A College's Financial Footprints

In my last post, I shared how you can get a pretty good idea if your family will qualify for financial aid.

You need this information if you are eager to slash the cost of your child’s bachelor’s degree.

Here’s an example:  Let’s suppose a bright teenager, whose parents are wealthy, gets accepted into Georgetown University in Washington DC. Here is the tuition discount that this teenager could expect from Georgetown:  0%.

That’s because Georgetown doesn’t hand out tuition discounts or merit awards to affluent students. At nearby George Washington University, however, the average tuition discount is roughly $23,000.

I’m not suggesting that kids should go to GWU and not Georgetown, but the example illustrates that schools, whether or not they are selective, have different financial priorities. Some schools will reward smart affluent teenagers and others prefer to reserve their entire pot of money for needy kids.

Families that need a lot of assistance should be just as mindful about their choices.

Suppose, for example, that a brilliant boy who lives with a single mom gets into Columbia University. The Ivy League school would likely meet 100% of his need, which would make it possible for the teenager to attend the school.

The outcome wouldn’t be as happy a one if  the teenager attended nearby New York University. For a very rich school, NYU is strangely miserly. NYU only meets 68% of a typical student’s financial need and a significant chunk of that will be in loans. So if the teenager went to Columbia, he could earn a degree with little or no debt, but that would hardly be the case with NYU.

How can you tell if a school is generous with affluent, middle-class or needy families? You can look at a college or university’s Common Data Set. You’ll discover more about this on my next post.

Learn about my new book,  The College Solution, at my website.

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