As I went through the college search process with my son, I was constantly amazed at the way numbers are and are not used in the process. Everyone talks about student’s GPA, class rank, test scores, and college acceptance rates but no one seemed to know anything about their Expected Financial Contribution (EFC), four-year college graduation rates, or percentage of students receiving non-federal student loans.
So this website is about numbers and why you might use them and when you might ignore them. It’s about keeping perspective so that families can find the best colleges that meet their needs. If you’re just starting the search process, the following posts will help provide perspective as you start to wade deeper into the college search and admissions frenzy.
Unless you are able and willing to pay the full sticker price for college, you need to understand EFC.
The five I cover in this post can potentially make a significant difference in how much you pay for college. And if you don’t take advantage of them by January of the sophomore year, it’s too late.
Not all colleges cost the same. Ultimately, you can’t go to colleges with better financial aid awards if you don’t apply to them.
This explains why students are told to never rule out private colleges.
College graduation rates matter. Some schools do a much better job making sure their students graduate than others. The most expensive degree is the one you never complete.
Yes, more on scholarships. That’s because families have heard in the media about the amazing amount of scholarships kids win for years but they are generally the exception to the rule.
Am I really blaming parents? Yes. Why? Because students can only take out a limited amount in student loans without a parent cosigning it. Don’t make the problem worse.
While everyone should use the school’s net price calculator before adding it to the final list, there are other numbers that can help target colleges most likely to provide merit aid. This helps you from randomly using net price calculators until you hit the right school.
This is a series of posts explaining how to download the spreadsheet and complete some of the most common tasks.