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 Admissions In the Time of COVID

Recently, I spoke with families at the Sacramento Buddhist Church about the current state of education, particularly changes to the college admissions process as a result of the near holistic COVID-induced disruption. I’ve highlighted several issues in the following post, as well as included the full recording. Questions about widespread test-optional admissions dominated our conversation, as a multi-generational precedent in…

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Chart: The Rising Cost of College in the U.S.

Paying for College: Risk Versus Reward

The 1200% increase in college tuition over the last four decades, outpacing inflation by nearly 1000%, is Reason Number One parents often anxiously ask me about how their kid can apply for scholarships. As the conversation unfolds, many often also reveal having saved some for their children’s college expenses, though the amount is woefully inadequate, and are now looking for…

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The 2021-22 FAFSA Is Open

The 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA, which U.S. universities use to determine what, if any, financial assistance for families, opened on October 1, 2020. Parents and students can submit the form online, only requiring some time and patience to complete, what can, on first glance, be reminiscent of a complex tax form. Furthermore,…

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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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Student Loan Interest Rates for 2020-21

Federal student loan interest rates for the upcoming 2020-21 school year will be set lower than the 2019-20 school year. The 2020-21 rates will be as follows: Undergraduate Direct Loans: 2.75% Graduate Student Direct Loans: 4.3% Parent PLUS Loans: 5.3% Student loan interest rates are set annually and apply to any loan taken during that school year. The interest rates…

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Student Debt in Seven Charts

Not all student debt is ruinous.  However, borrowing can be complex.  Loans spend tomorrow’s income today, and for college students, a promise of tomorrow’s income is spent to pay for expenses in the present day.  Understanding recent growth in student loans and the challenges of repayment can help potential student loan borrowers consider both the benefits and the risks before borrowing. For the last 30 years,…

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Wait…I Have Student Debt?!?

In a recent survey published by the Brookings Institute, current college students with student debt were unaware of the exact loan amounts, as well as what they’d eventually repay.  At $1.2 Trillion and growing daily, total student debt may be more complicated than we, as a society understand. Highlights of the findings are below: At a public four-year colleges, 24% correctly estimated their…

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Ahead of the Curve: December 13, 2013

From the News: How to Stop Worrying about College Rejection, Washington Post December 9, 2013 Could LinkedIn’s University Pages Make the Difference in the College Admissions Process?, CBS Los Angeles December 6, 2013 College Admissions Offers May Be Easier to Obtain, Los Angeles Times November 25, 2013 From Clients: End of the Semester: “studying” for finals is a relative term.…

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