net price

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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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Why You Should Know Your EFC

Last week I wrote a post about understanding the difference between net price and sticker price. Today, I wanted to carry the financial torch a bit further by talking about EFC.

EFC? What’s that you say? Another acronym?

Yup. The world of college admissions and financial aid is full of them.

EFC stands for expected family contribution. It is the amount of money you will be expected to contribute towards one year of your college costs. While it won’t paint the entire picture for you, it will serve as a starting point before you venture into how generous a school is with their aid. You won’t know your official EFC until after you’ve completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and, in my opinion, this is too late. You can’t fill out the FAFSA until after January 1st of the student’s senior year when decisions on where you are applying have already been made.

Rather, you should know your EFC before you start getting too deep into looking at colleges.

Parents of freshmen, sophomores and juniors, I’m talking to you.

For example, let’s say your EFC is $25,000. If you are looking at a college where the cost of attendance is $55,000 you can immediately see that you will be hoping to get $30,000 in aid. Conversely, if the college’s cost of attendance is $30,000, you shouldn’t be expecting much of anything outside of the basic student loan.

In the case of the former, $30,000 is a big difference to make up. The next step is to understand just how generous a school is and if they are going to help you out. Typically, the biggest factor in whether or not a college is going to offer you a financial aid package that meets your need is how competitive you are as an applicant.

Do yourself a favor and obtain your estimated EFC now. Write it down, understand it and use it when you are researching schools and want to know what a school is going to cost you.

If you have questions or would like some help figuring out how to reduce the cost of college, use the comment box below or email me directly at I would love to hear from you!

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