In our recent posting on “Why Scholarships searches are a waste of time,” we mentioned that families shouldn’t fear the sticker shock of private colleges. The hidden truth is that many of these colleges have more scholarship support than other colleges, particularly your public colleges with a lower price tag.
In the last several years, college-bound families have discovered this fact in March of senior year. (March is the most popular month for admissions/financial award notifications.) When families compare award packages and calculate the figures, it’s been less expensive for their teen to enroll at a private college that offered merit aid than to attend an in-state college close to home.
This recent article confirms what college-bound families often discover too late in the process:
Top private schools, with their generous aid, have been among the most affordable options for students for a few years, but rising tuition has only recently sent California State University and University of California prices shooting past the Harvards and Yales for middle-class students.
The revelation comes as thousands of college and university students on Monday march to protest budget cuts in Sacramento that have forced up tuition and shaken campuses.
It’s almost unthinkable in a state that once practically gave away college educations.
“We are coming close to pricing out many of our middle-class students,” said Rhonda Johnson, Cal State East Bay’s financial-aid director. “Now we’re seeing a disadvantaged middle class.” . . . .
Consider a family of four — married parents, a high-school senior and a 14-year-old child — making $130,000 a year.
With typical aid, the family should expect to pay nearly $24,000 for a Cal State freshman’s tuition, on-campus room and board, supplies and other expenses. At Harvard? Just $17,000, even though its stated annual tuition is $36,305.
The same family would pay about $33,000 for a freshman year at UC Santa Cruz.
UC Berkeley, which recently followed the lead of private colleges by boosting aid for middle-class families, would cost $19,500. . . .
Add to the equation that students at smaller private colleges often can graduate sooner, saving thousands of dollars over California’s public universities, where cuts have made it difficult to get all required classes in four years.
Again, college graduation in four years is a great way to save on college investment. However, families must remember that college graduation begins in high school preparation, and the application process proceeds with a focus on fit – academic, social, and financial – for each college on the list. Please contact us if you have more questions about “fit” and why it matters. We love talking (and writing) about it! 🙂