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Making College Affordable
Sufficient research and financial planning can make even the most expensive universities affordable to most families, according to a recent Time magazine report that takes a refreshingly positive look at ways to finance a college education.

Although saving for a child's education is generally a must, the article says, families have several other options for financing college. For example, nearly 70 percent of all college students receive financial aid in the form of grants or loans, according to the report. And some high-priced institutions, such as Princeton University, have relaxed their financial aid guidelines to attract students from low- and middle-income families. Princeton's new policy "answers a question schools have heard middle-class students asking: 'What about us?'" Tim McDonough, director of public affairs of the American Council on Education, told Time.

Top-tier institutions have begun to offer merit-based aid in order to continue attracting the best students, regardless of their income, according to the report. The report also suggests that families look beyond the East and West coasts for high quality, low cost institutions.

The Time report includes specific information on federal grants and loans, tax credits, and savings plans. It also profiles unusual financial aid programs at various institutions and lists several websites and publications that offer financial aid information. (Note: The report evidently was distributed only to TimeUs Rfamily demographic,S and did not appear in the newsstand issues. An abbreviated version of the article appears in the Time/Princeton Review College Guide.)

(Source: Time, August 17, 1998.)

Canada's Research Libraries Suffering from Currency Decline
Canadian research libraries are suffering as a result of the Canadian dollarUs steep drop against the U.S. dollar during the past several months. Since January 1997, the Canadian dollar has declined in value from 74.8 cents to 66.1 cents (U.S.). As a result, Canada's 27 major research libraries are struggling under a $6 million (Canadian) erosion of purchasing power, and have cut approximately 88,000 scholarly periodicals from their collections.

(Source: Canadian Press, August 1, 1998.)

Study: Family Income Critical in Determining College Attendance
Top high school students from low-income families are less likely to attend college than students of all abilities from high-income families, according to a private study commissioned by the Department of Education.

The study tracked 13,000 eighth-grade students in 1988. By 1994, about 44 percent of those in the bottom income group were in college, while 69 percent of the middle income group and 86 percent of the top income group were in college. Of those who scored well on a standardized test, 75 percent of low-income students went on to college, compared with 86 percent of middle-income students and 95 percent of high-income students.

The study found that of the low-income students who scored well on a standardized test but did not plan to attend college, 57 percent said the reason was because they could not afford it.

(Sources: Academe Today, August 10, 1998; The Washington Post, August 11, 1998.)

Reprinted with permission from CASE Flash Points.