When talking to people about paying for college, one of my mantras is that you can’t get money from a college you’ve never applied to. Well, that’s changing with a new app called TuitionFit. TuitionFit is an absolute game changer in the college money arena and every family needs to know about it. Because if you use TuitionFit, you just could get money from a college you’ve never applied to.
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Crowd-sourcing Financial Aid Award Letters
TuitionFit finally harnesses the power of the individual student’s information for the benefit of the student. The premise is simple. Students upload their financial aid award letters with any identifying information removed.
Once the information is entered into TuitionFit’s system, the student can see how much colleges are charging students with similar economic status and academic performance. This will let the students know if their award is generous or if they should ask for more money.
For those who don’t have award letters to upload, you can still create a free account and see last year’s information.
Essentially, TuitionFit is creating the “Kelly Blue Book” of college prices.
But where does the getting money from colleges you haven’t applied to come in?
TuitionFit allows colleges to subscribe to the service. As members, they’ll be allowed to see the posted information, without the student’s personal information, of course. Based on the student’s academic qualifications and existing awards, colleges will be allowed to offer students a better price than the one they have uploaded. That’s money from a college you’ve never applied to.
All students have to do is to upload one financial aid award letter to see similar awards for this year. That’s it.
Just think about the possible advantages. Students will have the information they need to appeal an award letter if necessary. For students who can’t afford to apply to multiple colleges, one award letter will essentially serve as an application for all of the college members of TuitionFit. The same is true for those students who fail to apply to a safety school and only realize the consequences as they received their financial aid awards.
Colleges Need Students
I know, the question is why would colleges even participate? That was my first question for Mark Salisbury, the developer of TuitionFit. The answer is basically demographics. The number of students going to college peaked around 2011. Since then, colleges have been chasing fewer students.
You can see this in the annual list that the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) posts every May. This is a list of colleges still accepting students because they haven’t filled their classes for the year. And the schools are often still offering financial aid for accepted students. Instead of waiting until May to start chasing students, TuitionFit allows colleges to find qualified students and make offers before the acceptance deadline.
You can learn more how TuitionFit works on their website’s Learn More page. Be sure to check out their blog and read A TuitionFit Success Story–Simple yet Profound. If you’ve received an award letter, take the time to upload it now! You’ll be part of TuitionFit’s goal to “shine the light on college pricing” designed to benefit students in minimizing the cost of college.
And no, I’m not an affiliate, investor, or in any way being paid for this. I just think this has been a long time problem in college pricing and TuitionFit has found a way to solve it. Students can now essentially crowd source their information to their advantage by sharing it with TuitionFit.