Student Aid. To us, those words should have only one definition. Grants and Scholarship. Unfortunately, colleges and universities feel they have the right to use that word pretty liberally. It allows them to hide how available free money actually is.
Take for example New York University. It is one of the biggest abusers of this word. They advertise that 55% of their students receive Financial Aid. Doesn’t sound like a bad number, but if you look deeper it includes a substantial portion of loans and work/study aid, instead of grant money. NYU states that they give out $258 million a year, but as we investigated further we found that $19 million is made up of Federal Pell Grants. Should Federal Pell Grants really count as NYU aid? We don’t believe so, because to qualify for that aid, by the nature of the grant, you qualify for it no matter what school you go to. It gets worse because another $71 million of that is federal aid, which again, the percentage of the loan that aid likely covers is likely the same no matter what school you choose.
Now we have $90 million of the $258 million they claim to give away almost debunked! From what we can tell there is another $10-$15 million in other student loans that students qualify for (private or state led). Now we are up to over $100 million dollars that seems, well, kind of phony. That’s nearly 40% of their claim = a loan. That’s pretty rough.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know how to spot these deceptions before you send off your application? Yeah, we thought so too. Check out our College Savings Course.