Tips on Paying for College

New York Times – – June 22, 2016 – – By, Mark A. Stein.  For full story CLICK HERE

Students and parents navigating the college-selection process for the first time may benefit from the advice of experts familiar with college financing.

■ Students who may qualify for a highly selective college may find that less celebrated institutions are willing to offer more financial aid to attract high-quality students.

■ Don’t hesitate to apply for financial aid, even if you think your family makes too much money. You don’t know how much is available and which students might qualify.

■ You may not know how much a particular college wants you. It could be seeking more students from a particular area of the country or its orchestra might be desperate for an oboe player.

■ Remember that loans, unlike grants, do not reduce the cost of college, though loans with below-market interest rates could reduce the cost of borrowing.

■ Just because a college offers aid to a potential freshman, that doesn’t mean it will offer the same aid in subsequent years. Ask.

■ Tuition and other costs are likely to increase while a student is at college; grants generally do not. You may start with a scholarship that covers 33 percent of tuition and wind up with that same scholarship covering only 25 percent of tuition in later years.

■ Tuition and other costs are printed in brochures and posted on websites, but they are not carved in stone. Let a college know if you have other offers; try to negotiate a better deal.

■ File a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as Fafsa, every year, especially if family finances drop.

A college education will be expensive but maybe less so if students and their families are willing to play the game. “Sticker price, in almost all cases, is not what a family will pay,” said Jeff Levy, a private admissions counselor.

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