It seems a necessary evil that colleges are increasing their tuition these days.  The economy is lean, costs of operating large institutions are up, etc.  So it’s no wonder that each year we see a percentage hike in college costs.  However, some universities have been creative in their methods of counterbalancing the increase.

Some schools, such as Dartmouth, for example, have upped the income level required of student’s families to receive certain financial aid.  In recent weeks, Dartmouth announced a change in its “no-loan financial aid threshold.”  At present, the school does not give loans to families who have an annual income of $75,000 or less.  The new rate, to go into effect in the 2012-2013 school year, will increase this limit to $100,000 per year of income or less.  This is actually a good thing, as it aims to reduce the total amount paid for schooling (i.e. loan interest) and loan debt that students incur upon completion of 4 years of college education.

The change comes on the heels of a nearly 5% increase in annual tuition, which went from $41,736 to $43,782 (total cost of attendance including room, board, etc. amounts to $57,998).  In addition to loan elimination, the college also aims to cover the above tuition amount for students in that $100,000 or less income bracket.  You read that right: tuition itself will be free.  If you take the total COA ($57,998) and subtract tuition ($43,782), these families will only have to pay $14,216 per year in fees.  That’s less than some public universities (and we’re talking Ivy League, here).

This is just one other way that colleges are attempting to help you get through college.  We mentioned last month that other universities are locking their tuition rates, rather than increasing them (the rate you start with as a freshman is the one you keep through senior year—i.e. the University of Colorado Boulder and Augusta State University) and still others are providing assistance on different fronts, such as housing aid (scholarships put toward room and board—i.e. Cleveland State University).

Colleges want to provide access to outstanding academic programs, and they want to help you to succeed.  Keep your eyes and ears open for the ways that schools are making this happen.  And as always, Go Financial Aid is here to answer your questions on all things college—be it preparing to enter college or figuring out the financial end of the spectrum.  Visit our solutions center for more valuable help.

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Tags: education loans financial aid no-loan threshold

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