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Johns Hopkins to offer more need-based aid in 2017-18

Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

As tuition rises, Johns Hopkins University will offer its largest aid package in the school’s history, increasing total student aid by 9 percent to $99 million.

The increase comes as part of what the university calls a commitment to meeting a student’s full financial need.

The money the school makes available for aid can be fluid, depending on the need of the student population, said Tom McDermott, the university’s director of financial aid.

“We do an assessment of every admitted student,” he said. “[We] determine what we feel a family can afford to pay.”

That number, the estimated family contribution, gets subtracted from the total cost of attending the university, including tuition, room and board, transportation costs and supplies.

With this year’s 3 percent tuition raise, to $52,170, and a student housing cost of $15,410 the total cost of attendance would be about $68,000.

About 5,400 undergraduate students are enrolled in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering classes at the university’s Homewood campus.

To apply for financial aid, families complete the federal FAFSA form and submit tax documents. They can also submit a letter or email explaining family circumstances, like a recent job loss or a family illness.

“The numbers don’t always tell the whole story,” McDermott said. “We encourage families to take the time to write us a letter or an email to accompany their materials to explain their family’s situation if they feel the numbers don’t actually show that.”

The resulting student aid can come in a variety of forms, he said, including grants, scholarships, loans and federal work study. Students can also bring in outside financial aid, but the total package cannot be greater than the school’s cost of attendance.

Funds from the school can come from fundraising and tuition revenues. Hopkins current fundraising initiative, Rising to the Challenge, has raised $508 million for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, the school said Tuesday.

In the last school year, about 45 percent of the school’s undergraduates received financial aid. In next year’s freshman class, 50 percent of students will need aid. They will receive an average grant of $42,500.

Many Hopkins students can also expect to graduate with student loan debt. McDermott said 44 percent of students graduate with some debt, averaging $19,000.

For these students, the school provides counseling during their attendance and email reminders after graduation about what they can expect when it comes to repaying these loans.

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