Getting Around the Cost of College

Presidents at 30 of America’s top colleges say they’re missing out on some of the best and brightest students; those from low-income families, according to a recent article by CNN.

Jennifer Sassman, director of financial aid on campus, said Wartburg follows an award matrix for every student. This matrix takes into consideration students’ merit and need level.

“We’ll award them with a certain percent of their need from us institutionally plus there are federal and state grants,” Sassman said.

She said Wartburg awards students from low-income families differently than students from a higher-level income backgrounds.

Lowering the cost of college with financial aid and student awareness of jobs and other sources of income are ways to increase enrollment of low-income students according to the article by CNN.

Sassman said students should go over their financial plan prior to college. She said Wartburg has a lot of help available for those in need of assistance.

“We would invite them to have these conversations with us, we want to be a resource, we want to help,” Sassman said.

Farai Gandiya, a third-year computer science major, said with the scholarships he received, there will not be a lot of debt to pay off after college. He said Wartburg made the financial process go smoothly before college.

“Wartburg was very efficient, the application was quick and they responded to any questions I had immediately,” Gandiya said.

Jasmine Moore, a second-year English major, said despite all the scholarships she received, there is still a lot to pay off.

She said there is a big gap between the scholarships she received and the amount she owes to Wartburg. With the tuition increases the past few years, Moore said keeping up with payments is tough.

“There are some students with more money than others. I had a friend who was here for a semester but she had to leave because she could not make it here,” Moore said. “Wartburg is not cheap.”

Sassman said Wartburg, like many colleges, have students from a variety of financial backgrounds. She said students should take advantage of paying off debt early in their college careers.

“Students should ask themselves ‘should I start working right away to avoid taking out a lot of loans,’” Sassman said.

Sassman said finding a job would be beneficial for students in the long run.

“Plan ahead, take time to look for scholarships, maybe a job somewhere around the area would help students as well,” Gandiya said. “Anyway to save money is a good feeling.”

Sassman said a job is not only beneficial by getting a paycheck, but it also prepares students for the future.

Students like Farai Gandiya have on-campus jobs to help them with the cost of college.

“It’s nothing new, there’s loans and bills for students to pay off now and those will exist once they graduate as well,” Sassman said. “It’s all part of the life we live.”

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