As tuition jumps, value of aid falls

Katie Paysinger
News editor

As the economy forces business closures across the country and more people lose their jobs, many
students are pressured to transfer from Linfield to lessen the high cost of tuition they can no longer afford.
“We have seen a slightly higher number of job losses than we normally experience,” Dan Preston, dean of enrollment services, said, referring to Linfield students’ parents.
When a student ultimately decides to transfer, the Registrar’s Office and Registrar Eileen Bourassa make sure the student is making the proper choice.
“There are students leaving for financial reasons, and, if that is the case, I direct them to financial aid to see if there is any additional aid Linfield could give them so they can continue here,” Bourassa said. “With the increase of tuition at state schools, I’m not sure if they’re really going to come out better.”
Sophomore Brett Archer is transferring to the University of Oregon next fall.
“I am transferring because of financial reasons,” Archer said. “Mainly because my dad lost his job last October. It wasn’t fair for [my parents] to pay for [my tuition] with the little money they have.”
Archer said he will have to give up football, and he is going to miss openly interacting with Linfield professors. He said the 200-student-sized lectures at U of O are not appealing, but it is what he has to do.
“I have to put on hold a lot of things I wanted to do to help my family,” he said.
Archer receives an academic scholarship. He said he thinks the dollar amount of the scholarships should continue to increase as tuition increases; otherwise, they lose value after the first year.
“It has gotten unrealistic for a student to pay their own tuition without working jobs and having multiple scholarships, grants and loans,” he said.
Preston understands Archer’s opinion, but to make the guarantee that students will receive their academic scholarships each year with the only requirement being to remain an eligible student, scholarships can only be guaranteed at the entering amount.
“In my experience, if cost and financial aid are the only reasons a student would leave, we’re not perfect in solving these problems, but we do give students and families some options they can consider,” he said.
Preston said that when students are filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, they are filling it out with income information from 2008.
“If there are changes, there are opportunities to have financial aid collect more information,” Preston said. “But we don’t know about it unless the student lets us know.”
The Office of Financial Aid is taking new measures to ensure students are receiving the most financial aid they can. For instance, it identifies families that may not be completely aware of their aid options, Preston said. Families who pay monthly may not be aware that they can apply for loans so they don’t have to use their current income to pay tuition.
“When things get better [financially] or they have exhausted what they can do at community college, we welcome them back to Linfield,” Bourassa said. “I’m willing to work with them to make progress toward whatever their goal may be.”
This progress includes Bourassa helping students register at the institutions they are transferring to, so, if they decide to return to Linfield, they will have taken classes that transfer credits.
Bourassa said the process to re-apply to Linfield after transferring is simple. She suggested contacting the Office of Admission or herself for more information about the one-page re-entry form.

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