Philosophy and Purpose of Aid
ACM’s philosophy of student aid is to provide access and choice to students, who without such assistance would not be able to attend an institution of higher learning. ACM’s Vision and Mission statements support this philosophy.
In addition, ACM has as one of its goals to provide financial access to a college education by assuring reasonable tuition rates, comprehensive financial assistance, and college scholarship opportunities.
The Student Financial Aid Office was established in August 1961 to coordinate all student financial assistance offered to students of the college. The main purpose of Allegany College of Maryland’s student financial aid program is to make it possible for the greatest number of students, regardless of their financial circumstances, to continue their education. Currently, more than seventy percent of all enrolled students at Allegany College of Maryland receive some form of financial aid.
This office adheres to the following three principles concerning student financial assistance.
First, the student’s parents, if the student is dependent, are expected to contribute to the student’s college education according to their means, taking into account their income, assets, number of dependents, and other relevant information. Independent students and dependent students themselves are expected to contribute from their own assets and earnings, including borrowing against future earnings. The establishment of the Federal Title IV Student Aid Programs is for the express purpose of providing financial assistance to low income students and families who would not otherwise be able to pursue a college education. It is important for students and families to remember that although these programs are available to assist them, they were not developed or intended to bear the full financial responsibility of funding post-secondary education. Financing of post-secondary education is the responsibility of the students and the families. The Federal Student Aid Programs are designed to assist them in meeting these costs.
Second, financial aid is offered only after determining that the resources of the family are insufficient to meet the student’s educational expenses. The amount of aid offered will not exceed the amount needed to meet the difference between the student’s total educational expenses and the family’s total resources.
Last, Allegany College of Maryland reviews its financial assistance awards annually and adjusts them to reflect changes in the financial needs of students and the expenses of attending Allegany College of Maryland. This philosophy supports the following goal adopted by the Allegany College of Maryland Board of Trustees: “To provide financial access to a college education by assuring reasonable tuition rates, comprehensive financial assistance, and college scholarship opportunities.”
Allegany College of Maryland’s Student Financial Aid Office utilizes the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) to analyze a student’s financial need. A federally mandated need analysis formula is designed to serve as a national standard objective measurement of the ability to pay for higher education. ACM, along with other colleges and universities throughout this nation, is committed to insuring that this formula provides a national yardstick by equitably analyzing what a given family is able to pay and to ensure that the formula does not become a rationing devise contingent upon budget allocations and other external factors.
A major assumption of the formula is that parents of dependent students have an obligation to finance the education of their children to the extent that they are able. In analyzing the family’s financial strength, both the family’s income and assets, if required in the formula, are considered to produce the most complete index of the family’s ability to pay for post-secondary education at Allegany College of Maryland.
Another major assumption of the federal formula is that the size of the family and extraordinary expenses that the family may have must be considered in order to measure the true ability of the family to contribute to educational costs. So, too, will factors such as age of the parents, provision for retirement, and the number of working parents – which alter a family’s financial strength, be considered.
The need analysis formula assumes that the student also has an obligation to share the responsibility for meeting the cost of higher education. This obligation is reflected through a systematic expectation of contributions from a student’s own savings, employment income, and other resources or benefits.
A general assumption in the formula is that the student and the family must be accepted in their present financial condition. Any system that analyzes financial need must first deal with objective facts of the family financial circumstances. It cannot and does not make distinctions between the frugal and the spend-thrifty.
An objective system of financial need analysis must treat all families equitably, recognizing the peculiarities of each family’s situation to the greatest extent possible, at the same time fully recognizing that many expenses and expenditures are not a matter of family choice. On the other hand, a need analysis formula should not make adjustments in its estimate of financial strength because of the difference in family situations that result from family choice.
Financial assistance at Allegany College of Maryland is accomplished by:
- determining the financial need;
- meeting this need through a combination of grants, scholarships, and/or employment; and
- suggesting one of our many loan programs.
A student is expected to make a reasonable contribution to his/her educational expenses by means of summer employment and past savings, as well as incurring loans and obtaining on/off campus employment.