Financial aid troubles students, draws complaints

By on March 29, 2006

Princeton Review, a guide to America’s prestigious colleges, ranks Quinnipiac University under the category “Best In The Northeast.”

The review’s Web site also categorizes Quinnipiac as having many students “dissatisfied with financial aid.”

“I left Quinnipiac because I don’t want to be in thousands of dollars of debt after I graduate,” said Mike Shick, a former communications major who departed after his freshman year.

Although Shick was awarded some financial aid, a Quinnipiac education was not fiscally feasible.

Ryan Gilmore, a sophomore business major, is another student who feels the school could have provided him with more support financially.

“I should get more [financial aid],” Gilmore said. “It’s not a lot considering the amount of money that we have to pay to go here.”

Financial aid, along with the increase in tuition, has sparked some controversy around the campus in the past. Last spring, 2005 graduate Matt Lefebvre lambasted the school for its high tuition in The Chronicle. In this same issue, there was a feature story on QU soccer player Aldin Beslagic who, at the time, was not given the financial aid he needed to return to school.

The student dissatisfaction with financial services has gotten so bad that there is even a student group created on titled “Quinnipiac took all of my money and President Lahey makes half a million a year.”

Tuition for the 2006-2007 academic year was just increased to $26,280. Some students receive financial aid, but others are unhappy with what they are given.

“I’m definitely not satisfied with the financial aid I’ve been awarded,” said Tim Baker, sophomore communications major. “With an SAT score of 1420 and a cumulative GPA of 3.9 last semester, I think I should receive more money.”

Dominic Yoia, the senior director of Financial Aid at Quinnipiac does not think that students realize the amount of financial aid the university is providing.

“Like most schools, we don’t have enough money to award a student 100% of their financial need because there aren’t enough funds to go around,” said Yoia during an interview back in December.

He said that among undergraduate, graduate and law school programs, the University awarded about $101 million in total financial aid last year.

Yoia explained that three-fourths of the undergraduate population is currently receiving some form of financial aid, whether it’s through grants, loans, scholarships or work study. Last year, $32 million of the financial aid money was from Quinnipiac.

In applying for financial aid, a student must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

The FAFSA form will indicate what the student qualifies for.

When asked about the aforementioned Princeton Review ranking, Yoia didn’t flinch.

“Princeton Review is one of probably 100 different organizations that do surveys and review financial aid, and we’re certainly aware of some of that commentary,” Yoia said. “As far as being dissatisfied with financial aid, quite often that’s the case-no matter what we do for a student in terms of the package, everything short of meeting 100% of the student’s need is probably going to result in some dissatisfaction.”

Yoia went on to talk about the detailed process.

“When we get a student’s application in January, February, or March, it’s the first time we’re looking at what they might actually need, although they might have been admitted in November or December or January,” he said.

“So, we are need-blind in the admissions office, which causes us to not be able to meet 100% of every incoming student’s needs. We try to meet as much of a student’s need as we can, while realizing that there are limited funds.”


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