How to Get the Best Price at your Desired College
By Mary Kate Hampton
In 2023, some buzz words happen to be: inflation and recession. This can make the idea of paying for college quite daunting for families. The cost of college has been rising for years, and many families are figuring out the best ways to get the best price at their students’ desired colleges.
College Ready works with many families each application season, and a common question is: “Can our family afford college?” At College Ready, we like to say yes to families. Your student can afford to go to college, but that is only true if the cost of college is properly planned. It’s also important to know that there is a difference between the sticker price and the net price of college tuition. Read on to learn more about how to get the best price at your desired college.
- Put in some footwork. While the professionals at College Ready can help you to understand the cost of attendance at each school on your list, do some research yourself too. Look at details like tuition, room and board, and other expenses. Most information is available on the school website or by reaching the financial aid office.
- Plan ahead. The earlier you get familiar with the financial aid process, the more time you’ll have to plan and to understand opportunities. Starting freshman year, taking a look at the financial plan for the future is a wise idea.
- Get your financial info together. Income. Assets. Tax returns. W-2s. These are just some of the documents you might need to gather in order to apply for different forms of financial aid. Being prepared ahead of time can make such a difference in going through the process of getting the best price at your desired college.
- FAFSA is for everyone. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid opens in December this year, and—no matter your financial situation—it is essential that students and their families fill out this application. You’ll need to fill out info about your income, assets, demographics, and number of students from the family concurrently enrolled in college.
- Get familiar with the EFC. Your EFC is also known as your expected family contribution. If an EFC is zero, it is likely that students will be eligible for federal student aid like the Pell Grant, which is based on financial need.
- Higher income families also can get aid. Financial need is not the only requirement. Students may instead qualify for things like work-study programs or federal loans.
- Boost your class schedule. Challenging classes that your student can earn As in can lead to merit scholarships. AP, Honors, IB, or dual enrollment courses can also help families to save on their college price tag in the future.
- Financial fit college. Creating a tailored college list with great fit schools for your student is so important. Look for schools that offer strong financial packages and a track record of having undergraduates finish in 4 years. Be sure to compare public vs. private, and know which you might prefer.
- Leverage your awards. If one college has awarded you a scholarship but another school has not, you can use that award to negotiate. Share the awards your student has earned to appeal financial aid decisions. On the same note, you can ask a college to increase your financial aid award by reaching out to the financial aid office.
- Free money. Look into scholarships and grants that can help you to pay for college. Scholarships can be private, college-given, and athletic. Private scholarships can be merit-based, need-based, or both. College Ready can help you to find good fit scholarships.
- Work with a professional. College Ready can work with students and families on so many aspects of the application process. We can help you to plan how your family will pay for college. Families need to know that the price tag that they see on a college website is not the real price. With the EFC, the FAFSA, and many other ways to get free money, College Ready can help you financially plan for college.
Do you want to find out more about getting the best price for college? Reach out to College Ready to have a discovery call to learn more.