Advantage program at Youngstown State University (Youngstown, OH), the school will cut its out-of-state yearly surcharge from $2,692.56 to $200 for students in eight counties along the Pennsylvania-Ohio border. That's a savings of roughly $2,500 per year for students who reside in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Lawrence, Mercer, and Venango counties in Pennsylvania.

Emergency loans
The College of Wooster (Wooster, OH) has created the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Jr. Emergency Student Aid Fund to provide loans to full-time continuing students who have exhausted all sources of aid and now face financial hardship that jeopardizes their ability to continue at the college.

New benefits for veterans
At Amherst College (Amherst, MA), a new permanently endowed scholarship fund will provide enough financial aid to cover the full demonstrated financial need of veterans of the U.S. armed forces who are accepted by and enroll at the school for fall 2009 and beyond. Veterans must still complete the financial aid process to determine their eligibility and need for federal, state, and institutional funding; the hope is that the scholarship fund, combined with G.I. Bill benefits, will cover most, if not all, expenses for veterans to attend the college.

Higher education may seem financially improbable, but it's not impossible. With a little help from committed colleges like these, students can turn their education dreams into reality.