Bloomberg.com, which describes itself as “a premier site for business and financial market news,” published a story April 24 with the ominous title “Colleges Confuse Students with Letters Offering Aid That’s Debt.” And as soon as you read the first paragraph, you realize it’s partially about Drexel.
Zach Romano, a high school senior, is mentioned in the article because of the financial aid package he received from the University. At first glance, the paper with numbers seemed like a dream come true when it stated that his projected out-of-pocket cost was $13,442 while the gross cost is $63,000. Except the “offered financial aid” was mostly comprised of loans to be taken out by the family — roughly $42,000 in loans. And with that, the dream was shattered.
To be fair, Drexel is not the only school that sends out misleading financial aid letters to prospective students. It’s not even the only school mentioned in the article. But we think that Drexel, like other colleges and universities, should rethink the way financial aid packets define ‘financial aid,” especially for students in these troubled economic times. Financial aid is a lifeline for many students across the country and is a deciding factor on what school they eventually choose to attend. They should know what they’re getting into financially.
The high school seniors worked so hard to get to the spot where they would have a financial aid package from a school — they got all of their information right, they wrote countless essays, and they defined themselves in any amount of words. They put everything out in the open for the college admissions offices to see, and it’s only fair that the schools respond by being equally clear and upfront.
The concept of college tuition increasing is not new. Neither is the idea of students having to pay a great amount of debt and take out massive loans. And the economy has been bad for years. With so many factors working against young adults getting their education at universities, it’d be nice for the universities themselves to try to help students understand the financial aid they’ve been offered.