college

7 lesser-known financial aid programs

Graduation guarantees
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Graduation guarantees

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that more than half of full-time bachelor's degree-seeking students graduate within six years. Staying even one additional semester can tack thousands in tuition and room and board costs onto your education.

Enter graduation guarantee programs. Available at a handful of U.S. schools, these programs require underclassmen to plan their college courses early, pass their classes and sign an agreement stating that they will remain on track. In exchange, the school agrees that if the student can't graduate in four years due to classes not being available, the institution will pick up the extra costs.

Susan Dileno, vice president of enrollment management for Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, says that not all students will qualify. "They have to be full-time and in good academic standing," she says. "Sometimes it's hard for (those in) majors like education to (graduate) in four years because they have to do a full semester of student teaching."

There's a catch. While graduation guarantee programs will pay for tuition and fees for classes you'll need, some won't pay for the extra housing costs.


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