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Pay Less For College

1. Try To Learn How The Financial Aid Formulas Work.

Understanding the formulas the colleges use allows you to see how different things affect how much financial aid you’re eligible to receive. Knowing the how the formulas work before you apply allows you to legally organize your finances to maximize your eligibility for scholarships and financial aid.

2. Have Your Student Take Advanced Placement Courses

Advanced Placement Exams (AP) cost $87 dollars and many colleges grant 3-4 credits, depending on the score your student receives. Considering that the cost per credit hour is currently $844, placing out of introductory college classes thanks to an $87 test is a really good way to pay less.

3. Limit The Time Spent Looking For Private Scholarships

Over 98% of all the money available to help you with college expenses comes from the colleges themselves, the state you live in and the Federal Government. That means that private scholarships are less than 2% of the money available. Spending 98% of your time looking for less than 2% of the money is a waste of time.

4. Pick Colleges That Have A Track Record Of Offering Better Financial Aid

Not all colleges are equal. Just because you need financial aid, doesn’t mean the college has to offer you financial aid. Colleges historically meet a certain percentage of students’ need. And that need is met with a certain percentage of scholarship and grant money – that doesn’t have to be paid back. Knowing these numbers before you apply can save you the heartache later of discovering you’ve fallen in-love with a college you really can’t afford.

5. Go Through The Process As If You Need The Money – Even If You Don’t – Or You’ll Leave Money On The Table

The most expensive mistakes families make when it comes to scholarships and financial aid is giving up before they start. This is a huge mistake as 90% of available financial aid – including non-need-based scholarships and aid – is tied to filing the appropriate financial aid paperwork. So apply! You really have nothing to lose by applying for aid.