Recent Blogs

You Can’t Get Merit Aid From a College You Never Apply To

hand rejecting bag of money representing applying to colleges without generous merit aidIn my last post, I defined Expected Family Contribution (EFC), how it works theoretically, and what happens in the real world. For many families, the difference between theory and practice is irrelevant since their EFC is much higher than their actual ability to pay. There are steps that you can take to reduce your EFC, and you should definitely do if you have the opportunity. However, the fact is that you’re likely to do more to cut the cost of college by targeting the right school than by trying to rearrange your finances. Continue reading

Why Your EFC Should be how you Start Your College Search

getting started game piecesWhat is EFC?

To start your college search, you need to be able to answer this question. If you’re like most parents starting the college search process, you don’t have a clue what EFC means. In fact, most parents don’t understand until they are well into the college application process which is not a good thing.

So what is EFC? EFC stands for “Expected Family Contribution” and is the term used by the Federal Government and colleges to state how much parents are expected to pay for their child’s college education. Continue reading

What to Read: The College Solution

Book cover for The College SolutionIf you only get one book for your college search, get The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price by Lynn O’Shaughnessy. Why? You mean because I said so isn’t enough?

Okay, here’s the deal about buying a book about a subject you don’t know much about. If your knowledge approaches zero then any book you buy will provide you with dramatically more information than you had and will be useful. But that doesn’t mean you are getting all the information you need. Continue reading

Beyond College Rankings: January Terms, Interim Terms, and 4-1-4 Academic Calendar

Globe with study abroad on it representing 4-1-4 academic calendarsOnce you get past making sure a college has your potential major, there are all kinds of ways of distinguishing colleges from each other besides college rankings. There are the obvious ones such as cost, rural versus urban, size, and location. But there are some that can significantly affect a student’s college experience that many have never heard of, much less considered. One of them is the 4-1-4 academic calendar.

The what calendar? Continue reading