Net Price Calculators

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Do You Know What Net Price Is?

Do You Know What Net Price IsYesterday 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:

How Much Is That College In The Window?

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.

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Applying For Financial Aid

Applying For Financial AidIf your son or daughter is going to college, then you already know that you need to apply for financial aid. What you may not know is that there are two different financial aid applications.

First, let’s talk about the application everyone needs to fill out before we talk about the application some of you will need.

The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s the application that is required by every college in order to consider and then award financial aid to your son or daughter. The FAFSA is free and while it will take some time to fill out, if you organize yourself ahead of time it will be much easier.

The FAFSA is a smart form which you will find very helpful. Based on the information you enter, the FAFSA customizes the questions so that you only need to answer questions that pertain to your individual situation.

While everyone needs to fill out the FAFSA, based on colleges you are applying to, some of you may also need to fill out the CSS Profile.

The Profile is only required by a couple hundred private schools in addition to some scholarship programs. Unlike the FAFSA, the Profile is not free. It will cost you $16 to register and then an additional $9 per school for each school to which you send the form.

Starting your Profile application is a two-step process. First, you must register. And you must do this in one shot. There’s no saving and going back, so get your documents and information together first, register for the Profile, and then complete the applications.

To help yourself out with the FAFSA and the CSS Profile, you will want to collect the following before you get started:

  • Student’s social security number
  • Student’s driver’s license number
  • Statements for checking and savings accounts
  • Copy of last year’s tax return and W-2’s
  • Statements for any investment accounts
  • Current mortgage statement (Profile only)

Both applications go live on October 1st so it’s important to start your financial aid application planning now. While the college admissions process is about to take center stage for the next couple months, it’s also time to think about the financial end of things. It can get complicated with college visits, prepping for the ACT and SAT, completing applications and looking at the financial picture.

If you want some help and guidance to make sure you’re doing it right, set up an appointment today for a free consultation.

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