Ten to 12 more families with Bradley students have asked for an increase in financial aid this year, but the director of financial assistance said the university is able to accommodate them.
“Back in the fall when it became clear that this economic downturn was going to be pretty pervasive, we did an analysis,” Dave Pardieck said. “We shared that with the senior leadership. Their response was to do what you need, so students don’t have to leave here for financial reasons.”
Pardieck said Bradley will not be retracting any need-based grants or scholarships from students for next year. Instead, the university has allocated more money to help students during this difficult time.
“It is very severe and it is affecting a lot of families, but I think right now we have it pretty contained,” he said.
However, Sara Hartman, a junior psychology, criminal justice and sociology major, said she has run into problems with financial aid, particularly FAFSA.
“My parents keep filling out the FAFSA, and they keep telling me that they make too much money to get financial aid, but I’m still cut off from my parents,” she said.
Hartman said she has been limited because of the state of the economy.
“I was going to go study abroad, but my parents advised me not to because of the economy and not to get loans for that and to get loans for school,” she said.
The number of families with Bradley students with “special considerations” has increased slightly, Pardieck said.
A family can receive a special consideration if they experience a “change in income, either loss of income or reduction in income due to the fact that people are being cut back instead of working 40 hours a week they’re working 30 hours a week,” he said.
Despite families with “special considerations,” Pardieck said the number of students and families filling out FAFSA forms is the same this year.
“It’s important to keep in mind about 90 percent of Bradley students receive some type of financial assistance,” he said. “Students who have completed FAFSA in the past will continue to complete it.”
He said he’s seen more prospective students filling out FAFSA this year than last, but the reason for that is because Bradley has admitted more students.
Although Bradley will accommodate students who need help with tuition, the university will not increase student scholarships for next year.
“The university’s policy has always been whatever scholarship tier you enter with you stay with,” he said.
Earlier this school year, University President Joanne Glasser sent a letter to families with Bradley students and posted a statement on the Bradley Web site about college affordability.
“We understand that many families are concerned that their college savings and investments will not stretch as far as planned,” the statement reads. “Let me assure you that we are making every effort to ensure that the cost of the Bradley Experience does not slip out of your financial reach.”