College is expensive, and growing more so every day. And while a small percentage of families can simply pull out the checkbook and pay the bill without sacrificing other priorities, for most the skyrocketing cost of college means taking out additional loans, postponing vacations, or pulling money out of retirement accounts.
At US College Planning, our goal is to make college as affordable as we can for families so that their children can obtain a world-class education without sacrificing their financial future. And one of the most important ways that we do this is by maximizing the aid each student is awarded from their school.
Below are three ways to accomplish this:
1) Apply to five or more schools. The laws of supply and demand apply as much to the college admissions game as they do anywhere else. If you or your student is admitted to only one university, you are at the mercy of that school when it comes to your aid award. Conversely, if you apply to six or seven and are accepted to three or four of them, you have dramatically increased your leverage. Many students have their heart set on a single college, and that’s fine—but understand that zeroing in on a single school dramatically reduces your ability to negotiate a great aid package.
2) Skip early decision. For the same reason that you should apply to a variety of schools, we recommend avoiding the early decision process. Sure, it increases your chances of admission—but if you are accepted, you are at the mercy of that single financial aid department, as we discussed above. Keep your options open and you’ll have a better chance of negotiating a great package.
3) Adjust your assets to maximize aid eligibility. The process of determining financial aid eligibility is exceptionally complicated, and in almost every case the financial circumstances of the family comes in to play. At times, short term asset allocation changes can make a big difference—contact us for more specific information.
Don’t pay more for college than you must—give us a call today if you’d like to learn more!