The College Dream vs. College Costs                                                         by Patti Brugman

By Patti Brugman

         As you make the list of the colleges that seem perfect for you, don’t forget to include financial safety schools.  These are schools that you can afford “no matter what.” Everyone would love “a full ride” to the college of their dreams. Instead of gambling that Dream U is going to pay for your education, why not take the proactive approach and make a plan that assures that you can pay for your own education!

         You can do this by figuring out your price point then applying that number to the total cost of college. What we do for our clients is to make a college matrix that shows each school, what their admission requirements are, application deadlines, rates of graduation, and percentages of financial aid and merit aid to their students.  These facts are all available on the Net Price Indicator of each college’s website and are invaluable when making your final college list.

         No parent, teacher, or counselor would like to tell a student to take NYU off the list because their prices are high and their history of meeting need is low. Rather, they’d like for you to add in schools with a history of meeting 100% need and of giving generous merit scholarships.  Your obligation, as a student, is to choose the best school for your education and your financial future. 

Think of yourself as a buyer in a department store of college choices.  Around every aisle is an ad for Perfect U, Dream U, Exotic U, or Party U.  Every school looks great!  But just as if you were buying a pair of shoes, try them on. Go to the websites, visit the schools if you can. Watch Youtube videos and check the prices. Remember that name brands cost more.  Go for the off brands if you want to find a “sale.”  Look for the schools that will offer you a merit scholarship.

Take responsibility for choosing the right fit for your future.  Be informed! As you create your college list, think about your future college debt.  Be sure to understand:

  • How much you will owe
  • What your interest rate will be
  • What your expected salary upon graduation will be
  • What your monthly repayment cost will be
  • How long it will take you to repay a loan
  • What will happen if you cannot find a job

Once you’re armed with facts and figures (this is a math problem!) you will be ready to make the right decision next April—which is just around the corner! 

-- All the best from PerfectFitCollege.Net  10/12