Why do Connecticut College financial aid award letters include so many student and parent loans?

One of the most embarrassing facts about Connecticut’s college financial aid system is the fact that parents and students are practically forced into even more debt under the guise of financial aid to pay for college. I meet with parents every day who are already in debt and can’t afford to take on an additional fifty thousand dollars. Why do Connecticut colleges have billions of dollars in cash, yet force parents and students into so much debt?

Most parents I meet have a small amount of savings and a minimal retirement account, but that alone doesn’t mean they should be automatically approved for grants and scholarships. The fact is that these parents are the ones with great deserving students and have worked very hard to get to the college level. Connecticut colleges are not being fair in penalizing students because their parents have home equity or a small retirement account.

What about parents who have more than one child? Even if the federal government lowers their expected financial contribution, families still have to figure out how to pay the remaining thousands of dollars. If the child has won aid and scholarships according to her academic merit, why not give her real financial aid?

In my opinion, every parent of a college-bound senior should only spend their time applying to colleges that have a history of truly helping families in the form of grants and scholarships. Why should I pay for the privilege of borrowing money when we all know that, with the exception of a handful of colleges, the rest of us have to prove ourselves after we graduate anyway? Don’t risk your retirement and your child’s financial future when you can take the time to research Connecticut colleges that will award financial aid to a service student.

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