Hendrix sends out other letters to merit scholarship recipients telling them of renewal terms. And this letter was accompanied by a form that allows students to reduce or refuse offered loans. But many educational and consumer experts think students should not have to wade through lots of papers and websites to get the information they need to make wise decisions. They say colleges can and should provide one complete, jargon-free and easy-to-compare page with realistic cost estimates. To read about why you deserve better, how we evaluated these letters, and how you can evaluate your own letters, click here. Of course, we hope anyone making important life decisions will check with their own trusted financial and personal advisors, not just websites - not even this one!
From Hendrix's Director of Financial Aid, Mark Bandre':
Cost of Attendance: Students canget additional details about costs and aid on Hendrix's website. While Hendrix's letter does provide tuition, fees, room and board prices, and does alert students to extra costs such as books, laundry and other extras, it does not provide a total Cost Of Attendance (COA). Bandre' says he's "trying not to confuse the customers, and when you put non-direct cost (such as books), that does cause a lot of confusion." When Financialaidletter.com checked in early April, Hendrix's website offered detailed prices of tuition, fees, room and board, but failed to give a total COA. Federal law requires colleges to provide students with COA estimates. Bandre' says Hendrix meets the law by providing the information to any student who asks. "We will happily share cost of attendance information with anyone at any time." Hendrix publishes last year's COA in its catalog, which is available on the web and in paper.
Scholarship renewal: Bandre' says that while students have to maintain a C+ to B average to keep most Hendrix academic scholarships, "not all that many" students lose them due to poor grades. "If people bother to write a decent letter" of appeal, the scholarships are usually renewed, he says.
- Although there's no Cost of Attendance, this letter does provide enough information to allow a student to make a reasonable estimate of total costs.
- There's helpful information about various payment options, such as a monthly plan, and PLUS loan payments, and that "gives the family a next step in how to pay the bills," notes Mark Kantrowitz, founder of Finaid.org.
- The federal government calculated that this family could afford to contribute about $26,000 a year to this student?s educational costs. One year at this school will cost this family about $25,000. To put it another way, the student needed $9,000 in aid, but the school provided $10,000. It more than met the student's need.
- When estimating how much it will cost to get a degree from this school, consider that just 55 percent of Hendrix students graduate in 4 years.