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Articles / Applying to College / Finaid "Credit" for Church and Charity Gifts?

March 31, 2008

Finaid "Credit" for Church and Charity Gifts?

Question: We have always tithed to our church, and we give money to many charities, so we are thought to have more money available than we actually have. This is NEVER taken into consideration in any financial aid info I have seen. Is there any way to have our substantial donations considered when seeking aid?

Unfortunately, colleges will not officially consider your generosity when calculating financial aid awards. However, it might be helpful nonetheless to compose an explanatory letter to send to finaid offices at your child's college (for current students ... or to all the schools on the list, for prospective ones). Tell the officials exactly what you've told us here. In doing so, follow the Number-One Aid-Appeal Rule, which is to be sure to sound appreciative for any crumb they may deign to toss your way and never entitled to more. At many institutions, the financial aid officials do have some wiggle-room when it comes to determining your bottom line, so it won't hurt to try this approach.


Presumably, if your church has scholarship $ available, you have already explored this avenue.

Good luck!

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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