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Cost of Attendance Report for 1997

Are Our Colleges Able to Meet Need?

Since most financial aid is administered at the campus level, the Department of Higher Education currently does not have a statewide reporting system or corresponding data base which would enable it to assess how well colleges and universities are meeting student financial need. Unofficial and unaudited information provided by our public four-year institutions shows that a growing proportion of student financial need is being met by loans, as opposed to grants or waivers, even for the neediest students. At the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut State University, most of the neediest freshmen (those eligible for federal Pell grants) are given over $2,600 in Stafford loans in addition to Perkins Loans, grants and employment. This loan amount increases to $3,500 in their sophomore year and $5,500 in each of their last two years. Assuming these students continue for four years, they each will leave the University with over $17,100 in outstanding debt even before they enter the workplace. This is a significant obligation to ask students to take on, particularly for those at-risk. It also may be a significant factor in a studentís decision to attend part-time and work, instead of attending full-time.

Equally important is the fact that many colleges and universities cannot meet the total demand for financial aid, even with subsidized loans and other institutional resources. The University of Connecticut reports that for this year, it had an unmet financial need figure of almost $17.3 million. This is after awarding a total of $75.2 million in federal, state and institutional aid and $31.8 million from miscellaneous outside sources.9 At the Connecticut State University, about $18 million of financial need went unmet last year. Students and/or their families are left to come up with the rest through whatever means are available to them. This may include other borrowing venues such as home equity loans or unsubsidized loans.

Table of Contents

Trends and Challenges
Who Are Our Students?
How Much Does It Cost to Go to College in Connecticut?
Can Connecticut Students Afford to Pay?
How Does Financial Aid Work?
Are Our Colleges Able to Meet Need?
Are Connecticut Public Colleges Affordable?  
Conclusions and Recommendations

End Notes  
Attachment A

Attachment B
Attachment C
Attachment D
Attachment E 

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