Baptist colleges, students, families struggle, cope with financial crisis

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by gb93433, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (ABP) -- For thousands of students at Baptist colleges, the excitement of the start of fall classes is being muted by a harsh reality this year: Economic hardship is making the already high cost of private college almost untenable for many families.

    “I can’t imagine how my father feels knowing there are $60,000 in school bills coming in the next two years,” said Kley Sippel, whose father lost his job just before Kley enrolled as a freshman at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., two years ago. The family has been on a financial roller-coaster ever since, making the 19-year-old’s dream of graduating from a private -- and hence more costly -- Christian school increasingly tenuous.

    Across the country, families and schools alike are digging deep to keep their students enrolled in Baptist and other Christian colleges and universities, which account for three percent of all college students in the United States.

    Conspiring against all their efforts is a litany of sobering trends -- rising unemployment, tanking family assets, increased college costs, shrinking college endowments and a stingy loan market. The number of families denied federal school loans has increased more than 250 percent in the past two years -- from 10 percent of applicants to 25 percent.
    As a result, as students geared up to return to campuses this year, an unprecedented number resorted to the previously little-known strategy of appealing their financial-aid packages -- asking their colleges to reconsider that all-important aid determination because of family hardship.

    Because families of college students file financial-aid requests using their tax returns from the previous year, many may have drastically different incomes by the time their students actually get to campus in the fall. The federal government, which determines how much a family should be able to pay for school, allows those students to appeal based on “special circumstances,” such as when a parent loses a job after the paperwork is filed.

    Nationwide, the number of appeals has skyrocketed since last year. More than 100,000 students have already filed special-circumstances reviews, and that number is expected to top 140,000 this year, according to the Washington Post.

    The rest of the story is at http://www.abpnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4358&Itemid=53
     

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