How to Forecast the Expense of College

College admissions officers award merit scholarships to demonstrate their “value” of a student’s high school experience like signing bonuses for highly sought after employees. A merit scholarship acts as a “discount” on tuition, reducing the overall Cost of Attendance (COA) of any college education, as merit awards are typically renewable for four years.  Also, merit aid is awarded without regard…

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The search for merit aid begins with the proper valuation of a college degree

“Do you help with scholarships?” is often one of the first questions that parents ask me. Fearful of the ever-increasing cost of college tuition, they (mis)perceive a college education as a large purchase, rather than an investment.  To invest in a college education, both institution and family mutually consent to a partnership. Yet, in any partnership, both parties must first…

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Coming Changes to the FAFSA

Over the next three years, the Federal Department of Education will phase in changes to the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Aid, which may increase out of pocket college costs for families, yet reduce the complexity of applying for need-based financial aid. The following are highlights of the changes, as well as recommendations for families to consider:   NUMBER OF…

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College Tuition Discounts To Continue

Private universities discounted tuition in the form of merit scholarships and grants nearly 50% on average in the 2019-20 school year. Furthermore, tuition discounts for the 2020-21 school are forecasted to be 52.6% for full time, first year students, according to data from National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). And, in the current COVID-induced disruption of higher…

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Can I Change My 650 Word Common Application Essay After Submitting It?

Updated: November 2020 from the original posted in July 2018 The short answer is yes…with an *.  [See Below] But, like any life-impacting decision, the short answer doesn’t account for the complexities of choosing a college.  And, the last three words are what’s most important to keep in mind:  YOU, the applicant, are the one who’s doing the choosing of…

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Merit Scholarship Concerns

At some universities, SAT and ACT scores are used to award merit scholarships, in addition to being a metric for admissions. (Merit scholarships are awarded regardless of a student’s family’s financial status and based on an applicant’s qualifications, like GPA and SAT or ACT scores.) Many parents are concerned that their children will miss merit scholarship opportunities, if they do…

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Will My August 2018 SAT Scores Be Cancelled?

Rumors are circling and the internet is again buzzing with controversy about the August 25, 2018 SAT Reasoning Test.   The College Board is accused of “recycling” the August 2018 SAT from a test or practice test given in China and South Korea in October 2017.   A recently deactivated Reddit thread posted an answer key and test which appeared…

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NO SAT!?! NO ACT!?! UChicago’s Curve Ball

Testing is not the be-all and the end-all, said James G. Nondorf, U-Chicago’s dean of admissions and financial aid. He said he didn’t want “one little test score” to end up “scaring students off” who are otherwise qualified. From The Washington Post,  June 14, 2018 On June 14, 2018, the University of Chicago’s John W. Boyer, dean of the college,…

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Tuition Surging at California Public Universities for 2017-18

University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) students will pay more tuition for the 2017-18 school year.  For the first time in six years, both the UC and CSU boards have approved tuition and fee increases.  At the same time, Governor Jerry Brown proposes to phase out the state-sponsored Middle Class Scholarship program for students starting college for the first…

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Changes to the ACT Writing Section

The ACT will be changing the Writing portion of the test, starting in September 2015.  The following outlines the changes: Extended Writing Time: Students will have 40 minutes to craft an essay response, rather than the previous 30 minutes. Changed Prompt Style: Test takers will be presented a contemporary issue and three perspectives regarding the issue.   Students are expected to…

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The Modern “Starving” Student

College alumni often joke about days as a “deprived” undergrad, only eating instant noodles—fast, filling meals on a limited budget—like a badge of honor.  Growing numbers of today’s college students, however, embody the literal meaning of “starving” college student. According to the Wall Street Journal: In 2010, the UC [University of California] system added a food-security question to its biannual student…

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