|1. Maximum Effort|
|2. Maximum Effort
and Charitable Giving
|3. Student Payment|
|4. Parent Payment|
|5. Parent Payment Plans|
The student and his family are the primary beneficiaries of his education. Accordingly, they have the primary responsibility for paying for it. Since college education should be a high priority for the family, they are expected to anticipate the costs of that education and make financial preparations for it. Institutional aid is available to assist, not to replace, the personal and family resources of the student. The general principle applied in all aid decisions, therefore, is that the student and his parents must make a maximum effort to pay as much of the cost of tuition, room and board as they can. If a student and his parents are willing to make a maximum effort, the College will then provide institutional aid on the basis of demonstrated financial need. The College reserves full discretion in determining what constitutes a “maximum effort” and “demonstrated financial need” in any particular case.
The opening question found on the College’s Confidential Family Financial Statement  (see U.S., Canada, or International version, depending on the student's nationality) asks the family to indicate how much the student and parents are able to pay toward the coming year’s tuition, room and board. Please be generous when making a payment proposal on the CFFS. If resources are scarce, your family may want to consider redirecting a portion of its charitable giving toward tuition for, traditionally, whatever is paid toward Catholic education may be counted as a portion of one’s charitable giving.
The Church encourages the faithful to be generous in supporting Catholic education, for it is an apostolic work; one ordered toward the spiritual benefit of those who receive it and the Church at large. Canon Law (222 and 800.2) exhorts the Christian faithful to be generous in their support of apostolic works, including Catholic education, and to provide for the decent sustenance of those who carry out these ministries. As our Lord said, “the laborer deserves his food” (Matt. 10:10).
St. Thomas, when explaining the tithe in the Summa Theologica (II-II,Q.87,A.2-3) explains that one of the reasons for tithing is to provide for the material support of those who are attending to our spiritual needs (cf. I Cor. 9:11).
Therefore, Thomas Aquinas College exhorts you and your family to be generous in proposing what you are able to pay toward tuition. We hope that you will go beyond what you might expect to pay at a secular college. Remember, whatever portion you cannot afford to pay yourself must be paid by the charitable contributions of others.
Although you may not deduct your tuition payment as a charitable contribution for tax purposes, you or your parents may be eligible for an education tax credit. In tax year 2012, the American Opportunity Tax Credit reduced a person's taxes by as much as $2,500 and the Lifetime Learning Tuition Tax Credit reduced a person's taxes by as much as $2,000. As of December 31, 2012, it was not clear to what extent Congress will continue these tax credits in tax year 2013, but going forward, IRS Publication 970 “Tax Benefits for Education”  will contain the latest information about these tax credits.
The College expects each student to seek gainful employment during the summer and to save as much as possible to pay toward his tuition, room and board; $2,000 is the minimum expectation but greater summer earnings may call for a larger student payment. Financial aid awards also presume that if a student has more than $1,000 in savings, 35 percent of his savings will be paid toward tuition, room and board, although the formula will not reduce his savings below $1,000.
The student payment must be paid by registration unless prior written authorization has been provided by the Financial Aid Office.
As stated above, the College sincerely asks parents to be generous in their payment proposal. At the same time, the College uses the Confidential Family Financial Statement (CFFS) , the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) , prior year tax returns, and other forms as necessary to collect information needed to ensure that all parents are meeting a fair and equitable standard.
The College’s need analysis is a variant of the “Federal Methodology” used by most colleges in the U.S. The College has modified the federal need analysis, giving it more heart in some ways and making it more stringent in others. The federal need analysis is given more heart by taking into account special circumstances which families face, such as the cost of tuition for younger children and high medical/dental expenses, but the need analysis is also made more accountable in several ways, for example, by taking into consideration resources which the federal need analysis ignores such as education tax credits.
If needed, the Business Office at Thomas Aquinas College offers helpful short-term financing (see the following section on Payment Plans). There are also longer-term financing options available such as the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) or various alternative education loan programs. For more information about PLUS Loans, visit www.studentloans.gov  or visit our PLUS Loan page . For more information about alternative education loan programs, visit our Alternative Student/Parent Loans page.  If parents are interested in learning more about a PLUS Loan or an alternative education loan, they should contact  the Financial Aid Office.
The College offers parents three payment plans:
Under the Single-Payment Plan and the Two-Payment Plan the College provides parents with an early-payment discount if the student is not receiving a grant from the College or a Cal Grant. Currently, a $500 early-payment discount is given to those who pay using the Single-Payment Plan, and a $300 early payment discount is given to those who pay using the Two-Payment Plan ($150 each semester). The amounts of the discounts may be adjusted from year to year.
If the family’s payment includes outside scholarships, student loans, or work-study, those items must be paid by the end of the respective semester, otherwise the discount will be charged back to the student’s account. If the student withdraws during the semester, the discount for that semester will be charged back to his account.