Affordable College Education? 10 Reasons Why This Isn’t a Myth

by Suzanne Shafer, Parent Editor

college education

How can you assure that your student receives an affordable college education?

This is the predicament of so many middle class families. Their student applies to college, is accepted, and receives no financial aid. Then, they are stuck with the dilemma of sending them to this college and finding a way to pay, or disappointing their child or incurring debt so she can attend.

Before you find yourself in this situation, here’s my advice on how to get an affordable college education and avoid this difficult conversation with your student.

1. Get good grades in high school

There is nothing more important to receiving good financial aid than good grades.

2. Take AP Honors and/or Dual Credit classes

Comparing the cost of an AP test or Dual Credit course to the cost of a course in college, you save thousands.

3. Score well on the PSAT

If your student scores well on the PSAT and is a National Merit finalist, the financial flood gates from colleges will open.

4. Score well on the SAT and/or ACT

Standardized test scores will have an effect on the college’s financial aid award.

5. Apply for scholarships

Your student’s #1 job in high school is to apply for scholarships.

RELATED: But What Do You Want to DO? Taking an ‘Interest Inventory’

6. Apply to the right college

If your student is at the top of the applicant pool, it is more likely she will receive financial aid.

7. Search for colleges with good financial aid footprints

Use sites like CollegeNavigator and CollegeData to find colleges that award a high percentage of financial aid to admitted students.

8. Compare financial aid awards and appeal

Use the top awards to bargain with the college your student most wants to attend. Appeal the awards and ask for more aid.

9. Work during high school and college

You would be surprised at how much money your student can earn during high school. During college, your student should work. Studies show that students who work are often better students and time managers.

10. Go for the gold

If your student is open to attending a tuition-free college your worries will be gone! These colleges are not for everyone but they are worth investigating: 8 Colleges Where Students Attend for Free.

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Parents – Want more Parent tips? GET THEM HERE!

Check out my guide for parents: Parents College Crash Course

Don’t forget to read all of the Scholarship Mom Tips here.

Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at ParentsCountdowntoCollegeCoach.com. She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

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