The cost of college is usually an understandable concern for families. Many people are aware of the FAFSA and maybe even the CSS Profile. All colleges require the FAFSA and some the CSS Profile to help provide financial aid packages to students. When we work with families, there are always other things to take into account when finances are a concern. Keep these things in mind when starting the college search process.
Reach schools are expensive
These schools rarely provide merit scholarships to students who are on the edge of gaining acceptance. Highly selective colleges want top-notch students. Within that pool, the very top will receive merit money. The middle and lower half of the incoming class will not be awarded money.
Private colleges do a significantly better job of providing scholarship money to their students. It is an important part of their mission to be able to make their school affordable for a range of families. Many times you can work closely with admissions and the financial aid office to negotiate an agreeable price. Try not to discount a college because of the sticker price!
Location, Location, Location
Attending a college that is a plane ride from home adds cost to students and their families. Room and board at college are often expensive. Some families may decide to have their children live at home and attend college to save some much-needed money. Others may tell their students that they can’t attend a college that is a plane ride away. We always encourage our students to live on campus because that allows them to have the true college experience but maybe they don’t need to attend college across the country.
Scholarship applications can be a fulltime job
Scholarships are fantastic. With that said, there are so many scholarships out there that it makes it difficult to know where to start. Students can get scholarships for Duct Tape projects, live-action role-playing, having learning differences, being a twin, having red hair, playing video games, being Jewish, etc… You get the point. So many scholarships! Many of these reward students with as little as $250. In the scope of tuition, it is very little. In order to be in the running for these, you often need to write an essay or provide a self made video. It’s usually not worth a student’s time. The best money that students can get is from the institutions they attend. Merit money is king! Students don’t need to apply and they can be awarded anywhere from $5,000-$50,000 each year. Now that’s big money!