What are Net Price Calculators?

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What does it mean? Colleges provide Net Price Calculators (NPC) so that students can estimate their cost of attendance based on their financial status. Colleges are required to provide an estimate based on the what other students have paid with similar financial situations. The cost includes deducting any need-based grant aid that the student is… Continue reading


What is need-blind admission?

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What does it mean? Need-blind admissions means that a colleges does not take into consideration students’ financial aid status when making admission decisions. This is the opposite of need-aware admissions where a college does consider students’ financial need as part of the admission process. For most private colleges, this isn’t an either or situation. Often,… Continue reading


What is the Common Data Set?

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What does it mean? The Common Data Set refers to data collected by a group of publishers including US News Best College Rankings, The College Board, Petersons, and Wintergreen Orchard. The data includes information that is not part of government data including percentage of students receiving merit aid and the percentage of students that have… Continue reading


What is financial aid gapping?

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What does it mean? When students submit their financial aid application, they receive a number they are expected to pay called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). When you subtract the EFC from the total cost of attendance for a specific college, the amount left over is considered the student’s financial need. If a college’s financial… Continue reading


What is merit aid?

Two little kids researching merit aid

What does it mean? Merit aid is a type of college financial aid. Colleges provide merit aid as an incentive for select students to attend their institution. Generally, these students have academic qualifications that would contribute to raising the college’s academic profile.   Often students do not even have to apply for institutional merit scholarships.… Continue reading