The Future of Financial Aid

As the community holds its breath in anticipation, many students have begun examining their options and preparing for the worst. For some students, this means transferring to a more financially stable school, but for others, it means a mad rush to the finish in hopes of graduating from Antioch College before it’s too late.
Regardless of the fate of the college, all students not graduating at the end of this term will have to start the financial aid process all over again. If the bid of the Antioch College Continuation Corporation is successful, and the college achieves independence, the college will need to reapply for government sponsored financial aid for students. Antioch University is the owner of the coveted school number that is written on the FAFSA and that all students from both the college and the satellite campuses use to apply for financial aid. Were independence attained, a new number would need to be acquired for only the college.
According to Robin Heise, director of financial aid at the college, there are a number of steps that must be completed before students can expect stability in financial aid at the college post-independence.
“First,” said Heise, “we need to be approved by the OBR (Ohio Board of Regents) as an institution of higher education.” At this point, the college would become eligible for Ohio grants, including the Ohio Choice Grant, and the Ohio College Opportunity Grant. These grants are available only for students from the state of Ohio.
Next, the college must be accredited by the North Central Association. At this point, said Heise, the college must “complete a forty-page application to the Department of Education.” This process takes three to four months before approval of funding may be granted. “That’s when the Department of Education gives institutional allocations for federal work study,” said Heise.
Heise makes a point of warning students that “awards next year may be very different.” Due to the new application, “students should not be surprised to see decreases in their awards.” The initial allocation of federal aid is based on enrolment and at the moment, the college is not supporting many students. The college’s current numbers are based on enrolment figures from the 1980s during which period, enrolment fluctuated from 492 to 860 students. Heise hopes the Department of Education will look beyond current enrolment. “They may have to project our enrolment in four years,” she said.
Until some sort of decision is finalized, there is still the possibility that the college will close. Contrary to campus rumor, financial aid will still be available to students who will attempt to graduate after this term. “Financial aid will be processed through one of the other institutions,” said Heise, referring to the other campuses of Antioch University. At this point, there is still no decision as to which campus this will be.
Whichever way the college turns, financial aid as Antioch College knows it is soon to end. The school’s federal number will soon be deactivated. From that point on, there is no place to go but to wait for some resolution.
This may not come until some point during fall term, however. “I’m working under the assumption that we won’t be able to start the paperwork until July 1st,” said Heise. This refers to the forty-page application that takes perhaps up to four months to process. If this is the case, financial aid for students may not be resolved until sometime in October of this year.