How to Choose a College

statue of whomen thinking about how to choose a college

Now that you have all of your college acceptances, how do you decide which college to attend? Easy, just go to your favorite college rankings and pick the one with the highest rank! Just kidding. Of course, if that’s the way you originally chose which colleges to apply to, there’s probably not much reason for you to change your approach now. But for those who think that college rankings might have a few issues or are concerned about paying for college, read on for some advice on how to choose a college.


Financial Aid & Merit Scholarship Survey

Financial Aid & Merit Scholarship

Each year families receive financial aid and merit scholarship award information. In an effort to create a national database of actual financial aid and scholarship information, we are asking families to share their award information. All information is collected anonymously. The goal of this effort is to share financial aid and merit scholarship information with families that are entering the college admissions process in coming years. In addition, we hope to analyze this data to provide more in-depth insights into how colleges award their money. Loading…


What To Know About Your Financial Aid Awards

Comparing Financial Aid Awards

If it’s past the deadlines for submitting college applications, your student is either waiting to hear about all their admissions and financial aid awards or you have them all and you’re deciding how to compare them.  At this point in the process, don’t overlook the following …. Make an “apples to apples” comparison of financial aid awards. Parents shouldn’t need a PhD in economics to read financial aid award letters, but sometimes it feels like that. Many award letters are constructed to make it less than clear how much money a school is providing and how much the family is expected to borrow. We suggest using the Compare Schools tool from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because it pulls up existing data for schools as you enter their nam ...


Why You Should Care About Student Loan Default Rates by State

graduation hat and money representing student loan default rates

How do you know if college is worth it? Given the ever increasing costs of getting a four-year degree and the horror stories of underemployed graduates, it only makes sense to wonder if the cost is justified. There are various attempts at calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) for colleges. At this point they’re more interesting than actually useful in comparing schools although that may change soon. So we decided to look at something much more basic, student loan default rates.


What You Need to Know About the FAFSA Before Your Senior Year in High School

student reading what she neets to know about the FAFSA

Too many families don’t start thinking about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) until the fall of their student’s senior year. After all, you can’t even submit the form until October 1st so why start worrying sooner? Because the FAFSA is just the final step in the financial aid process. And if you don’t take the right steps before you actually submit the application, you can dramatically reduce your opportunities for financial aid. Your Financial Aid Application Starts in the Sophomore Year The FAFSA uses your financial information for the tax year that starts January of the sophomore year. This means that most families’ EFC is determined before students decide which colleges to apply to. Why Do You Need to Know This? Because for some familie ...


Find Out How Generous Colleges Are With Financial Aid And Merit Scholarships

Do you know how generous colleges are with their financial aid and merit scholarships? By the time students get to high school, hopefully their parents have saved whatever they can for college, but most likely that won’t be enough. At this point, the most impactful steps families can take is to make sure students do as well as possible on the ACT/SAT, keep up their GPA, and most importantly, be strategic about the colleges their student applies to.  As part of the college search process, families need to research the financial aid giving history of schools. What this means is families need to understand basic information about how colleges award money. For example: Does the college award merit scholarships? Not all colleges do. So if you’re a family that will not qualify for ne ...


Figuring Out How Much Financial Aid You’ll Get

Understanding Financial Aid

It used to be that the only way you could figure out how much financial aid you’ll get was by being accepted to a college and submitting the FAFSA. However, now colleges have Net Price Calculators (NPC) and you can get an estimate of how much money you’ll get before you even submit an application fee. The federal government mandated colleges provide NPCs starting in 2011. Since they haven’t been around very long, they are definitely a work in progress. Yet, even with the limitations, they represent a much needed information opportunity for families trying to figure out how much they’re going to have to pay for college. Why NPCs are a Good Thing Now we know that some of you are thinking, “wait a minute, these NPCs sound like I’m going to have to go to eac ...


4 Reasons to Search for Colleges on

Woman doing custom college search on

There are plenty of college search websites you can use, but even if you have a favorite, you owe it to yourself to try This website is run by The Education Trust and makes it as easy as possible to search and compare colleges on indicators of cost and results. It’s also one of the few websites that displays the results in a table that users can easily sort on. When you visit, make sure you pay attention to the following four features.


5 Scholarship Tips To Learn Before Your Student Is A High School Senior

Facebook Live Session Scholarship Tips For Parents

Don’t miss our Facebook Live session on essential tips parents need to know about scholarships. Our next Facebook Live session are Thursday 1/12 at 8:30pm (EST) and again on Sunday (1/15) at 8pm (EST).  If you’re the parent of a high school student, grades 9th – 11th, you’re probably looking for any possible sources of free money to help you pay for college. This is why you need to watch our Facebook Live session on “5 Essential Scholarship Tips Parents Need To Know”. Unless, of course, you have an extra $250,000 somewhere to pay for four years of college.  Here’s what we’ll be covering……   Should you pay for a scholarship service?   Learn how scholarships affect financial aid.   What do you need to know about privacy.   Revi ...


Road Map To Cutting College Costs

Register for our online class Road Map to Cutting College Costs

Trying to figure out how to afford college? What you need is a Road Map to Cutting College Costs. It’s easier to figure things out when you have someone to show you the way! Our next master class starts Wednesday, June 7th.    SIGN UP NOW   What Will You Learn? We designed Roadmap To Cutting College Costs to help busy parents jumpstart their learnings of what they need to do to find colleges that can offer their student the most in financial aid and/or merit scholarships. Every week we provide written lessons, videos, a webinar, handouts, and access to discussion boards. You work through the material at your own pace but we will have weekly live webinars where you can ask any questions you might have. This course teaches parents how to become smarter, educated consumers of highe ...