Cutting the Cost of College by 49%

From the September / October edition of The Quarter Roll
Cutting the Cost of College by 49%
By Lynn O'Shaughnessy

When you are looking at colleges, donít believe the sticker price.

Why? Because college are priced like airline tickets. Everybody pays a different fare. When I give talks to families with teenagers, thatís one of the first points I emphasize. Itís your job then to find colleges and universities that are not only great academic fits, but also financial fits. And nothing can make a school more affordable than snagging a price cut.

More students, than you might assume, capture price discounts through college grants. The latest annual survey of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) illustrates just how widespread price cuts are among private schools. Freshmen starting at a private college or university in 2009 typically received a 48.5%t tuition discount. NACUBO estimates that freshmen, who began school last fall, received a slightly bigger tuition break of 49.1%.

Hereís an example of how tuition discounts work: Letís say the tuition is $30,000 and a student received the equivalent of a 49.1% price break. In this case, the student got a grant (free money) from the school for $14,730. Over four years, this award would be worth $58,920.

Getting a Discount Isnít Tough
You shouldnít assume that only students with the most stellar academic credentials get this money. According to the NACUBO study, nearly 88% of freshmen attending private schools received institutional grants, which is a historic high. Iíd hate to be among the 12% of freshmen who ended up empty-handed when the grants were being distributed.

What you may also find interesting is that a big chunk of this money goes to students who donít need the help. Nearly 29% of the college grants were awarded to affluent students who did not qualify for any need-based aid.

Read the rest of the story in the September / October 2011 edition here

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