Category Archives: Financial Aid

UCLA Does It Again

We recently learned another celebrity’s child was offered a football scholarship to UCLA (Cordell Broadus, Snoop Dogg’s Son, Awarded UCLA Football Scholarship As High School Sophomore) and I continue to wonder what message this sends. I generally agree with the idea of merit based scholarships; it’s true people should be rewarded for their hard work, but when it comes to college, the idea of merit scholarships is a little more confusing.

I know very little about sports, so perhaps I’m not the best person to critique UCLA’s decision, but I suspect in sports, like other extra curricular activities and academic enrichment, it takes money to reach one’s full potential. By money, I mean enrolling in special camps, classes, workshops etc and while there are scholarships to access these opportunities, let’s be real, those are hard to come by.

So, back to people getting athletic scholarships who can clearly afford to pay for college. I can’t say I agree with UCLA. I’m not saying these talented student athletes shouldn’t gain admission. They should. They should also have a spot on the athletic team. But, I’m not sure they should be awarded a scholarship, a form of financial aid. In an era where highly capable students cannot fulfill their college dreams because of money, in my mind, it sends exactly the wrong message that UCLA is choosing to give money to children of millionaires (and then make sure the whole world knows they did). I understand the money comes from a separate pool of money than the regular financial aid pool, but a scholarship is scholarship and I can’t imagine there isn’t another equally talented athlete who needs the money to attend UCLA.

I think if UCLA was a leader in awarding comprehensive financial aid packages, I might have a different opinion, but the UC isn’t affordable for many students. In fact, for some, attending a private institution is more affordable because of financial aid packages.

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A must read for anyone who has gone to college, wants to go to college or is paying for someone to go to college: The Cost of College Will Soar if Interest Rates Allowed to Double.

And the follow-up: Congress Votes To Stop Student Loan Interest Rates From Doubling

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Santa Monica College Follow-Up

We recently posted about Santa Monica College’s (SMC) tuition hike proposal and the reactions are loud and clear. The following are two recent articles on the issue:

Two-Tier Tuition Plan Should Be Postponed, Says Santa Monica College President

Two-Tier Tuition A Consideration For California State Universities

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Is A Designer Diploma Worth The Investment?

You decide: 10 Things Every Parent Should Know About College

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Believe it: Harvard cheaper than Cal State

Private colleges may be more affordable for some middle-class California families.  Check out Believe it: Harvard cheaper than Cal State to see how you may get more bang for your buck out-of-state.

Of course those who gain admission to Harvard are few, but many great colleges have also been known to give exceptional financial aid packages. These are just a few schools where students graduate with less debt compared to national averages:

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Financial Aid Made Simple: Enabling Parents To Be Experts

ImageMarch is upon us and while some high school seniors have already received acceptance letters, the vast majority will hear sometime in March and April.  After the initial excitement of an acceptance settles in, most parents are more interested in the bottom line: how much will it cost for my child to attend her dream school?

Financial aid packages, which are sent either with acceptance letters, but sometimes a week or two after, can be confusing.  Even the most savvy parents get confused, we’ve seen it time and again, so we’ve broken it down.

To Get Started:

1. What is the cost of tuition?

2. What is the cost of room and board?

3. Are there any mandatory fees?  If so, what is the total cost of those?

Add the total of 1, 2 and 3.  That equals the cost of attendance (A) .

4. $1000-1500 (approximate cost of books for one academic year)

5. What is the total cost of travel expenses to/from campus for vacations student will go home?

6. What is the total cost miscellaneous expenses (toiletries, extra food, going out, spending money)?

Add the total of 4, 5 and 6 (B) .

Add (A) and (B). This equals the total cost of attendance (C).

Now, identify the pieces of your financial aid package:

7. List each individual grant and scholarship with amount.  Add together to get total amount of grant aid. *This money is a gift – you do not need to pay it back.

8. List each individual loan with amount.  Add together to get total amount of loan aid. *This money will need to be repaid upon graduation.

9. List total amount of work-study (if offered). *This amount represents the total amount the student can earn over the course of one academic year in a designated work-study campus job.  It is not given to students, they must work to earn it.

Add 7, 8 and 9. This equals the total amount of financial aid offered by the school (D).

Now, subtract (D) from (C) total cost of attendance. This equals your contribution to attend the college (E).

If you’ve won private scholarships (see Financial Aid Resources), continue below.  If you do not have private scholarships, (E) is your total contribution to attend the college.

10. List each individual private scholarship with amount. Add together total amount of private scholarship aid.

Finally, subtract 10 from (E) your contribution to attend the college.  This equals your total contribution to attend the college.

Now that (we hope) your financial aid package makes sense, assess whether you can afford to attend the college.  If you still have questions or concerns, call the college financial aid office.  Financial aid officers are there to help you and want to help you.  Do not be embarrassed to call!

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