8 Happy—and 3 Scary—Trends in Financial Aid in 2010

Rising tuition and shrinking grants mean college will cost students more this year.

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However, the hopeful developments will very likely be overwhelmed by these three economic troubles:

  • 1. Colleges around the country continue to raise tuition and fees much faster than inflation rises. Some public universities, such as those in California, are planning double-digit increases in 2010.
  • 2. Many states, charities, and colleges have already or plan to cut their scholarship budgets, notes Justin Draeger, vice president of public policy and advocacy for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Since Pell grants are generally only enough to cover costs at community colleges, students who need extra cash to pay their bills at a four-year university will probably have to dig deeper into their own pockets to pay for school, he says.
  • 3. Competition for scholarships—at least the kind that aren't guaranteed funding by the federal government—will be fiercer than ever. Many charities and other private organizations that award scholarships say they are being swamped with applications and are having to turn down highly qualified and needy students. 
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