In order to make sure you get the best college financial package and pay the least amount possible, you need to examine every offer with a critical eye.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) March 06, 2012
Now is the time when college-bound students are receiving their official financial awards from the colleges and universities to which they applied. Scott Anderson, President of eduLaunchpad.com, says “In order to make sure you get the best college financial package and pay the least amount possible, you need to examine every offer with a critical eye.”
Here are three steps every college student can take to make sure they are getting their money’s worth from the college financial offers.
Don’t take the first offer you receive. You need to wait until you have all the college financial offers in hand before you make a decision on which college to attend. The financial offers are the real price tags of the colleges, not the sticker price or cost of attendance. And until you have all the financial offers in hand, you just don’t know what each school will cost.
Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Schools do not necessarily report all the same costs in their prices. Some schools report tuition, room, and board. Some schools report tuition, room, board, and books. Some schools report tuition, room, board, books, and supplies. You need to be using a standardized cost model to compare the costs associated with each school. The costs described at eduLaunchpad.com are all determined by adding the same factors for each school: tuition, room & board, books & supplies, and transportation. You start with this standardized price and subtract the financial offer from the college to get a true cost for you. In this way, you ensure you are comparing apples to apples.
Ask the school if they can do more. The first offer you receive from a college is not necessarily set in stone. Very often, you can get a better financial offer if you go back and ask. It is called the Appeals Process. There are all kinds of reasons that you might want to file an appeal. Perhaps a parent lost their job. Or last year’s income was much higher than this year’s income. Maybe a grandparent just moved in with you. Or the student has an illness or condition that won’t allow them to work while in school.
What parents need to keep in mind during this time is college is big business, and the student and parents are the colleges’ customers. You are the consumer and should treat college the same as any other major purchase, like home or a car. Don’t accept the first offer if it doesn’t work for you. If the college wants your student, they will often consider sweetening the deal. Smaller and private colleges often have more flexibility with their offers than the larger and state colleges.
eduLaunchpad.com is the next generation of college search and preparation. Scott Anderson has over a decade of experience working directly with students and parents and helping them prepare financially for college and selecting the right mix of colleges for application. Contact Scott Anderson to have your readers’ and listeners’ questions answered about college finance. Go to http://www.eduLaunchpad.com for more information on how to help students and parents prepare for college.
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