Yesterday I was talking with the parent of one of my students and the conversation was concerning college costs. I had asked him where he and the student’s mother would like to be when it came time to paying for college. Essentially I needed to know how much they were capable of paying so that we could look at the student’s college list in a more informed way.
One thing I firmly believe is that you have to know what you can afford up front.
There’s no sense in investing your time and effort, not to mention your heart, in a college search which is absent of the implications of cost.
Having recently mentioned Marist as an option the student should consider, the dad said that their costs for tuition, room and board (roughly $44,000) was getting towards the higher end of their threshold.
So while this family’s ability to pay will create more options for them than a family who’s ability to pay is much less, the conversation reminded me that so many families haven’t been informed about net price.
So what is net price? It’s the cost a family will pay for one year of college after grant and scholarship aid has been awarded. This cost varies from person to person and you can learn more about why this is by reading a post I wrote about net price last year:
Essentially, the more competitive a student is when their grades and test scores are compared against the average grades and test scores for students who the college typically admits, the more likely it is that the student will receive a significant amount of aid which will then lower their net price.
With this idea in mind, a competitive student who applies to Marist and is awarded their Presidential Scholarship of $12,000 lowers their net price to roughly $32,000 thus making an expensive school more affordable.
One way you can start looking at a rough estimate of your net cost at a school is to use their net price calculator. Colleges are required to include one on their website, though some are easier to find than others. These calculators will ask you to enter some personal information and will then compute an estimated net price.
Not all calculators are created equal so be sure to pay close attention to the details of what the college estimates you will receive when you get your net price results.
If you want some help and guidance on your college search and application process, contact me today to set up an appointment for a free consultation. If you want to hear more about any of the schools on my travels, I’d be happy to talk to you about any of them as well.