Shopping for college

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Topic Author
manatee2005
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Shopping for college

Post by manatee2005 »

My son is a HS senior and will be applying to colleges soon.

I’ve heard that if you get accepted, the colleges will send you something like a cost of attendance sheet that lists any financial aid the student will get. I’ve also heard that this can be negotiated.

Has anyone done this few months ago for their 2020/2021 freshman?

Also, can people tell me true cost of attendance with room and board? I see tuition of say 15k but by the time you add room and board it’s $30k. And some colleges give scholarship so a school that’s listed as $50k actually costs $20k.

Any help this parents of 2020/2021 freshmen can provide would be great.
Arabesque
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Arabesque »

Applying to college is very complex. I don’t say this lightly as I’m a professor and have recently helped my two kids with their applications. It really depends on the student, their interests, your budget, your state system, etc.

This website is a great place to start.

https://www.collegeconfidential.com/
livesoft
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by livesoft »

I think the student may not get financial aid answer usually until April 1 of the HS Senior year.

I have two children who graduated from colleges in the past 6 years. As far as shopping for college goes, it is pretty simple:

1. Apply to the state flagship university for your state if your student expects to meet the SAT and other scores of the students there, otherwise the next best state university. There is generally, no point in applying to the state or public universities of other states, though exceptions can be made.

2. Apply to another in-state university.

3. Pick a few private universities including at least one within your state to apply to.

That's about it.

Of course, one of my kids applied to a single university, got in, and stated, "I'm going there and will not apply anywhere else." It was a great choice for him and very inexpensive.
Last edited by livesoft on Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Normchad
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Normchad »

I recommend you go to collegeconfidential.com it is like bogel heads for college admissions.

Every university has a website that will show you the Cost of Attendance. This will break out tuition, room and board, books, fees, etc. it’s a place to start to see what list price is for each school.

The best way to save money is to crush the ACT or SAT. Students should study hard for those, the potential ROI is massive.
livesoft
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by livesoft »

Normchad wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:11 pmThe best way to save money is to crush the ACT or SAT. Students should study hard for those, the potential ROI is massive.
Ha! Ha! That's also the best way to cost a parent the most money.
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Arabesque
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Arabesque »

Perhaps I should have written “college is complex if you’re looking for financial aid (or elite schools or both).” My kids went to great private schools with small classes for less than our state schools, which are on the cheap side.

ROI begins early. College Confidential is a great start.
Normchad
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Normchad »

livesoft wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:12 pm
Normchad wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:11 pmThe best way to save money is to crush the ACT or SAT. Students should study hard for those, the potential ROI is massive.
Ha! Ha! That's also the best way to cost a parent the most money.
That’s an excellent point livesoft. I’m guessing you are referring to the high cost oof test prep.

IMHO, there is no reason to pay for test prep courses. Motivated families can DIY. Or another way, if you can’t do this on your own, professional help is unlikely to be financially beneficial.

My plan: do the ACT. Buy one if those fat books that has five actual ACT tests in it.

Take a test under real time constraints. Score it. Figure out what you did wrong, learn how to do it right.

Do that for each of the five tests. Maybe do one a week.

Most good students should be able to get a 34 by doing this. There is nothing unknowable in these tests.

Anyhow, college confidential is the place to be for this stuff.
psy1
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by psy1 »

livesoft wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:12 pm
Normchad wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:11 pmThe best way to save money is to crush the ACT or SAT. Students should study hard for those, the potential ROI is massive.
Ha! Ha! That's also the best way to cost a parent the most money.
In fact that is true. Multiple state universities, e.g. Alabama, will give out of state students free tuition if the ACT score is above the desired threshold. If the student has a really high score, then even more benefits accrue. Mid-tier private schools often give merit scholarships independent of need for high scores as well.

I don't think studying will get the average good student a 34 as noted above. There is a lot of grade inflation in high school so there are many "good students." Most students can budge their cold ACT a few points up by studying. The average score is ~20 I think. No way a person who gets a 21 studies and gets a 34. Just my take. But I agree that taking practice tests and studying what is missed can make a substantial difference and move any given student up a threshold or two.
just_learning
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by just_learning »

Good timing on this question because something like this came up when we were discussing a friend's child's admission...
When people refer to "scholarships" and "merit scholarships", are these need based or need blind?
If a family is making say, 200k a year, can they expect any need blind breaks in tuition or other costs? (not loans... real breaks)

Thanks.
Topic Author
manatee2005
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by manatee2005 »

livesoft wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:10 pm I think the student may not get financial aid answer usually until April 1 of the HS Senior year.

I have two children who graduated from colleges in the past 6 years. As far as shopping for college goes, it is pretty simple:

1. Apply to the state flagship university for your state if your student expects to meet the SAT and other scores of the students there, otherwise the next best state university. There is generally, no point in applying to the state or public universities of other states, though exceptions can be made.

2. Apply to another in-state university.

3. Pick a few private universities including at least one within your state to apply to.

That's about it.

Of course, one of my kids applied to a single university, got in, and stated, "I'm going there and will not apply anywhere else." It was a great choice for him and very inexpensive.
Due to COVID the SATs have been canceled since March. It’s going to be crazy applying for 2021/2022 school year. Most schools have made SATs optional which has convinced my son that he doesn’t need to take it 😕

Between cuts in school state budgets, optional test scores, pass/fail grades from spring 2020 semester, inability to do any camps, volunteering or sports due to covid shutdowns, it’s going to be hell of an application year.
Normchad
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Normchad »

just_learning wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:46 pm Good timing on this question because something like this came up when we were discussing a friend's child's admission...
When people refer to "scholarships" and "merit scholarships", are these need based or need blind?
If a family is making say, 200k a year, can they expect any need blind breaks in tuition or other costs? (not loans... real breaks)

Thanks.
Families making 200K can forget about getting any need based aid. If you want aid, you better be amazing at something.

A lot of what they call aid, or meeting the family financial need, is just loans.

And for really good schools, they have plenty of full pay, fairly amazing applicants. So it is exceedingly difficult to get merit based aid at really good school. Of course, your kid might just be amazing!
Arabesque
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Arabesque »

There are a couple of ways for 6 figure families to get help.

Some of the best endowed colleges (Harvard, Stanford, etc) are very generous with financial aid. Harvard is free if the family makes under 80K, 10% of income between 80-150K, with continued possibilities up to 200K. For one of my kids, one of these schools was less than Room and board at State. Financial aid at its most generous.

My other kid got a chunk of merit, from a less endowed school. We didn’t qualify for financial aid, but she filled one of their needsand was given sufficient merit money to make it the same cost as the State. Athletes, honors, under-represented categories often can get merit.
just_learning
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by just_learning »

Normchad wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:50 pm
just_learning wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:46 pm Good timing on this question because something like this came up when we were discussing a friend's child's admission...
When people refer to "scholarships" and "merit scholarships", are these need based or need blind?
If a family is making say, 200k a year, can they expect any need blind breaks in tuition or other costs? (not loans... real breaks)

Thanks.
Families making 200K can forget about getting any need based aid. If you want aid, you better be amazing at something.

A lot of what they call aid, or meeting the family financial need, is just loans.

And for really good schools, they have plenty of full pay, fairly amazing applicants. So it is exceedingly difficult to get merit based aid at really good school. Of course, your kid might just be amazing!
Not my own child, but yeah, that's what we thought... not at that income level..
I guess there were some other scholarships like the coca-cola scholar and such ..

Thanks,
GreendaleCC
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by GreendaleCC »

Normchad wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:35 pm
livesoft wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:12 pm
Normchad wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:11 pmThe best way to save money is to crush the ACT or SAT. Students should study hard for those, the potential ROI is massive.
Ha! Ha! That's also the best way to cost a parent the most money.
That’s an excellent point livesoft. I’m guessing you are referring to the high cost oof test prep.
I read livesoft's comment to mean that high-performing students will be qualified for (and want to attend) schools costing more $$$.
livesoft
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by livesoft »

Normchad wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:35 pm
livesoft wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:12 pm
Normchad wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:11 pmThe best way to save money is to crush the ACT or SAT. Students should study hard for those, the potential ROI is massive.
Ha! Ha! That's also the best way to cost a parent the most money.
That’s an excellent point livesoft. I’m guessing you are referring to the high cost oof test prep.
Nope, I was referring to the student getting outstanding test scores, applying to private elite universities that do not offer merit aid, and getting accepted because of outstanding scores, and actually matriculating to said private elite university with the huge tuition bills that go along with that. :)
I read livesoft's comment to mean that high-performing students will be qualified for (and want to attend) schools costing more $$$.
You read correctly.
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just_learning
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by just_learning »

Arabesque wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:16 pm There are a couple of ways for 6 figure families to get help.

Some of the best endowed colleges (Harvard, Stanford, etc) are very generous with financial aid. Harvard is free if the family makes under 80K, 10% of income between 80-150K, with continued possibilities up to 200K. For one of my kids, one of these schools was less than Room and board at State. Financial aid at its most generous.

My other kid got a chunk of merit, from a less endowed school. We didn’t qualify for financial aid, but she filled one of their needsand was given sufficient merit money to make it the same cost as the State. Athletes, honors, under-represented categories often can get merit.
Thanks. I guess got to look everywhere... Do the endowed colleges also look at the fasfa forms for considering lower tuition?
otinkyad
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by otinkyad »

livesoft wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:10 pm There is generally, no point in applying to the state or public universities of other states, though exceptions can be made.
This is nonsensical. Many quality public universities offer significant merit aid to out-of-state students. They don’t generally offer need-based aid, to be sure, but the sticker prices are also lower than private colleges.

This is, as others have said, complicated. In-state and out-of-state public schools, and elite, selective, and other private schools each have their own rules and the sticker prices, merit-based aid, need-based aid, and negotiability will differ at each of them. There is no linear ordering among them for actual costs; it varies based your individual situation. I found it useful to consider each of them, and you can use the College Confidential site to get a rough idea of aid for your academic and financial situation, or just apply to a diversified set and see what happens. In addition to sticker prices, many colleges and the College Board have Expected Family Contribution calculators, which you should use immediately. You should also look at the criteria for merit aid, which are often listed on the college web sites.

As livesoft and others have mentioned, you can’t just sit back and wait until April. Many schools want the FAFSA and CSS Profile filed around the time applications are due. You should know well before that what the costs could be, and what you can afford. Just like academic safety, target, and reach schools, I find it useful to think about schools in the same way financially, and make sure the kid applies to schools I know we can afford, some we can likely afford, and some we would need a lucky strike to afford.

The College Confidential site is wonderful, but also depressing, since many real (and likely many fake) academic profiles can make you or your student feel like an imposter. You need a grounding in how you match up, from admissions and guidance counselors, or it is easy to despair.
Arabesque
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Arabesque »

I believe that just about all schools require at least the FAFSA for consideration for aid, subsidized loans, and work study
Bobby206
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Bobby206 »

Some good info above.

We live out west and can go to WUE schools and pay in-state + 50%. That's about 8 western states and about 100 4 year schools. I noticed many other state universities have similar programs for neighboring states. So look around as that increases your pool of schools if you want public.

Generally public will be cheaper than private.

Each school website has a net cost calculator but I have heard they are not that accurate.

I have heard private schools might negotiate a bit but probably just second tier and below.

Figure state schools (with room/board) are $25k-35k a year and private is $50k-70k. It's easy to qualify for scholarships at second tier private schools but they will generally still be more expensive than public. Each school different and each kid different so just generalizing here.

Every school has great online programs right now. Check a few out to learn about the schools.

SAT/ACT is optional at almost all schools this year but to me you should find a way for your kid to take the test if possible. Some scholarships still require it, even if school doesn't, though that may change. I would do some online practice and/or tutoring as your score can raise a lot and that helps at all schools!

Good luck!
just_learning
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by just_learning »

Bobby206 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:57 pm
I have heard private schools might negotiate a bit but probably just second tier and below.
How does one negotiate with a college? Call up the admissions office and say I can pay $x...
KlangFool
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by KlangFool »

OP,


1) Which state are you in?


2) Where does your kid rank in terms of PSAT/NMSQT? National Merit Scholar?


https://www.nationalmerit.org/s/1758/in ... 2&pgid=424


KlangFool
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Bobby206
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Bobby206 »

just_learning wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:02 pm
Bobby206 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:57 pm
I have heard private schools might negotiate a bit but probably just second tier and below.
How does one negotiate with a college? Call up the admissions office and say I can pay $x...
I believe you get into ABC college and GHI college. You tell ABC that GHI is offering $x scholarships for example. Use one against the other.

I have not done this.

Read up at collegeconfidential. I am pretty sure there are posts where people indicate this type of thing happens.

Plus, I think this coming fall is going to be historic at colleges so it's a whole new world. If Covid sticks around all year a ton more kids are staying home and going to junior colleges as it's silly to spend big tuition money to go to school online.
brad.clarkston
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by brad.clarkston »

My son's a junior this year in college.

Freshman year was pretty easy, he picked three schools we visited them and he decided on the best math school in the area (S&T Rolla, MO).

Financials was also easy we make way outside the amount of money for public aid so we didn't bother.
He's using his 529 to bankroll all four years so no student loans needed (Masters/PHD might be different if he goes that route).

The only scholarship he got was the MO Brightflight Program for excellent grades. That was a nice $5k a year reduction.

Full room and board is about $32k a year. This year he's a RM for his dorm floor so that takes out the room payment which brings it down to about $20k (still paying for food tickets).
Minty
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Minty »

Dear Spouse and I are in our sixth year of paying for 8 years of undergraduate education for our children, who applied to a wide range of public and private colleges. Our experience was that at most levels of objective qualifications, most applicants will have a choice of paying full freight at a higher ranked school, or getting a discount at a school ranked a notch or two below. In addition, we received need-based financial aid, including grants, even when our gross income exceeded $350,000, particularly when we had two in school simultaneously. All of this is to say that for many applicants it is well worth it to engage in a thoughtful, national, market test.
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

brad.clarkston wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:19 pm My son's a junior this year in college.

Freshman year was pretty easy, he picked three schools we visited them and he decided on the best math school in the area (S&T Rolla, MO).

Financials was also easy we make way outside the amount of money for public aid so we didn't bother.
He's using his 529 to bankroll all four years so no student loans needed (Masters/PHD might be different if he goes that route).

The only scholarship he got was the MO Brightflight Program for excellent grades. That was a nice $5k a year reduction.

Full room and board is about $32k a year. This year he's a RM for his dorm floor so that takes out the room payment which brings it down to about $20k (still paying for food tickets).
Is that a private school? Price tag isn’t bad if it is. State schools up here are running close to $30k a year.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
momvesting
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by momvesting »

First of all, I agree with DIY test prep, but the kid has to be motivated and needs some help from a somewhat knowledgeable adult. I did it with my kid, a few tests we did together, untimed, discussing answers as we went. We also did LOTS of timed tests and graded/discussed them. She went from a 26 to a 32.

Some state schools will automatically give you in state tuition if you get a certain ACT or SAT score. Others will give you in state if you get any merit aid at all. The list varies depending on what your kid wants to major in and where those programs are available. Know your deadlines though, a lot of state schools have really late deadlines, like May, June, or even July, but to get merit aid or in state tuition based on ACT or GPA, you may have a much earlier deadline.

Also be aware that several schools play games with admissions. Tulane is a great example of this. You pretty much have to apply with one of their ED plans to get admitted, and ED means you are committed before you see the bill. My kid had much better stats than some of the kids we were seeing on College Confidential who were getting in ED or ED2 and getting large merit awards. My kid never made it off the waiting list. We saw similar games with Syracuse and Carnegie Mellon, they are protecting their yield rates.

It is a lot of research on your part and on the part of the kid. Your kid must do a bunch of their own research and be invested in the process. They need to have a good grasp of the financial situation too, for example, for my kid the CA schools (UCLA, Berkley) were out even if they had the major she wanted because for our income level, they were pricier than the private schools she was applying to.

Use the Net Price Calculator: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay- ... alculators# (Left side, second one down) to get an idea of the price based on your financial situation. Schools that are not listed often have their own calculators on their websites.
brad.clarkston
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by brad.clarkston »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:05 am
brad.clarkston wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:19 pm My son's a junior this year in college.

Freshman year was pretty easy, he picked three schools we visited them and he decided on the best math school in the area (S&T Rolla, MO).

Financials was also easy we make way outside the amount of money for public aid so we didn't bother.
He's using his 529 to bankroll all four years so no student loans needed (Masters/PHD might be different if he goes that route).

The only scholarship he got was the MO Brightflight Program for excellent grades. That was a nice $5k a year reduction.

Full room and board is about $32k a year. This year he's a RM for his dorm floor so that takes out the room payment which brings it down to about $20k (still paying for food tickets).
Is that a private school? Price tag isn’t bad if it is. State schools up here are running close to $30k a year.
No it's part of the University of Missouri state program but it is considered a top flight math/eng school which is better than a general MU deg.
It's a bit higher priced but it's a nice small lazy campus out in the middle of no where with far less social issues and it's the only school that would let him work in the nuclear reactor as a undergrad once he was accredited.
Topic Author
manatee2005
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by manatee2005 »

Bobby206 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:57 pm Some good info above.

We live out west and can go to WUE schools and pay in-state + 50%. That's about 8 western states and about 100 4 year schools. I noticed many other state universities have similar programs for neighboring states. So look around as that increases your pool of schools if you want public.

Generally public will be cheaper than private.

Each school website has a net cost calculator but I have heard they are not that accurate.

I have heard private schools might negotiate a bit but probably just second tier and below.

Figure state schools (with room/board) are $25k-35k a year and private is $50k-70k. It's easy to qualify for scholarships at second tier private schools but they will generally still be more expensive than public. Each school different and each kid different so just generalizing here.

Every school has great online programs right now. Check a few out to learn about the schools.

SAT/ACT is optional at almost all schools this year but to me you should find a way for your kid to take the test if possible. Some scholarships still require it, even if school doesn't, though that may change. I would do some online practice and/or tutoring as your score can raise a lot and that helps at all schools!

Good luck!
It looks like SAT is not optional at U of Alabama so he’ll have to take it.

WUE is not that great. One of my friends paid $50k for one year of university of Oregon. His kid was so depressed by cloudy weather that he took every chance to fly home to California. Ended up dropping out after 1 year. $50k down the drains
Last edited by manatee2005 on Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
Topic Author
manatee2005
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by manatee2005 »

KlangFool wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:06 pm OP,


1) Which state are you in?


2) Where does your kid rank in terms of PSAT/NMSQT? National Merit Scholar?


https://www.nationalmerit.org/s/1758/in ... 2&pgid=424


KlangFool
We’re in California. Unfortunately they cancelled all SATs since March cos of COVID so he doesn’t have an sat score. He does have a lot of AP classes and he was in sports plus charity activities, so at least the rigor and extracurriculars are good.
Last edited by manatee2005 on Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
brad.clarkston
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by brad.clarkston »

manatee2005 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:54 am
Yeah it looks like it’s not optional at U of Alabama so he’ll have to take it.

WUE is not that great. One of my friends paid $50k for one hear of university of Oregon. His kid was so depressed by cloudy weather that he took every chance to fly home to California. Ended up dropping out after 1 year. $50k down the drains

That's another good point to make for new freshmen. I had a talk with my son several times before and during his freshman year about the college drop out rates it's pretty high now that everyone can enter but not everyone is built for college.

He started with 8 kids from his high school they all stayed in the freshman dorm and worked together on whatever the others struggled in. His second year it was down to 4 returning, they got a dorm together but it was a rough year. S&T is brutal on Sophomores they stress it to first and second year students, you take all of your math classes those two years and the joke is even the journalist majors have to take calc2 - which they do.

This year it's just him and one other and they are across campus from each other.


The key is for them is to stay motivated and active in and out of class. He's the president of his nuclear design team and is teaching/learning with his floor group how to cook this year. To me the design teams is what hooked him and will help him get past not knowing anyone this year and next.
Topic Author
manatee2005
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by manatee2005 »

momvesting wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:36 am First of all, I agree with DIY test prep, but the kid has to be motivated and needs some help from a somewhat knowledgeable adult. I did it with my kid, a few tests we did together, untimed, discussing answers as we went. We also did LOTS of timed tests and graded/discussed them. She went from a 26 to a 32.

Some state schools will automatically give you in state tuition if you get a certain ACT or SAT score. Others will give you in state if you get any merit aid at all. The list varies depending on what your kid wants to major in and where those programs are available. Know your deadlines though, a lot of state schools have really late deadlines, like May, June, or even July, but to get merit aid or in state tuition based on ACT or GPA, you may have a much earlier deadline.

Also be aware that several schools play games with admissions. Tulane is a great example of this. You pretty much have to apply with one of their ED plans to get admitted, and ED means you are committed before you see the bill. My kid had much better stats than some of the kids we were seeing on College Confidential who were getting in ED or ED2 and getting large merit awards. My kid never made it off the waiting list. We saw similar games with Syracuse and Carnegie Mellon, they are protecting their yield rates.

It is a lot of research on your part and on the part of the kid. Your kid must do a bunch of their own research and be invested in the process. They need to have a good grasp of the financial situation too, for example, for my kid the CA schools (UCLA, Berkley) were out even if they had the major she wanted because for our income level, they were pricier than the private schools she was applying to.

Use the Net Price Calculator: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay- ... alculators# (Left side, second one down) to get an idea of the price based on your financial situation. Schools that are not listed often have their own calculators on their websites.
For Tulane does it depend on which state your kid is applying from? I’m in California and I’ve heard a lot of kids from California are getting discounted tuition to Tulane.
chipperd
Posts: 967
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:58 am
Location: here and now

Re: Shopping for college

Post by chipperd »

Parent of current college junior and sophomore as well as a high school senior. Here is my experience and recommendation.
(Note: most schools are waiving the standardized (ACT/SAT) requirement for attendance due to Covid).

1) There is the sticker price/full price to attend and there is the true cost to attend a school. DO NOT be thrown by the school's sticker price. Our kids both attend small, private university and pay a small percentage of the posted COA (31% and 11% respectively) . Your income is a large part of what the true cost of attendance (COA) for you child to attend a college or university. Exactly what weight the family income, and other financial particulars are given, are all part of each school's secret sauce formula to financial aid. You will never know. Complete potential schools' Net Price Calculators (NPC) to get a realistic sense of what that college/university will cost given your income, savings and other financial data from two years ago (ie: for fall 2021 attendance, 2019 tax return info will be input into financial aid forms) . Every school will have one. Just google the schools' name and net price calculator.

2) There are two categories of funds available to lower the sticker price a school will publish: Merit money and financial aid.
a) Merit money: funds offered by the school to attract a student seen as desirable by that school. There are many reasons a school may see a student as desirable, which include but aren't limited to: GPA, standardized test scores, sports, extra curricular activities, volunteer work, leadership positions, difficulty of classes taken, AP scores, special talent, work history and on and on.
b) Financial Aid: funds offered by a school based on you and your child's financial data from 2019. Complete the FAFSA and the CSS profile (some
400 schools, mainly the upper tier private and public universities require this additional financial form completed to be considered for aid). Aid can come in many forms including: grants from the school, grants from the government ( a grant doesn't need to be repaid) or loans. Loans come in two forms: subsidized and unsubsidized.
Interest on a subsidized loan doesn't start to accumulate until 6 months after graduation. An unsubsidized loan
starts to accrue interest immediately. Our kids only take the subsidized loan to pay their portion (they pay a percentage of their education and
we pay a percentage of their education). Each school school's NPC will tell you fairly accurately, how much that school will cost your son based on
the financial particulars. Some include questions about GPA or other data to see what type of merit money they might offer. In both of our kids' cases, the NPC kicked out a COA quite a bit higher than the actual number they wound up with.

3) The net cost for your son to attend will be revealed with the acceptance letter , or be followed shortly thereafter. If you son is an athlete or has a special talent, those recruiting should offer (or you can ask for) something called an "early financial read". This will require you to be in touch with the financial aid office and much of your financial data will need to be submitted to the financial aid office. It will be worth your time to get this number. I do hear of some parents requesting and early financial read as a more typical applicant as well, tho financial aid offices are generally loath to provide this service as it takes a fair amount of their time to process the info to get a prospective student a COA without knowing he/she will definitely be attending. Applying early decision (binding) could make your case stronger in requesting an early financial read. Most kids going in as an athlete or special talent of some type can get an early financial read. If not, that school doesn't really want that athlete or special talent, imho.

As far as negotiation, due to our family income level, we have always appealed the financial aid decision (both our kids are in that special talent/athlete area, so the schools seem to want to keep them where they are). This has always lead to the school requesting, and us providing, our complete tax return from the prior year, as opposed to the two year look back. The schools have always thrown us anywhere from a few thousand more in grant money, to this year, several thousand more in grant money in one of my kids cases. An appeal, in our case, has never hurt them, but know that if your income actually went up from 2019 to 2020, they could reduce the amount of aid your son receives.

It's early, so I'm sure I left out something, so others please jump in and add or correct the above. Higher education is a business and know that you and your son are in the position of shopping around for a service provider. Schools have only so much grant money to give out and they want to get the most attractive student population each year with those limited dollars. How attractive your son can appear on an application and prospective interview will influence the bottom line.
"A portfolio is like a bar of soap, the more it's handled, the less there is." Dr. William Bernstein
KlangFool
Posts: 20052
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Shopping for college

Post by KlangFool »

manatee2005 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:00 am
KlangFool wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:06 pm OP,


1) Which state are you in?


2) Where does your kid rank in terms of PSAT/NMSQT? National Merit Scholar?


https://www.nationalmerit.org/s/1758/in ... 2&pgid=424


KlangFool
We’re in California. Unfortunately they cancelled all SATs since March cos of COVID so he doesn’t have an sat score. He does have a lot of AP classes and he was in sports plus charity activities, so at least the rigor and extracurriculars are good.
I asked for PSAT test score. Not SAT.

KlangFool
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smitcat
Posts: 7574
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Shopping for college

Post by smitcat »

chipperd wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:33 am Parent of current college junior and sophomore as well as a high school senior. Here is my experience and recommendation.
(Note: most schools are waiving the standardized (ACT/SAT) requirement for attendance due to Covid).

1) There is the sticker price/full price to attend and there is the true cost to attend a school. DO NOT be thrown by the school's sticker price. Our kids both attend small, private university and pay a small percentage of the posted COA (31% and 11% respectively) . Your income is a large part of what the true cost of attendance (COA) for you child to attend a college or university. Exactly what weight the family income, and other financial particulars are given, are all part of each school's secret sauce formula to financial aid. You will never know. Complete potential schools' Net Price Calculators (NPC) to get a realistic sense of what that college/university will cost given your income, savings and other financial data from two years ago (ie: for fall 2021 attendance, 2019 tax return info will be input into financial aid forms) . Every school will have one. Just google the schools' name and net price calculator.

2) There are two categories of funds available to lower the sticker price a school will publish: Merit money and financial aid.
a) Merit money: funds offered by the school to attract a student seen as desirable by that school. There are many reasons a school may see a student as desirable, which include but aren't limited to: GPA, standardized test scores, sports, extra curricular activities, volunteer work, leadership positions, difficulty of classes taken, AP scores, special talent, work history and on and on.
b) Financial Aid: funds offered by a school based on you and your child's financial data from 2019. Complete the FAFSA and the CSS profile (some
400 schools, mainly the upper tier private and public universities require this additional financial form completed to be considered for aid). Aid can come in many forms including: grants from the school, grants from the government ( a grant doesn't need to be repaid) or loans. Loans come in two forms: subsidized and unsubsidized.
Interest on a subsidized loan doesn't start to accumulate until 6 months after graduation. An unsubsidized loan
starts to accrue interest immediately. Our kids only take the subsidized loan to pay their portion (they pay a percentage of their education and
we pay a percentage of their education). Each school school's NPC will tell you fairly accurately, how much that school will cost your son based on
the financial particulars. Some include questions about GPA or other data to see what type of merit money they might offer. In both of our kids' cases, the NPC kicked out a COA quite a bit higher than the actual number they wound up with.

3) The net cost for your son to attend will be revealed with the acceptance letter , or be followed shortly thereafter. If you son is an athlete or has a special talent, those recruiting should offer (or you can ask for) something called an "early financial read". This will require you to be in touch with the financial aid office and much of your financial data will need to be submitted to the financial aid office. It will be worth your time to get this number. I do hear of some parents requesting and early financial read as a more typical applicant as well, tho financial aid offices are generally loath to provide this service as it takes a fair amount of their time to process the info to get a prospective student a COA without knowing he/she will definitely be attending. Applying early decision (binding) could make your case stronger in requesting an early financial read. Most kids going in as an athlete or special talent of some type can get an early financial read. If not, that school doesn't really want that athlete or special talent, imho.

As far as negotiation, due to our family income level, we have always appealed the financial aid decision (both our kids are in that special talent/athlete area, so the schools seem to want to keep them where they are). This has always lead to the school requesting, and us providing, our complete tax return from the prior year, as opposed to the two year look back. The schools have always thrown us anywhere from a few thousand more in grant money, to this year, several thousand more in grant money in one of my kids cases. An appeal, in our case, has never hurt them, but know that if your income actually went up from 2019 to 2020, they could reduce the amount of aid your son receives.

It's early, so I'm sure I left out something, so others please jump in and add or correct the above. Higher education is a business and know that you and your son are in the position of shopping around for a service provider. Schools have only so much grant money to give out and they want to get the most attractive student population each year with those limited dollars. How attractive your son can appear on an application and prospective interview will influence the bottom line.
Excellent post and very accurate based upon what our duaghter went thru about 7 years back.
A few other things we did see:
- Once the potential college list was short visiting and knowing an admissions person will greatly add in the help and early understanding of costs
- Admissions people know about all of the available programs and options, many will not typically be known
- After a sucessful start many of these students will be able to get college 'jobs' on campus to help out
- Some of the jobs our daughter did at the college were: admissions ambassador, athletic assistant, tutor, library assistant , RA
- Note on subsidized loans... the loan interest would not begin to accumulate untill 9 months after status of non full time student. That meant 4 years undergrad, 2 years graduate and now suspended again by the covid19 decree. Over 7 years so far without the 3.4% interest accumulating.
chipperd
Posts: 967
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:58 am
Location: here and now

Re: Shopping for college

Post by chipperd »

smitcat wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:07 am
chipperd wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:33 am Parent of current college junior and sophomore as well as a high school senior. Here is my experience and recommendation.
(Note: most schools are waiving the standardized (ACT/SAT) requirement for attendance due to Covid).

1) There is the sticker price/full price to attend and there is the true cost to attend a school. DO NOT be thrown by the school's sticker price. Our kids both attend small, private university and pay a small percentage of the posted COA (31% and 11% respectively) . Your income is a large part of what the true cost of attendance (COA) for you child to attend a college or university. Exactly what weight the family income, and other financial particulars are given, are all part of each school's secret sauce formula to financial aid. You will never know. Complete potential schools' Net Price Calculators (NPC) to get a realistic sense of what that college/university will cost given your income, savings and other financial data from two years ago (ie: for fall 2021 attendance, 2019 tax return info will be input into financial aid forms) . Every school will have one. Just google the schools' name and net price calculator.

2) There are two categories of funds available to lower the sticker price a school will publish: Merit money and financial aid.
a) Merit money: funds offered by the school to attract a student seen as desirable by that school. There are many reasons a school may see a student as desirable, which include but aren't limited to: GPA, standardized test scores, sports, extra curricular activities, volunteer work, leadership positions, difficulty of classes taken, AP scores, special talent, work history and on and on.
b) Financial Aid: funds offered by a school based on you and your child's financial data from 2019. Complete the FAFSA and the CSS profile (some
400 schools, mainly the upper tier private and public universities require this additional financial form completed to be considered for aid). Aid can come in many forms including: grants from the school, grants from the government ( a grant doesn't need to be repaid) or loans. Loans come in two forms: subsidized and unsubsidized.
Interest on a subsidized loan doesn't start to accumulate until 6 months after graduation. An unsubsidized loan
starts to accrue interest immediately. Our kids only take the subsidized loan to pay their portion (they pay a percentage of their education and
we pay a percentage of their education). Each school school's NPC will tell you fairly accurately, how much that school will cost your son based on
the financial particulars. Some include questions about GPA or other data to see what type of merit money they might offer. In both of our kids' cases, the NPC kicked out a COA quite a bit higher than the actual number they wound up with.

3) The net cost for your son to attend will be revealed with the acceptance letter , or be followed shortly thereafter. If you son is an athlete or has a special talent, those recruiting should offer (or you can ask for) something called an "early financial read". This will require you to be in touch with the financial aid office and much of your financial data will need to be submitted to the financial aid office. It will be worth your time to get this number. I do hear of some parents requesting and early financial read as a more typical applicant as well, tho financial aid offices are generally loath to provide this service as it takes a fair amount of their time to process the info to get a prospective student a COA without knowing he/she will definitely be attending. Applying early decision (binding) could make your case stronger in requesting an early financial read. Most kids going in as an athlete or special talent of some type can get an early financial read. If not, that school doesn't really want that athlete or special talent, imho.

As far as negotiation, due to our family income level, we have always appealed the financial aid decision (both our kids are in that special talent/athlete area, so the schools seem to want to keep them where they are). This has always lead to the school requesting, and us providing, our complete tax return from the prior year, as opposed to the two year look back. The schools have always thrown us anywhere from a few thousand more in grant money, to this year, several thousand more in grant money in one of my kids cases. An appeal, in our case, has never hurt them, but know that if your income actually went up from 2019 to 2020, they could reduce the amount of aid your son receives.

It's early, so I'm sure I left out something, so others please jump in and add or correct the above. Higher education is a business and know that you and your son are in the position of shopping around for a service provider. Schools have only so much grant money to give out and they want to get the most attractive student population each year with those limited dollars. How attractive your son can appear on an application and prospective interview will influence the bottom line.
Excellent post and very accurate based upon what our duaghter went thru about 7 years back.
A few other things we did see:
- Once the potential college list was short visiting and knowing an admissions person will greatly add in the help and early understanding of costs
- Admissions people know about all of the available programs and options, many will not typically be known
- After a sucessful start many of these students will be able to get college 'jobs' on campus to help out
- Some of the jobs our daughter did at the college were: admissions ambassador, athletic assistant, tutor, library assistant , RA
- Note on subsidized loans... the loan interest would not begin to accumulate untill 9 months after status of non full time student. That meant 4 years undergrad, 2 years graduate and now suspended again by the covid19 decree. Over 7 years so far without the 3.4% interest accumulating.
smitcat:
Wow, I didn't not realize that about the interest accumulation not happening until 9 months after being a non full time student. Very useful in our case due to graduate schools. Thanks for that tip.
"A portfolio is like a bar of soap, the more it's handled, the less there is." Dr. William Bernstein
smitcat
Posts: 7574
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Shopping for college

Post by smitcat »

chipperd wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:15 am
smitcat wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:07 am
chipperd wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:33 am Parent of current college junior and sophomore as well as a high school senior. Here is my experience and recommendation.
(Note: most schools are waiving the standardized (ACT/SAT) requirement for attendance due to Covid).

1) There is the sticker price/full price to attend and there is the true cost to attend a school. DO NOT be thrown by the school's sticker price. Our kids both attend small, private university and pay a small percentage of the posted COA (31% and 11% respectively) . Your income is a large part of what the true cost of attendance (COA) for you child to attend a college or university. Exactly what weight the family income, and other financial particulars are given, are all part of each school's secret sauce formula to financial aid. You will never know. Complete potential schools' Net Price Calculators (NPC) to get a realistic sense of what that college/university will cost given your income, savings and other financial data from two years ago (ie: for fall 2021 attendance, 2019 tax return info will be input into financial aid forms) . Every school will have one. Just google the schools' name and net price calculator.

2) There are two categories of funds available to lower the sticker price a school will publish: Merit money and financial aid.
a) Merit money: funds offered by the school to attract a student seen as desirable by that school. There are many reasons a school may see a student as desirable, which include but aren't limited to: GPA, standardized test scores, sports, extra curricular activities, volunteer work, leadership positions, difficulty of classes taken, AP scores, special talent, work history and on and on.
b) Financial Aid: funds offered by a school based on you and your child's financial data from 2019. Complete the FAFSA and the CSS profile (some
400 schools, mainly the upper tier private and public universities require this additional financial form completed to be considered for aid). Aid can come in many forms including: grants from the school, grants from the government ( a grant doesn't need to be repaid) or loans. Loans come in two forms: subsidized and unsubsidized.
Interest on a subsidized loan doesn't start to accumulate until 6 months after graduation. An unsubsidized loan
starts to accrue interest immediately. Our kids only take the subsidized loan to pay their portion (they pay a percentage of their education and
we pay a percentage of their education). Each school school's NPC will tell you fairly accurately, how much that school will cost your son based on
the financial particulars. Some include questions about GPA or other data to see what type of merit money they might offer. In both of our kids' cases, the NPC kicked out a COA quite a bit higher than the actual number they wound up with.

3) The net cost for your son to attend will be revealed with the acceptance letter , or be followed shortly thereafter. If you son is an athlete or has a special talent, those recruiting should offer (or you can ask for) something called an "early financial read". This will require you to be in touch with the financial aid office and much of your financial data will need to be submitted to the financial aid office. It will be worth your time to get this number. I do hear of some parents requesting and early financial read as a more typical applicant as well, tho financial aid offices are generally loath to provide this service as it takes a fair amount of their time to process the info to get a prospective student a COA without knowing he/she will definitely be attending. Applying early decision (binding) could make your case stronger in requesting an early financial read. Most kids going in as an athlete or special talent of some type can get an early financial read. If not, that school doesn't really want that athlete or special talent, imho.

As far as negotiation, due to our family income level, we have always appealed the financial aid decision (both our kids are in that special talent/athlete area, so the schools seem to want to keep them where they are). This has always lead to the school requesting, and us providing, our complete tax return from the prior year, as opposed to the two year look back. The schools have always thrown us anywhere from a few thousand more in grant money, to this year, several thousand more in grant money in one of my kids cases. An appeal, in our case, has never hurt them, but know that if your income actually went up from 2019 to 2020, they could reduce the amount of aid your son receives.

It's early, so I'm sure I left out something, so others please jump in and add or correct the above. Higher education is a business and know that you and your son are in the position of shopping around for a service provider. Schools have only so much grant money to give out and they want to get the most attractive student population each year with those limited dollars. How attractive your son can appear on an application and prospective interview will influence the bottom line.
Excellent post and very accurate based upon what our duaghter went thru about 7 years back.
A few other things we did see:
- Once the potential college list was short visiting and knowing an admissions person will greatly add in the help and early understanding of costs
- Admissions people know about all of the available programs and options, many will not typically be known
- After a sucessful start many of these students will be able to get college 'jobs' on campus to help out
- Some of the jobs our daughter did at the college were: admissions ambassador, athletic assistant, tutor, library assistant , RA
- Note on subsidized loans... the loan interest would not begin to accumulate untill 9 months after status of non full time student. That meant 4 years undergrad, 2 years graduate and now suspended again by the covid19 decree. Over 7 years so far without the 3.4% interest accumulating.
smitcat:
Wow, I didn't not realize that about the interest accumulation not happening until 9 months after being a non full time student. Very useful in our case due to graduate schools. Thanks for that tip.
Read your loan docs carefully but full time Grad school is often figured at 9 credits and things like externships and clinicals count as full time.
chipperd
Posts: 967
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:58 am
Location: here and now

Re: Shopping for college

Post by chipperd »

smitcat wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:35 am
chipperd wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:15 am
smitcat wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:07 am
chipperd wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:33 am Parent of current college junior and sophomore as well as a high school senior. Here is my experience and recommendation.
(Note: most schools are waiving the standardized (ACT/SAT) requirement for attendance due to Covid).

1) There is the sticker price/full price to attend and there is the true cost to attend a school. DO NOT be thrown by the school's sticker price. Our kids both attend small, private university and pay a small percentage of the posted COA (31% and 11% respectively) . Your income is a large part of what the true cost of attendance (COA) for you child to attend a college or university. Exactly what weight the family income, and other financial particulars are given, are all part of each school's secret sauce formula to financial aid. You will never know. Complete potential schools' Net Price Calculators (NPC) to get a realistic sense of what that college/university will cost given your income, savings and other financial data from two years ago (ie: for fall 2021 attendance, 2019 tax return info will be input into financial aid forms) . Every school will have one. Just google the schools' name and net price calculator.

2) There are two categories of funds available to lower the sticker price a school will publish: Merit money and financial aid.
a) Merit money: funds offered by the school to attract a student seen as desirable by that school. There are many reasons a school may see a student as desirable, which include but aren't limited to: GPA, standardized test scores, sports, extra curricular activities, volunteer work, leadership positions, difficulty of classes taken, AP scores, special talent, work history and on and on.
b) Financial Aid: funds offered by a school based on you and your child's financial data from 2019. Complete the FAFSA and the CSS profile (some
400 schools, mainly the upper tier private and public universities require this additional financial form completed to be considered for aid). Aid can come in many forms including: grants from the school, grants from the government ( a grant doesn't need to be repaid) or loans. Loans come in two forms: subsidized and unsubsidized.
Interest on a subsidized loan doesn't start to accumulate until 6 months after graduation. An unsubsidized loan
starts to accrue interest immediately. Our kids only take the subsidized loan to pay their portion (they pay a percentage of their education and
we pay a percentage of their education). Each school school's NPC will tell you fairly accurately, how much that school will cost your son based on
the financial particulars. Some include questions about GPA or other data to see what type of merit money they might offer. In both of our kids' cases, the NPC kicked out a COA quite a bit higher than the actual number they wound up with.

3) The net cost for your son to attend will be revealed with the acceptance letter , or be followed shortly thereafter. If you son is an athlete or has a special talent, those recruiting should offer (or you can ask for) something called an "early financial read". This will require you to be in touch with the financial aid office and much of your financial data will need to be submitted to the financial aid office. It will be worth your time to get this number. I do hear of some parents requesting and early financial read as a more typical applicant as well, tho financial aid offices are generally loath to provide this service as it takes a fair amount of their time to process the info to get a prospective student a COA without knowing he/she will definitely be attending. Applying early decision (binding) could make your case stronger in requesting an early financial read. Most kids going in as an athlete or special talent of some type can get an early financial read. If not, that school doesn't really want that athlete or special talent, imho.

As far as negotiation, due to our family income level, we have always appealed the financial aid decision (both our kids are in that special talent/athlete area, so the schools seem to want to keep them where they are). This has always lead to the school requesting, and us providing, our complete tax return from the prior year, as opposed to the two year look back. The schools have always thrown us anywhere from a few thousand more in grant money, to this year, several thousand more in grant money in one of my kids cases. An appeal, in our case, has never hurt them, but know that if your income actually went up from 2019 to 2020, they could reduce the amount of aid your son receives.

It's early, so I'm sure I left out something, so others please jump in and add or correct the above. Higher education is a business and know that you and your son are in the position of shopping around for a service provider. Schools have only so much grant money to give out and they want to get the most attractive student population each year with those limited dollars. How attractive your son can appear on an application and prospective interview will influence the bottom line.
Excellent post and very accurate based upon what our duaghter went thru about 7 years back.
A few other things we did see:
- Once the potential college list was short visiting and knowing an admissions person will greatly add in the help and early understanding of costs
- Admissions people know about all of the available programs and options, many will not typically be known
- After a sucessful start many of these students will be able to get college 'jobs' on campus to help out
- Some of the jobs our daughter did at the college were: admissions ambassador, athletic assistant, tutor, library assistant , RA
- Note on subsidized loans... the loan interest would not begin to accumulate untill 9 months after status of non full time student. That meant 4 years undergrad, 2 years graduate and now suspended again by the covid19 decree. Over 7 years so far without the 3.4% interest accumulating.
smitcat:
Wow, I didn't not realize that about the interest accumulation not happening until 9 months after being a non full time student. Very useful in our case due to graduate schools. Thanks for that tip.
Read your loan docs carefully but full time Grad school is often figured at 9 credits and things like externships and clinicals count as full time.
Will do. Thanks again!
"A portfolio is like a bar of soap, the more it's handled, the less there is." Dr. William Bernstein
Bobby206
Posts: 523
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:01 pm

Re: Shopping for college

Post by Bobby206 »

manatee2005 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:54 am
Bobby206 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:57 pm Some good info above.

We live out west and can go to WUE schools and pay in-state + 50%. That's about 8 western states and about 100 4 year schools. I noticed many other state universities have similar programs for neighboring states. So look around as that increases your pool of schools if you want public.

Generally public will be cheaper than private.

Each school website has a net cost calculator but I have heard they are not that accurate.

I have heard private schools might negotiate a bit but probably just second tier and below.

Figure state schools (with room/board) are $25k-35k a year and private is $50k-70k. It's easy to qualify for scholarships at second tier private schools but they will generally still be more expensive than public. Each school different and each kid different so just generalizing here.

Every school has great online programs right now. Check a few out to learn about the schools.

SAT/ACT is optional at almost all schools this year but to me you should find a way for your kid to take the test if possible. Some scholarships still require it, even if school doesn't, though that may change. I would do some online practice and/or tutoring as your score can raise a lot and that helps at all schools!

Good luck!
It looks like SAT is not optional at U of Alabama so he’ll have to take it.

WUE is not that great. One of my friends paid $50k for one year of university of Oregon. His kid was so depressed by cloudy weather that he took every chance to fly home to California. Ended up dropping out after 1 year. $50k down the drains
I imagine some schools that say they are still mandating the SAT will change that. Although they might not change that for scholarships. I had a friend's daughter looking at Alabama and they had some great scholarship opportunities for high achievers.

Oregon is not in the WUE program but if it was it would be $30k all-in for those that qualify not $50k. WUE is in-state tuition ($12k) + 50% ($6k) + room/board (about $12k). So maybe they were just paying out of state tuition which would be close to $50k!? I agree too much rain in Oregon. I do have a very good friend that went to U of O and LOVED it. So to each their own but don't confuse $50k and WUE as those are different things. WUE is only available to the people that live in the western states but there are some good schools on the list such as U of Arizona and U of Utah to name a couple better known ones.
Topic Author
manatee2005
Posts: 1694
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:17 pm

Re: Shopping for college

Post by manatee2005 »

Bobby206 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:57 am
manatee2005 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:54 am
Bobby206 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:57 pm Some good info above.

We live out west and can go to WUE schools and pay in-state + 50%. That's about 8 western states and about 100 4 year schools. I noticed many other state universities have similar programs for neighboring states. So look around as that increases your pool of schools if you want public.

Generally public will be cheaper than private.

Each school website has a net cost calculator but I have heard they are not that accurate.

I have heard private schools might negotiate a bit but probably just second tier and below.

Figure state schools (with room/board) are $25k-35k a year and private is $50k-70k. It's easy to qualify for scholarships at second tier private schools but they will generally still be more expensive than public. Each school different and each kid different so just generalizing here.

Every school has great online programs right now. Check a few out to learn about the schools.

SAT/ACT is optional at almost all schools this year but to me you should find a way for your kid to take the test if possible. Some scholarships still require it, even if school doesn't, though that may change. I would do some online practice and/or tutoring as your score can raise a lot and that helps at all schools!

Good luck!
It looks like SAT is not optional at U of Alabama so he’ll have to take it.

WUE is not that great. One of my friends paid $50k for one year of university of Oregon. His kid was so depressed by cloudy weather that he took every chance to fly home to California. Ended up dropping out after 1 year. $50k down the drains
I imagine some schools that say they are still mandating the SAT will change that. Although they might not change that for scholarships. I had a friend's daughter looking at Alabama and they had some great scholarship opportunities for high achievers.

Oregon is not in the WUE program but if it was it would be $30k all-in for those that qualify not $50k. WUE is in-state tuition ($12k) + 50% ($6k) + room/board (about $12k). So maybe they were just paying out of state tuition which would be close to $50k!? I agree too much rain in Oregon. I do have a very good friend that went to U of O and LOVED it. So to each their own but don't confuse $50k and WUE as those are different things. WUE is only available to the people that live in the western states but there are some good schools on the list such as U of Arizona and U of Utah to name a couple better known ones.
Oh wow yeah they stopped being part of WUE in 2012.
Out of state tuition is 36k plus room and board so $50k makes sense.
Enjoying Oregon depends on where you grew up. Southern Californians who grew up with the sun might not be able to adjust well.
otinkyad
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by otinkyad »

Bobby206 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:57 pm We live out west and can go to WUE schools and pay in-state + 50%. That's about 8 western states and about 100 4 year schools. I noticed many other state universities have similar programs for neighboring states. So look around as that increases your pool of schools if you want public.
WUE doesn’t apply to impacted majors. None of the schools offer a discount for computer science, for example. I think the same applies to engineering, business, and probably pre-med. We’re also from California, and looked closely last year at the public schools in Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.

As I mentioned, tuition is still relatively modest and merit aid is available, so don’t discount them, even if the WUE tuition break is not available for your intended major.
Bobby206
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Bobby206 »

otinkyad wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:10 pm
Bobby206 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:57 pm We live out west and can go to WUE schools and pay in-state + 50%. That's about 8 western states and about 100 4 year schools. I noticed many other state universities have similar programs for neighboring states. So look around as that increases your pool of schools if you want public.
WUE doesn’t apply to impacted majors. None of the schools offer a discount for computer science, for example. I think the same applies to engineering, business, and probably pre-med. We’re also from California, and looked closely last year at the public schools in Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.

As I mentioned, tuition is still relatively modest and merit aid is available, so don’t discount them, even if the WUE tuition break is not available for your intended major.
I had not heard that before but that is good info. My kid's major is not impacted as far as I know but I will double check that as I am pretty sure they are going to a WUE school.
fullplay2024
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by fullplay2024 »

We live in Illinois and my son unfortunately got denied an admission to UIUC, our state flagship. He's currently a Computer Science freshman at UMich. Son was a National Merit finalist and had a full ride from a lower ranked school. Other than that, we received no funding from UMich or other public/private schools he got into. We're paying a full out-of-state sticker price of $65K per year. UMich is a great school, but $65K a year is a steep price to pay for a college education.
smitcat
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by smitcat »

fullplay2024 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:05 pm We live in Illinois and my son unfortunately got denied an admission to UIUC, our state flagship. He's currently a Computer Science freshman at UMich. Son was a National Merit finalist and had a full ride from a lower ranked school. Other than that, we received no funding from UMich or other public/private schools he got into. We're paying a full out-of-state sticker price of $65K per year. UMich is a great school, but $65K a year is a steep price to pay for a college education.
"We're paying a full out-of-state sticker price of $65K per year."
What do you estimate the full costs to be with travel, food, personal items, activities etc per year?
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by TomatoTomahto »

fullplay2024 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:05 pm We live in Illinois and my son unfortunately got denied an admission to UIUC, our state flagship. He's currently a Computer Science freshman at UMich. Son was a National Merit finalist and had a full ride from a lower ranked school. Other than that, we received no funding from UMich or other public/private schools he got into. We're paying a full out-of-state sticker price of $65K per year. UMich is a great school, but $65K a year is a steep price to pay for a college education.
Unfortunate about UIUC, but my amateur prediction is that with the reduced (COVID) emphasis on big sports, Greek life, etc., that your son will do wonderfully at UMich. Great school, with perhaps a bit too much school spirit for its own good (anyone know a Mich grad that doesn’t LOVE the school? Me neither.).

My son went to Yale and also applied to Michigan (Computer Science). His cost of attendance was made up in no time after graduation. ROI off the charts.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
Normchad
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by Normchad »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:07 pm
fullplay2024 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:05 pm We live in Illinois and my son unfortunately got denied an admission to UIUC, our state flagship. He's currently a Computer Science freshman at UMich. Son was a National Merit finalist and had a full ride from a lower ranked school. Other than that, we received no funding from UMich or other public/private schools he got into. We're paying a full out-of-state sticker price of $65K per year. UMich is a great school, but $65K a year is a steep price to pay for a college education.
Unfortunate about UIUC, but my amateur prediction is that with the reduced (COVID) emphasis on big sports, Greek life, etc., that your son will do wonderfully at UMich. Great school, with perhaps a bit too much school spirit for its own good (anyone know a Mich grad that doesn’t LOVE the school? Me neither.).

My son went to Yale and also applied to Michigan (Computer Science). His cost of attendance was made up in no time after graduation. ROI off the charts.
Funnily enough, I am a Michigan grad. Computer Engineering.

I’m not in love with the school. I root for them in sports. I got a good education there, no doubt. But I live in another state now, and I never encouraged my own kids to apply there. 65K is just too much......

Of all the schools I am familiar with, in my observation, it is the Alums of Virginia Tech who love their school more than any other.... more than Umich, more than PSU, WVU, UVA, etc etc.

Not to derail the thread, but the things that make Michigan great, the things they are world renowned for, are not things that improve the quality of undergraduate education.
fullplay2024
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by fullplay2024 »

smitcat wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:35 pm
fullplay2024 wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:05 pm We live in Illinois and my son unfortunately got denied an admission to UIUC, our state flagship. He's currently a Computer Science freshman at UMich. Son was a National Merit finalist and had a full ride from a lower ranked school. Other than that, we received no funding from UMich or other public/private schools he got into. We're paying a full out-of-state sticker price of $65K per year. UMich is a great school, but $65K a year is a steep price to pay for a college education.
"We're paying a full out-of-state sticker price of $65K per year."
What do you estimate the full costs to be with travel, food, personal items, activities etc per year?
I'm budgeting additional $5K for travel, and personal items. That may be an underestimate but DS earns his pocket money through summer jobs.
fullplay2024
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by fullplay2024 »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:07 pm
Unfortunate about UIUC, but my amateur prediction is that with the reduced (COVID) emphasis on big sports, Greek life, etc., that your son will do wonderfully at UMich. Great school, with perhaps a bit too much school spirit for its own good (anyone know a Mich grad that doesn’t LOVE the school? Me neither.).

My son went to Yale and also applied to Michigan (Computer Science). His cost of attendance was made up in no time after graduation. ROI off the charts.
@TomatoTomahto - This is great to hear. My son has enough AP credits to graduate with a CS degree in 3 years. However, he wants to get Masters course work completed in 4 years. Regarding UIUC, it was of course a very disappointing outcome. We knew UIUC CS program was highly competitive. Being in-state, having a perfect ACT score (first attempt), with excellent GPA and decent extracurriculars were still not enough.

However, he is extremely happy with UMich, except for the price tag. I'm amazed with UMich brand loyalty among the alumni.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by TomatoTomahto »

@Fullplay2024, that’s what my son did. Combined MS/BS in 4 years, for no additional expense. And, since by some reckoning he wasn’t “only” an undergrad, he was eligible for some paid TA work that he might not otherwise have gotten.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
fwellimort
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by fwellimort »

To OP, US college process is quite confusing and requires a lot of research.

The sticker price might not always be the actual price.


First of all, keep in mind privates tend to have more money than public. So don't just discard privates as 'more expensive'.
Also, the US News ranking for some reason is roughly quite accurate with the financial aid ranking for privates:
(My/Peers experience being: Harvard/Princeton has best financial aid followed by Yale then Columbia then Stanford then MIT and so on. And each drop can be a huge difference in financial aid in the US News ranking)

A lot of private college sticker price has to do:
1. Family income
2. Student's GPA
3. Student's SAT/ACT
Yes, I understand ACT/SAT is optional and it's quite iffy this year with covid. However, many scholarships/financial aid depend on high test scores. Some schools give a lot if the child did well even on just the PSATs.

You will have to go to each school's site individually and plug and chug numbers. Note, each school's financial aid system is different. Some schools count your house as cash. Other schools consider your first house as 'not an asset'. Some schools (many) put a threshold on the cost of a home before being considered disposable cash (if house if $900k and school considers first $350k as 'not cash', then your family asset is only $550k) and so on.

Easiest example would be Harvard (note, Harvard/Princeton are not the norm when it comes to financial aid but it's a simple example):
Everyone accepted to Harvard will automatically be considered for financial aid scholarship. It's part of the acceptance letter.
You would shove in some numbers : https://college.harvard.edu/financial-a ... calculator
and get a result. Note, that result is not final. It's just an estimate and can be really off sometimes. You could make $150k and only pay $11k a year. Or you could make $150k in the very same school and depending on family circumstance, be asked to pay $78k a year. Nothings set in stone.

Then outside financial aid scholarships, there are some schools that offer merit scholarships. USC/Vanderbilt/WustL are pretty famous for this. Lots of half/full tuition scholarships if the student scores high on SAT/ACT and has a good GPA.
And some state schools such as U of Alabama does this too : 3.5+, 32+.

Of course, if the child is unwilling to take ACT/SAT due to covid this year, I wouldn't expect much of merit scholarships.
And if OP has a high family income, just note, outside merit scholarships, in-state schools are probably the best deals.
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manatee2005
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Re: Shopping for college

Post by manatee2005 »

otinkyad wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:10 pm
Bobby206 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:57 pm We live out west and can go to WUE schools and pay in-state + 50%. That's about 8 western states and about 100 4 year schools. I noticed many other state universities have similar programs for neighboring states. So look around as that increases your pool of schools if you want public.
WUE doesn’t apply to impacted majors. None of the schools offer a discount for computer science, for example. I think the same applies to engineering, business, and probably pre-med. We’re also from California, and looked closely last year at the public schools in Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.

As I mentioned, tuition is still relatively modest and merit aid is available, so don’t discount them, even if the WUE tuition break is not available for your intended major.
Yeah University of Arizona gives WUE only for 2 majors, mining and agriculture. Doesn’t help me much. Out of state is 36k plus room and board, $50k per year. Ouch.
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