|Unique Partnership with N.C. State Agency Spreads the Message that College Is Affordable
October 09, 2007
Contact: Bill Giduz
North Carolina’s state agency that helps students in their college quest is teaming with Davidson College to present a public service series of financial aid seminars for high school guidance counselors.
Together, the two institutions hope to get the message to college prospects that their educational dreams are accessible and affordable, whether they’re hoping to attend a $40,000-a-year private college, or $2,000-a-year community college.
“This is a unique collaboration between a private college and state agency,” said Steve Brooks, executive director of the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA). His agency, a partner in College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC), helps students, their families, and high school guidance counselors with planning, applying and paying for college - everything from the career exploration and the college search process to admission matters, to higher education financing. It also administers the state’s 529 national college savings program, and will distribute more than $250 million of need-based grants this year for North Carolina students’ college education.
Entitled “Financial Aid 101 – A College Education is Affordable,” the joint seminars are being held in nine cities throughout the state in October and November. Each presentation will consist of two parts. Davidson representatives will speak about “Everything You Wanted to Know About Financial Aid But Were Afraid to Ask.” The NCSEAA will then cover “North Carolina Outreach and Financial Aid.”
The program will cover: need-based financial aid (definitions, packaging, strategies); student financial assistance programs and the CFNC information service administered by the state of North Carolina; federal and institutional methodologies; FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE; supplemental loan programs, payment plans; and merit-based scholarships.
The initiative is an extension of existing efforts by both the NCSEAA and Davidson to educate students, families, and counselors about help available for financing higher education.
NCEAA does six financial aid workshops for counselors around the state every fall in conjunction with The College Board, and conducts other training programs to help high school counselors and college financial aid administrators be effective advocates for college-bound students.
Davidson and Brooks staged one counselor training session last year on campus for Charlotte-area guidance counselors, and Davidson asked Brooks to participate in the expanded effort this year.
Brooks said the collaboration gives counselors a much broader look at financial aid matters. “I’ve heard it said that for people trying to understand it, financial aid is a half-inch deep, but a mile wide,” he said. “In our typical workshop, we talk about state and federal financial aid programs, but Davidson is able to supplement that with information about what happens on campus when an application arrives, how it’s processed through the financial aid office, and the right questions to ask in speaking with financial aid officers. It makes for a more in depth look at the process.”
Davidson’s John Leach, assistant dean of admission and financial aid, said the NCSEAA helps Davidson promote its own message of affordability. “They’re the honest broker,” he said. “It’s clear that the respect they have among counselors and their neutrality reassures counselors of our good intentions.”
Davidson admission officials fear that some well-qualified students eliminate the college from consideration solely because of its $41,000 comprehensive fee. They point out, however, that the college’s promise to meet 100 percent of financial need, a generous merit scholarship program, and its recent initiative to replace student loans with grants, means that a student might end up paying less to attend Davidson than to attend a state-supported institution.
All sessions will start with registration at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 12 noon. Locations and dates are:
Charlotte – November 2, Davidson College, Alvarez College Union 900 Room
Durham/Chapel Hill – October 11, Cedar Ridge High School, Hillsborough
Fayetteville – November 15, Fayetteville Tech, Center for Business and Industry, room 129
Greensboro – November 6, Greensboro Cultural Center
Greenville – October 16, ECU, Willis Building
Raleigh – October 12, First Citizens Bank corporate headquarters, Six Forks Road
Wilmington – November 16, New Hanover County Schools Technology Center
Winston Salem – November 9, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools District Office
Counselors who attend will be awarded certificates of completion with verification of three contact hours of professional development.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country.
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Posted By: Bill Giduz