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  • Writer's pictureClint Holden, MA

Is Handing Out Financial Aid Hurting Your Families and Your School?








by Clint Holden, M.A.

Your tuition aid program was created in hopes of helping families who don’t make enough money to still be able to afford a Christian education at your school. However, could your aid program be hurting families more than helping them?


The Painful Truth About Financial Aid For some families, financial aid seems to just end up enabling them to perpetuate a financially unhealthy lifestyle and rely on your generosity to enable their children to attend your school. For them, it seems that tuition assistance is a right. Even if it’s not enabling, it may be compensating – compensating for unwise financial decision-making by families who just don’t know how to better manage their money. Several studies have shown that just a little financial education can make a big difference in the lives of families, such as:


1. Lower credit card balances.

2. Fewer delinquencies.

3. Budgeting.

4. Saving.

5. Less financial stress.

6. Fewer marital conflicts.

Research also indicates that individuals with high financial stress have more disease and illness than those without financial stress (see the abstract, The Relationship Between Financial Worries and Psychological Distress Among U.S. Adults from the National Library of Science: National Center for Biotechnology Information, at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).


For school families, this could mean – less money available for tuition. For employees, it could mean more sick days or less productivity.


If you’ve been involved in making financial award determinations at your school, you know that financial stress is not a low-income curse. In fact, those with the highest financial stress are middle-income families. Through our financial aid assessment program, BeneFAQ, we often see families with high 6-figure incomes applying for financial aid because of excessive debt and mismanagement of funds. But families of every economic level experience this stress.


The less educated families are about biblical financial management principles the greater the stress, regardless of income. There are many good articles you can share with your families at www.crown.org, including a few we have placed on our website with permission, such as Finding Financial Freedom, and Budget Busters. You can also share the very simple family budgeting video with your school parents that is posted at the end of this article.


Incorporating a mandatory financial literacy program into your tuition aid program will yield tremendous dividends. 87% of our BeneFAQ applicants identified personal money management practices needing improvement. Even families that are financially savvy attest to the benefit of being reminded of sound financial management principles. Your Responsibility as a School Are you making the best use of your tuition aid budget and helping teach your families their obligation before God to be good stewards of the resources He has entrusted to them? Are you telling your school families what it takes for you to operate your school in a fiscally prudent manner? It is important to establish a framework for tuition aid, publish it, talk to your families about it, and then stick to your guns and observe it!


Don’t become a victim school that indiscriminately hands out tuition aid to every family that applies. That is not smart and certainly is not good stewardship. Be wise and use the recommendations from a non-biased third-party service, such as BeneFAQ, to vet all of your tuition aid applicants in the same manner. This will help keep you legally compliant and remove the uncertainty often associated with offering tuition aid awards.


Authored by Clint Holden © SchoolRIGHT, LLC., unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved.


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