11 Factors to Determine Financial Aid



College costs serious bank and tuition is a real concern when deciding what school to attend. But the price you end up paying for school is different for every student at every school. When making your decision to attend a college, get all the facts about tuition and financial aid. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

  1. Applying to a school with a low sticker price may be less costly than applying to school on the meet-full-needs list. Even though colleges, promise to meet 100% need, the college's estimate of a student's need and EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) may be different than what the family estimates.
  2. The college's policy on student loans: some schools will grant enough money so that the student does not have to take out loans, while others may expect the student to take out modest loans.
  3. The way the college calculates a family's "need".
  4. What the college considers as its "cost" (Is room and board included in this number? Books?).
  5. The college's expectation for a student contribution: some schools expect students to pitch in summer earnings and hold a job while in school.
  6. How the college counts home equity: some schools consider home equity as part of a resource to pay for college.
  7. How the schools considers divorced parents: some schools consider the incomes of both parents and include stepparents, some make their own judgments about which set of parents should be responsible.
  8. The cutoff date for the meet-full-needs promise: some colleges only commit to meeting the full needs of students who complete aid applications before a certain date, some colleges don't make this promise to students who are admitted off the wait list, and others say the timing of the application doesn't affect this promise.
  9. The aid policy for international students.
  10. Whether the school also offers merit scholarships.
  11. The effect of an aid application on chances of admission: is the school need-blind or does it reserve a percentage of its admission to students who can afford full tuition?

If you are still worried about paying for college, be sure to check out all of the scholarships we offer!

Source: US News and World Report, February 18, 2010.
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