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1 Jul 2016

College Can Be More Affordable Than You Think

In a continuing effort to bring interesting stories to our current and past clients, I’m sharing a heart warming article that I read in today’s Boston Globe that points to the feasibility of achieving that goal. In this case, the parent became an employee of a college; his 5 kids enjoyed free tuition once they qualified for admission.


I’m not recommending that parents become janitors in colleges. However, I am recommending that you take every option into consideration that is available when it comes to your student attending college.

1. If a student is intent on a particular school, examine the financial aid award. If it falls short, then appeal. If it includes a PLUS (Parent Loan), don’t include it as a resource. I don’t consider it to be financial aid….just a way for the college to “fill” the award. If parents spring for a PLUS the 1st year, they’ll most likely have to resort to it in subsequent years, and it’s not worth jeopardizing their retirement years to pay the college bill now.

2. Take a 2nd look at in-state colleges. They can end up costing 1/3 to half the cost of going to a private college. And if the student has the grades to qualify for the “Honors Program” they can get the very best education possible (depending on their own effort, and the particular school).

3. If the student is open to state schools, often times a state, outside of their own, may cost just a little more, and is often the same (or less) than their own state.

4. Go for those non-need based scholarships (after the need-based financial aid applications are done)…it’s hard work, but it is real. Start with your high school guidance list of non-profits, then expand to lists such as the College Board Scholarship, and FinAid databases.

5. If the resources for the ideal situation are not there, then consider alternatives such as commuting to college, or going to a community college for the first 2 years and then completing the degree requirements at a state or private institution.