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Greetings Students & Families!
A few times a year I update and share my detailed newsletter about all things “Financial” and I know families of students at all grade levels will find the information invaluable to choices ahead.  Please don’t wait until the senior year to understanding some basics of the college admissions planning process.   In this Part 1 of my Spring 2-part series, you’ll learn more about financial aid and scholarships.  The key take-away- early academic planning increases your chances of acceptances that will include scholarship assistance.
The “fit” between a student and a university is based upon three pillars, including “Academics”,  “Social” and “Financial”.

1. ACADEMICS

The university you attend should provide an outstanding academic experience in your intended major/minor fields of study, along with appropriate internship and career placement opportunities. This is paramount to selecting where to attend.
There’s a major field of study to match the unique strengths and interests of every young adult! With nearly 4,000 colleges offering an impressive number of traditional and cutting edge majors and minors, it can indeed be overwhelming to navigate the maze of available degree options.

Your evaluation of academics should move beyond published lists of college rankings. The most important steps include learning how to navigate through the “Academics” and the “Research” tabs to fully explore the curriculum maps, degree requirements and the research projects faculty are conducting. As a former university professor with 30+ years of experience on curriculum planning committees, I’m able to help your family assess “academic fit” and effectively explore your academic options to balance each student’s current and emerging interests and strengths.

For more on this topic, please refer to my recent newsletter:
Selecting A College & A Major

2. SOCIAL

The social fit is important as each student is looking to find a “home-away-from-home” for their next four years. Is the campus inviting, inclusive and are there opportunities for ongoing social and emotional growth?
This is exactly why students visit university campuses before enrolling. Your Educational and College Admissions Assessment will help you hone in on the criteria that are important to you.  Let me help you understand how to have an informative and meaningful campus visit.
For more on how to make the most of your campus visits, please enjoy my recent newsletter:

3. FINANCIAL AFFORDABILITY

Every family faces unique financial circumstances and we factor those into the choices of where to apply and enroll.If you’re ineligible for financial aid, or find the cost daunting- understanding how to access scholarships and financial aid will reduce the stress that results from mis-information and yes, being an easy target for “scholarship and financial aid scamsters!”
THERE ARE MANY CAMPUSES PROVIDING an EXCELLENT EDUCATION offering deep discounts on tuition given your “admissions profile”.  Please do NOT navigate to lists such as those published by various publications since these do not incorporate information about your student’s particular college admissions profile and mislead your family.
College Admissions & Financial Aid Tips: HOW TO SELECT A COLLEGE and A MAJOR
College Admissions & Financial Aid Tips: HOW TO SELECT A COLLEGE and A MAJOR
 Financial Aid and Scholarships-- Yes You can Afford College!
Financial Aid and Scholarships– Yes You can Afford College!

 

The past few weeks I’ve been speaking with parents of rising seniors as we hone in on their list of colleges for the 2019-20 application season.  One of the questions most often raised is whether a student should be applying to private colleges if a family has participated in their state’s pre-paid tuition plan?   The short answer to the question is that there are many outstanding universities offering both financial need-based and merit based assistance.

Sadly, I’m also receiving telephone calls from parents of current seniors who are asking about scholarships. With proper Educational and College Admissions Planning, and the information that follow – you will not find yourself in this situation!

In this newsletter, you’ll learn about how to evaluate your financial situation and how to plan your high school student’s academic path in a way that creates scholarship opportunities.  

 

As regular readers of my newsletters know, each school year is an opportunity for further exploration into academic areas of interest and strength, as well as enhancing existing learning and time management strategies.  Please  CONTACT ME to schedule your Educational and College Admissions Planning Assessment.

Parents can help students continue to find their passions both within and outside the classroom.

Good grades are essential, but they don’t supplant the importance of having a fulfilling and connected life both at school and within “communities”.
Whether your student is in 7th or 12th- it is never too early to understand how financial aid and merit-based scholarship are awarded thus impacting your actual cost of education.  Each family should understand why  “college sticker price” is irrelevant but why working towards a specific financial/academic strategy is a multi-year process to begin as soon as possible. Building a plan at the start of high school will  impact the choices of colleges your student visits (10th/11th) and ultimately applies to during the senior year.
  • Think you earn too much to receive financial aid? Think again!  Learn how to estimate your eligibility.
  • Unclear about when and how to apply for financial aid?  Discover the ease of submitting your FAFSA.
  • Divorced, single parent or blended family? Unclear about whether both parents’ financial information will be considered in determining financial aid eligibility? 
  • Own a business? Unclear which business assets you can EXCLUDE on your FAFSA?
  • Florida Pre-pay plan? When is attending an out-of-state private college less expensive than attending within state (even with pre-paid plans!)
  • Should you downsize and sell your home to pay for college– Absolutely NOT!!  You’ll learn more below!

    Whether you’re a struggling single parent or financially secure – there are colleges that fit your student academically, socially and financially– build your plan early!

 

 

Yes you can afford college!
Little known facts….
As an experienced university faculty and admissions committee member, let’s begin with a discussion of how colleges determine your financial aid award and some tips to increase your chances of receiving financial aid and scholarships.

 

Need Blind Admissions
Nearly all colleges practice “need blind admissions” meaning admissions decisions are unrelated to your request to be considered for financial aid.

 

That said, university budgets and financial aid awards are built around “discounting” – a practice of offsetting a college’s annual financial aid budget with the dollars received from full paying students to minimize the impact on the institution’s endowment.   As a full-paying family, you may be surprised to know that as much as a quarter to a third of your tuition dollars are used to award financial aid to another deserving student.

 

I’ll have more to say about this below.
Where is the Money?
Universities more able to provide significant undergraduate grant money (as opposed to loans) have:  larger endowments, a higher percentage of alumni “giving” and significant numbers of full-pay students (often achieved by higher-than-average percentages of foreign students). All of these data are available for review and should be on your radar when selecting colleges.

 

While within-state public tuition is the least costly “sticker price”  in your home state, public universities also have significantly less funding available for grants than do private colleges.  If your college list includes several public universities in other states, don’t expect much in the way of financial aid or merit aid from these institutions. Your choice of colleges should be focused on private institutions with available funds and a commitment to meet your need.  That commitment will be expressed on admissions and financial aid web pages.

Matching Funding 
Universities have the discretion to consider competing financial aid offers for admitted students from recognized competitor institutions (selectivity, size, etc.).  By agreement, Ivy League universities will NOT match a financial aid offer. That said, Ivy League colleges have some of the largest endowments and greatest number of contributing alumni enabling the Ivy League to meet your financial need (see below).  Many private institutions do meet full financial need.

 

Ivy League universities have very little (hidden) merit-based aid. Some of the heavily endowed universities have committed to maximum percentage out-of-pocket models relative to “sticker price”.    Many of the families I serve earn too much to receive significant financial aid at the Ivy League yet feel unable to afford the sticker price.  If your student has the scholastic & extracurricular record to be a viable candidate for the Ivy League consider instead  excellent universities that do offer substantial merit based scholarships.  A Strategic Academic & College Admissions plan early in high school makes this dream a reality. 

 

Based on actual research and client experiences, I maintain an extensive data base to match each student’s academic interests with colleges more likely to provide an attractive financial aid package and/or merit-based package.  Contact me to schedule an “Educational and College Admissions Assessment”.
 
Let’s talk about your college short list relative to your admissions portfolio and intended major areas of study. For example, males applying to historically “female dominated” majors in liberal arts colleges will not only have a greater chance of admissions, but often receive attractive financial and merit based awards.  There are admissions/financial aid “bumps” in many majors and colleges by gender and other student demographic characteristics.
 

 

How does all this impact your out-of-pocket costs?  
Where should your student apply to receive the most financial aid?

 

In order to realize your educational goals, it’s important to understand how your financial aid award is determined.

 

What is the real cost of a four-year undergraduate degree?  The short answer is to avoid sticker price misconceptions.   
Please tune in for PART II_ Financial Aid – Nitty GRITTY Details!
Bonnie

 

CONGRATULATIONS! Recent Acceptances Include
 

 

Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, U. Michigan, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, University of North Carolina, Vassar, Bowdoin, Wellesley, Emory, U.Illinois, Notre Dame, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, Washington University (WUSTL), Drexel, Tulane, Brown, Purdue, Swarthmore, SCAD, Ohio, Georgetown, Hamilton, Reed, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Embry-Riddle, Colgate, Fordham, Columbia, Barnard, Syracuse, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson, Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Howard, Fordham, SUNY Stonybrook, Duke, Case Western, Rochester Institute of Technology, Parsons, Virginia Tech, Boston U., Hobart & William Smith, Claremont Mckenna, Davidson, Westpoint, Gettysburg, Amherst, Temple, Denison, Howard, UT Austin, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, UF, and many more!

BE INSPIRED! LET ME HELP YOU TAKE THE NEXT STEP!