Dispelling myths about financial aid
The decision to enroll in Christian colleges and universities is one of the most important that prospective students will ever make. From choosing a major to deciding whether to study online or on campus, returning to higher education is a significant choice. However, there are a few considerations more important than the financial aspect of going back to college. Some experts speculate that student debt will be the next bubble to threaten the stability of the nation’s economy, but according to a recent report published by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the situation is not as bad as some economists may say.
Setting the record straight
One of the more common misconceptions about student debt is that many graduates end up more than $100,000 in debt by the time they complete their studies. Although this is certainly true of some students, this is far from a typical scenario. Data in the CIC report suggests that one-third of graduates who finished their degrees in 2011 did so without any student debt, and that the average total debt owed per student is closer to $20,000.
Another myth surrounding higher education relates to the ease with which students can receive merit- and need-based financial aid at private and independent colleges. Many people believe that these institutions do not offer grants, scholarships and other forms of financial aid frequently. However, the CIC report suggests that students enrolling at independent and private schools were twice as likely to receive grants than individuals attending public universities, and more than three times as likely to receive grant funding than students enrolling at for-profit schools.
Explore all the options
Individuals planning to enroll in Christian colleges and universities should make sure to explore all avenues of funding available to them, as some students do not fully understand their eligibility before committing to financing. According to The Huffington Post, a recent report published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau revealed that many students who took out private loans did not borrow from lower-cost federal alternatives.
Interest rates on government-secured Stafford Loans are much lower than financing taken out at a private financial institution, and many students do not realize how much funding they are entitled to. Individuals planning to attend Christian universities should ensure that they complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form before committing to any particular loan through a private bank.