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College Talk Blog

Money and College

Application strategy and scholarship money


Students often apply to colleges that accept students with grade point averages and test scores at or above their own. They do so to gain admission to colleges they consider more prestigious because of higher academic admission requirements. However there is a price to that strategy and the price is scholarship money. 

Students are more likely to be offered scholarships at colleges where their grade point average and test scores are higher than the average applicant. A great strategy is to apply to colleges with admission requirements slightly below, at and above the student grade point average and test scores. This strategy gives students the opportunity to be accepted at more selective colleges as well as schools that will be more generous with scholarships. Students can then weigh the merits of prestige and lowered costs when they make their final choice.

Courts Rule in Favor of College Consumer Protection

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The great hope of families and students investing in higher education has been that student loan payments will be affordable with the expected salary students will earn after graduation. The D.C. District Court ruled this week that the US Department of Education can require schools to show salaries of graduates in relation to anticipated student loan monthly payments to allow consumers to make an informed choice.

The "Gainful Employment Rule",which goes into effect July 1, 2015, requires colleges to demonstrate that the expected loan payment of the average graduate does not exceed 8% of his total income or 20% of discretionary income.

They want how much?

Parents of students recently admitted to colleges often experience a sense of panic immediately after their elation about their child's success. The panic is in relation to the amount of money colleges expect them to contribute toward their child's college costs. Parents who have saved money they thought would be sufficient are surprised that they don't have enough to pay the balance owed after scholarships and other forms of financial assistance are applied.

Fortunately, most parents are eligible to borrow PLUS loans.

Don't forget to request your refund

The countdown to final college selection decisions for most US high school seniors is 16 days away (May 1st) but many parents have already given money to colleges in the form of room deposits in hope of getting good housing. In addition to deciding the college they will commit to, students need to make sure they move quickly to request return of any refundable deposits their parents paid to colleges they will not attend.

Many colleges warn students as soon as they offer them admission that to get the best housing (or any housing) it is best to pay their enrollment deposit early.

College Selection Logic Reversal

Are you telling your kid to apply ONLY to public colleges for which they would be classified as in-state students? That seems logical. But is it? Out of state colleges often look for out of state students and offer them tuition discounts and scholarships to encourage them to accept admission offers.
 
Consider allowing your high school senior to apply to public and private colleges from any state. Compare the programs offered, admission offers, financial aid and scholarship offers they receive and decide based on that.