Costs – Do It Yourself College Rankings

Colleges that Meet 100% of Financial Need Depending on How You Define Need

Chained money representing colleges that meet 100% of needProbably the biggest shock families experience as they consider their college options is finding out how much they’re expected to pay for college. But I think a close second would be how few colleges are actually able to meet the family’s admittedly flawed calculated need. According to CollegeData.com, only 80 colleges and universities claim to meet 100% of a student’s financial need.

If a family is able to show financial need, good luck in finding a school that will actually cover it.

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543 Colleges with No Application Fees for 2020

student looking at colleges with free application feesI’ve updated the list of colleges with no application fees list based on the Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and information from the Common Application available in October 2020. The IPEDS data is the fee charged for the 2019-20 academic year while the Common Application Data is for the 2020-21 year. Yes, it’s very possible the data reported by IPEDS will not be valid for the coming year. But it’s what is available.

Everyone knows the cost of higher education is spiraling out of control. Did you know that the cost to apply to college has reached equally outrageous levels? Applying to US News 2020 Top Ten (there are actually 11 top 10 because of a tie) National Universities would set you back $845 in application fees with a low of $70 to a high of $90. Only two schools charged less than $75. That doesn’t include the cost of sending in testing scores reports.

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What are scholarships?

head of woman looking at scholarship written on blackboard representing what are scholarshipsWhat are College Scholarships?
What are the Scholarship Types?
How do students apply for scholarships?
When can students apply for portable scholarships?
How long do scholarships last?
How do students receive the scholarship money?
What can you spend scholarship money on?

Scholarships are simply free money for students to spend on their education. This basic definition includes scholarships awarded for pre-schools, dance classes, camps, and, of course colleges. When you start asking what are scholarships in terms of paying for college, things don’t seem as simple any more. Now you have athletic scholarships, academic scholarships, and other various merit scholarships. And scholarships are just one kind of financial aid available for college so you probably need to have some understanding of how it differs from grants, loans, and work-study.  However, even as you wade through various definitions, the essential definition of a scholarship is free money for students to spend on their education.

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3 Things You Need to Know Before You Submit Your Early Decision Application

Student thinking about early decisionThe first of the Early Decision college admissions deadlines are approaching and students are nervously revising their college application essays. However, before they submit their applications, they need to remember that there are reasons why people criticize Early Decision as primarily benefiting rich kids. As students make one final review of their application, they should make sure they know the following three things about Early Decision.

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5 Financial Aid Strategies Parents of Sophomores Need to Know Before the Spring Semester

parents considering financial aid strategiesParents of sophomores need to know that their students’ college financial aid awards will be calculated on the base year that starts January 1 of the student’s sophomore year. This means that the fall semester of the student’s sophomore year will be the last chance parents have to implement some financial aid strategies that could significantly increase their student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid.

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10 Things Parents Do That Increase College Student Debt

Parents with college grad representing how parents can help avoid student debtWe have all heard the horror stories of college graduates with staggering debt and little hope of repaying it before retiring. The obvious cause of the problem is the seemingly ever-increasing cost of college.

But here’s the thing. When you read the stories about graduates struggling with student loans after graduation, you’ll almost always see that they had alternatives to the large student loans they ended up with. With the high cost of college, more than ever teens need their parents to provide financial guidance when applying to college. Unfortunately, rather than supplying a financial reality check, too many parents make the situation worse by doing the following:

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5 Ways for Getting Smart About Financial Aid

sign with questions about financial aidThe internet is a wonderful thing, you can find the answer to just about any question including “what is financial aid?” The problem is that are usually so many answers that it’s overwhelming and it’s almost as bad as not knowing the answer at all. So here are five ways for learning about financial aid without wading through page after page of search.

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The Truth About Scholarships

hand stacking coins representing the truth about scholarshipsThere are two major delusions/misconceptions about paying for college that too many parents have. The first is that by not saving for college, parents claim this will make their kids eligible for more financial aid. Why bother saving if it means they won’t get any financial aid? This falls into the delusional category. I generally give people the benefit of the doubt but I can’t help but think this has more to do with preferring to spend money now rather than saving for later. Oh, FYI, financial aid doesn’t work that way.

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