With regard to the article "Students find college funds in unusual places" in the April 6 Dispatch, I feel compelled to present an aspect of college funding that negates the good that scholarships do. This is the federal regulation that requires all funding obtained outside of the financial-aid package offered by schools to be reported and applied against (i.e., replace) the financial-aid award.
With regard to the article “Students find college funds in unusual places” in the April 6 Dispatch, I feel compelled to present an aspect of college funding that negates the good that scholarships do. This is the federal regulation that requires all funding obtained outside of the financial-aid package offered by schools to be reported and applied against (i.e., replace) the financial-aid award.
When a student and family applies for financial aid, each school independently determines the amount of financial aid for which a student is eligible (which includes school and federal grants and federal student and parent loans) and calculates a family contribution, which is the amount that a family presumably is able to pay out of personal funds.
Families then must figure out how they will come up with that amount, which can be considerable.
Common sense would suggest that any private scholarships and grants could be used to help close the gap that the family needs to pay, and so searching and applying for any and all available scholarships is to be encouraged.
Our son applied for and won numerous scholarships. Our delight turned to frustration, however, when we learned that all of the money from the private scholarships he was awarded actually would replace the financial aid provided by the school and federal government, first taking away the loans and then the grants. In other words, the “family contribution” never can be reduced or paid by any means other than through the family’s personal finances.
The schools stated that this was a component of the federal regulations for financial aid. Common sense, again, as well as fairness, should dictate that scholarship money obtained through personal efforts should be able to be applied toward a student’s college expenses in addition to the school and federal financial aid that is offered.
I ask our congressional representatives to reconsider this aspect of financial aid and change the regulations. Allowing families to use private scholarships without affecting financial aid would make a true contribution toward making it possible for more students to attain a higher-education degree with less debt.