Archive for February 3rd, 2010

Timeline Note

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010


As I look at the calendar, I am reminded of two things. One: This is not a Leap Year and we do not have an extra day to accomplish everything we want. Two: It is time to look at our College Planning Timeline to see what needs to be done now…or by now.

With college costs and student debt continuing to go up, we recommend to all families to complete a “Dry Run” as soon as the freshman year. (Step three in the timeline.) The biggest benefits of doing this early are that it will keep you out of the hospital (sticker shock) and lessen the need to borrow unnecessarily for college. College financial aid policies are changing frequently. The middle and upper-middle income families are not helped by these changes.

Look at this announcement made this week at Williams College. Several other competitive colleges will be following suit. You will have more time to explore your options and understand the many different financial aid calculations college use, when you do a “Dry Run” long before high school senior year.

Therefore, one of the steps that is paramount to high school planning is becoming aware of the true costs of college and taking realistic steps to ensure that the colleges on a child’s list are not only academically and socially suitable, but are affordable. If you have not done this yet, then what are you waiting for?  Student debt as shown in this recent study is out of control, college graduates need not graduate with a mountain of debt.

At a recent high school workshop I gave, a parent asked what is the most common mistake a family makes in the college planning process. Good question with an easy answer: Not doing a realistic estimate of the “bottom line” cost of the colleges on their child’s list.

The Dry Run is the first step on the way to a solution.

If you know a family with high school sophomores or juniors this is the best time for the former and a priority for the latter to complete a Dry Run with us now.

There are 72 colleges in the country that have some sort of “no-loan” policies. But  colleges are making adjustments because money (credit)  is tight for them too. Loan and merit scholarship policies at most colleges in the last few years have changed. How those changes effect a family depends on the college and the profile of the applicant.  To learn how your student will be assessed by the college admissions committees at his or her colleges, call us today.

Williams College

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Williams College Nixes No-Loan Student-Aid Policy After Endowment Falls

By Ashley Marchand

Williams College is eliminating its no-loan student-aid program that began in the fall of 2008, saying that it can no longer afford the policy because of its battered endowment.

The college in Massachusetts, which has a sticker price of $49,880 a year, was one of more than 40 in the United States that have no-loan or limited-loan student-aid programs, which eliminate or cap loans for students with demonstrated financial need and replace them with institutional grants and scholarships.

It is one of a number of selective private colleges—at the time buoyed by swelling endowments—that announced no-loan policies in quick succession in 2007 and 2008. Then the bottom fell out of the financial markets, and colleges’ endowments plummeted. Williams’ dropped from $1.9-billion in June 2008 to $1.4 billion a year later.

Now, in a letter dated Sunday, the college’s interim president announced that its no-loan program will end in the fall of 2011. “Williams is in a strong financial situation by virtually any comparison—except with that of the Williams of three years ago,” William G. Wagner, the interim president, said in the letter.