The Cost of Aid: Why College Upperclassmen Lose Financial Aid

April 13, 2016

college financial aid trends
For a lot of families, one of the most important considerations when navigating the college application process is financial aid. Scholarships, loans, grants - all viable options to help pay for an otherwise expensive experience.

Institutional grants are given out every year, and depending on the college or university, are available throughout all four years of college. However, there are significant distinctions between public and private universities, as well as the amount of money given to freshmen and seniors. So why, exactly, are upperclassmen losing financial aid?

In 2012, the average student grant aid given to freshmen at private schools was just under $16,000. Public schools, on the other hand, were starkly different - fewer students received grants (about 32% vs. 79% at private schools), and those grants only averaged about $4,600 per year. But the private school grants lost an average of $1,000 per year, leaving college seniors with far less money than they initially planned.

Applying to college next year?
View the application files, essays and advice of accepted students.
LEARN MORE

Oftentimes, these scholarships and grants come with academic requirements, usually forcing students to maintain above a certain GPA to keep their scholarships active. Dr. Brad Hershbein, an economist focusing on education, says that there are concerns that colleges and universities are offering larger financial aid packages then cutting them as students advance.

As college tuition and fees rise, it also greatly impacts the effect that scholarships have on cost. Most schools don’t increase scholarship or grant aid value as tuition rises, so the value of the grants decreases.

With a seemingly endless list of technicalities, it’s easy to miss renewal deadlines or forget paperwork. Paul Jean, VP of Marketing and Communications at Bridgewater State University, says that, more often than not, freshmen are more mindful of deadlines, and upperclassmen often neglect them. Ultimately, the transparency of financial aid comes into question. And whether families take into consideration the potential for change, costs will continue to be effected.

If you’re just starting the application process, search through essays, stats, and advice answers from thousands of students that got in. Chat with a mentor to get personalized help with your college essays and applications. 

Sources: EAB, New York Times

About The Author

AdmitSee Staff
AdmitSee Staff

​We remember our frustration with applying to college and the lack of information surrounding it. So we created AdmitSee to bring much-needed transparency to the application process! Read more about the team here.




Browse Successful Application Files

Isandres2
Williams ‘19


Accepted to Utah, Colorado, Colby, Williams, SMCVT

Hi! I go by Izi and I am a current student at Williams College Class of 2019. I hope to be a biology or sociology major with a neuroscience concentration. I am on the NCAA Division 1 alpine ski team here.
pam3171
Harvard ‘19


Accepted to Harvard, SD State, USD, Yale, Drake

Harvard '19. President's Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking. Global Health and Health Policy Concentrator. Legal and political background.
Bhenrique
UC Berkeley ‘19


Accepted to UC Berkeley, Penn State, Colorado, UCLA, NYU

Passionate about Education. Lover of all things science!
LorLop
CMU ‘21


Accepted to CMU, RPI, Stevens, New Jersey IT

Carnegie Mellon University Computer Engineering Student

New Posts

Winners of the AdmitSee 2020 College Scholarship
Winners of the AdmitSee 2020 College Scholarship
September 30, 2020

We are so excited to announce that for this year’s scholarship, we selected five scholarship winners to maximize the impact of our $5,000 college scholarship prize money....

Education, Access and Systemic Racism
Education, Access and Systemic Racism
June 07, 2020

The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among so many others in the Black community who have been robbed of their lives over the years by the brutal and fatal use...

How to Get Off the College Waitlist (5 Go-To Strategies)
How to Get Off the College Waitlist (5 Go-To Strategies)
March 31, 2020

Getting waitlisted is undoubtedly disappointing, but it's not the end of the road. Here are 4 ways aside from a letter of continued interest to turn your "Waitlisted" status into an "Acceptance."1) Updates to your applicationIf...

Load More Posts