What do you consider as the most influential factors when deciding on which college to attend? Does tuition cost play a huge part in your choice of college? The choice of school can often be a struggle between affordability and quality.
We want to receive the best education that is affordable without sacrificing quality. Perhaps your choice of college is swayed by the scope of financial aide programs available and how much a school will provide financial assistance to students.
There appears to be some relationship between student enrollment and financial aid programs offered among colleges.
Many leading US colleges are currently offering more financial aid options to students than ever before. They all offer quality degree programs, but they need to be creative for attracting more students by removing financial roadblocks that may discourage enrollment. Current economic challenges and rising costs of education are the motivation behind improved financial assistance to students. By offering more financial aid options, colleges hope to maintain or increase student enrollment.
Harvard University is ranked as the nation's top college of 2009, offering more financial aid assistance than in previous years. Harvard, like other colleges, strives to remove economic barriers of receiving a college education. There are more financial aid and scholarship options for students now than in recent years. Approximately 70% of Harvard students now receive some form of financial aid. Although Harvard is promoting increased aid to students, you must take into consideration the rate of enrollment. In the 2007-2008 school year, 25,690 students attended Harvard University and in comparison to enrollment of similar colleges, Harvard's enrollment is relatively small.
Another top school in the nation is the University of California Berkeley. The rate of enrollment for the 2007-2008 school year was 34,940 students. Berkeley offers many types of financial aid including a scholarship that they award to 2,500 students per year based on their financial need and academic excellence. The rate of enrollment at Berkeley is significantly larger than at Harvard University, which may prove that Berkeley is offering more aid to their students.
Rice University in Houston, Texas is another school of many offering a great financial aid program. Their program is similar to Harvard's initiative plan where they offer to pay 30% of the incoming freshman class for merit-based aid. The school also offers 100% need based eligibility without loans for families with an income of $ 80,000 or less. However, they seem to be following the same trend as Harvard with enrollment. Only 5,243 students enrolled at Rice University for the 2007-2008 school year. They offer plenty of aid to their students but there are not many in enrollment making it easier for them to do so.
One school that is striving to help the students they admit the most is Columbia University in New York. The University is helping students by launching a fundraising campaign to raise $ 425 million to use for financial aid6. The enrollment at Columbia was $ 22,655 students for the 2007-2008 school year1.
The US Government Accountability Office (gao.gov) released a report in November 2007 entitled "Higher Education: Tuition Continues to rise, but Patterns Vary by Institution Type, Enrollment, and Education Expenditures".
This report explains that overall enrollment in US higher education is on the rise despite increased college costs.
However, choice of college still appears to be influenced by tuition affordability and financial aide programs. Last, minority enrollments are on the rise and suggest more economically challenged Americans have been taking advantage of the newer financial aid programs.
Along with the many schools offering financial aid to students like you there are also plenty of grants, loans, and scholarships from outside sources. It is in your best interest as a student to use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This free online form will allow schools to determine your financial need. If you want to attend a great school, but finance seems to be the only thing holding you back, then take a deep breath and relax knowing plenty of schools offer help. There are so many of the nation's top schools ready and willing to help you to achieve the best education possible.