Thinking about and applying for a college placement can often be one of the most stressful times in a student's life. That's why it is important for a student and their family to understand the admissions process, especially in regards to applying for financial aid. Each college has their own way of managing their budgets and administrative decisions.
A decision about student applications and whether or not their financial status is taken into consideration varies depending on the college. Yet, the majority will adhere to the same review guidelines, and committee members who are tasked with reviewing applications are not aware of the details of any students requesting financial aid.
Some institutions may be influenced by a student's financial needs, and take into consideration the level of talent and academic credentials, with the level of finance needed. Those students requesting a high level of financial assistance, with mediocre credentials, will almost certainly find themselves at the bottom of the administration's pile. A student's ability to pay full tuition and his or her high level of academic flare are all factored in to the decision; he or she is often given a greater advantage.
Some institutions, which consider applications on a need-blind basis, ignore the ability of an application to pay their tuition and are all processed from a purely academic and talent based point of view. The financial situation of a student is generally worked out after they have been accepted.
If a student is worried about how requesting financial aid affects college admissions decisions, they may be able to gain the edge over other applicants by becoming categorized as a highly desirable or deserving student. In general, those in this category would show stronger academic credentials, exceeding average test scores or possessing some special talents, and in the past have shown that they are a hard working student.
Paying top dollar in recent years has proved a sure way of gaining access to some of the top state universities; even the number of foreign applicants, flashing their cash, has tripled. This is good news for those from wealthier families, but not so good for those in lower income homes. Some of the top, more selective colleges in the country are eliminating loans from financial aid packages, offered to students, and have adopted a policy of only offering loans to those that are in a certain family income bracket.
Institution's admissions administrators are now having to compare potential students, who are more or less identical applicants, and those that need financial assistance are being moved aside for the students who can pay for their own tuition.