by Suzanne Shafer, Parent Editor
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.
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
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.
Check out my guide for parents: Parents College Crash Course