Ellen Frishberg, director of Student Financial Services at the Johns Hopkins University, answers some frequently-asked questions about the recession's impact on students' financial aid packages:
How has the stock market's slide affected the families of college freshmen who are just a month away starting their first semester?
"Assets that are invested in retirement plans do not play a role in the need determination formula, so those assets are not considered," Frishberg says. "Income that is derived from other assets that are invested had already declined somewhat when financial aid decisions for this coming year were made, so we took losses of interest and dividend income into account when making awards for the 2002-2003 academic year, basing it on 2001 income tax returns; 2002 declines will be reflected on next year's awarding cycle."
Has Johns Hopkins experienced a jump in requests for readjustment of financial aid packages because of the market drop? Have families who have not requested financial aid in the past suddenly asked for financial assistance?
"We have not seen an unusual amount of requests," Frishberg says. "The great interest rates on student loans may be helping to mitigate the concern."
What is the procedure to request a change due to these circumstances?
"We ask families to file a one-page application to report changes and estimate the anticipated 2002 income," Frishberg says. "In some cases, such as death or illness, we make immediate adjustments. In some cases, such as job loss, we defer action until the calendar year closes. The procedures are on our Web site [www.jhu.edu/~finaid/] and in our printed brochure. Previous recessions have had similar upsurge in unemployment issues, but our generous alumni and donors enable us to have scholarship funds in reserve to assist in these type of emergency and crisis situations."
Frishberg is well-versed on the latest issues facing students and their families as they apply for financial aid, and she welcomes opportunities to work with the media. To arrange an interview with Ellen Frishberg, contact Amy Cowles at 410-516-7160.
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