With the economy forcing budget cuts and layoffs in higher education, colleges and universities might be expected to be cutting financial aid–but that’s the last thing they’re cutting, reports the New York Times. Students considering a wide range of private schools, as well as those who are already enrolled, can expect to get more aid this year, not less. The increases highlight the hand-to-mouth existence of many of the nation’s smaller and less well-known institutions. With only tiny endowments, they need full enrollment to survive, and they are anxious to prevent top students from going elsewhere. "The last thing colleges and universities are going to cut this year is financial aid," said Kathy Kurz, an enrollment consultant to colleges. "Most of them recognize that their discount rates are going to go up, but they’d rather have a discounted person in the seat than no one in the seat." So at Nichols College, a business-oriented school in Dudley, Mass., the president has asked staff members to teach classes normally handled by adjunct professors. The savings will allow the college to discount tuition for 20 prospective students and help 40 current students who could not afford to return…

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