Private Colleges Providing More Financial Aid

By Staff
July 30, 2009

Private institutions of higher learning are funneling more financial aid to cash-strapped families unable to afford college.

The Albany, New York Times Union reports that many private institutions are anticipating more students needing more money, and are setting aside additional funding accordingly. Siena College allocated an additional $50,000 towards financial aid last year, and more funding is expected this year. Skidmore College increased its financial aid budget by 8 percent to $30.3 million for the upcoming school year. Additionally, Union College set aside $700,000 for students with sudden financial need.

The schools are urging families and students to apply for more financial aid should the need arise. When Megan Lohan's private student loans were cut, for example, the Siena student expected that was the end of her private education. But after receiving an e-mail from Rev. Kevin Mullen, president of the college, saying to call if money is an issue, Lohan contacted the school's financial aid office and received a $7,500 scholarship grant.

"It lifted a huge weight off my chest," she told the Times Union.

Similarly, The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Indiana, reports that Grace College expects to allocate an additional $778,000 in financial aid, and the University of Indianapolis will set aside as much as $3 million. The aid is in response to the smaller financial aid grants offered by the state this year.

"We have informed the affected students that we will be compensating for the state's reduction," noted Ronald E. Manahan, president at Grace.

Mark Weigland, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Indianapolis, pointed out that the state cuts would have forced many students to leave college--an unacceptable option in this economic climate. "These additional grants we're providing will not be sustainable in the long term," he said, "but this year, it's the right thing to do. . . . We hope the state can find the funding next year to restore the cap to its previous level."

Other Indiana schools which pledged to offset the shortfall for students included Manchester College, Trine University and the University of Saint Francis.

In Pennsylvania, Ursinus College received about 200 appeals for financial aid from freshmen--up from 140 the year before, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer [from an article originally located at]. The school granted more than 100 of those appeals and provided an additional $250,000.

Similarly, Immaculata University received 110 appeals--nearly twice as many as last year--and is granting additional funds to about 90 percent of them.

"Many of the stories were incredibly sad, and as the caring institution that we are, we tried to help as any students as possible," said Becky Bowlby, director of admission. "We don't want to see that cost is the reason you don't come if the school is the right fit for you."

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