College educations are expensive but, if you and your brother or sister attend the same school, at the same time, you may qualify for sibling discounts for college tuition. This is serious money, offered by the individual schools, to help families with multiple children attending college, and to attract students. Because the discounts are offered through the schools, though, the requisites and the amounts differ.
US News and World Report lists simultaneous registration as one common requisite. Generally, this means that at least part of your attendance at the school must overlap. Some schools discontinue the discount if one of the siblings drops out. There are some schools, however, that offer a tuition discount if one of your siblings attended the college in the past. Another qualification is that you and your qualifying sibling must be dependent upon your parents.
Kinds of Discounts
Some schools offer a discount of ten to fifty percent tuition discount for simultaneously-attending siblings. Johnson and Wales University has a static $2,000 discount for each student.
The discounts may be offered as scholarships or as grants. The Family Grant Program, for instance, can cut the tuition in half for qualifying siblings. St. Anselm College awards a flat $6,000 if two are enrolled and, if a third sibling attends the school simultaneously, that amount rises to $12,000.
If the discount at your college is awarded as a scholarship, there will probably be scholastic expectations such as maintaining a certain GPA. Multiples, such as twins or triplets, may qualify for special discounts in addition to the siblings award. Multiples About.com says that Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas has had a twins discount for twenty years. The discount is 50 percent of the school tuition, which is about $10,000 each. Because it is a scholarship, though, you and your twin must maintain at least a 3.3 GPA.
In general, the aid that colleges that offer sibling discounts varies from about $500 a year to fifty percent of the tuition.
Colleges Often Don’t List Discounts
If you and your sibling want to enroll in the same college, you probably have researched the scholarships and grants. Many times, websites mention the most common of these and leave it to the student to find out about others, so parents and students are just unaware of the opportunity. In addition, the aid goes by different names at different schools, so it may not immediately identifiable. You will have to search for them specifically. Even if the school to which you are applying doesn’t list a sibling discount on the financial aid page, ask the bursar or the financial aid office if the school has a program for families with multiple students.
Attending a university or college is not cheap. In addition to the basic tuition there are fees and room-and-board charges plus other costs. A mother posting on a student aid forum bemoaned the fact her children didn’t know about the assistance to siblings. Her comment was, “Wow. Too bad my kids didn’t do better advanced planning.” Like specialty scholarships, students will have to research sibling discounts for college tuition as a resource for funding their educations.