Paying for College Could be (Somewhat) Easier Than we Think – Part 1

Junior & Senior Year 
 
Paying for College – Myth Busters
 
Junior year should include time spent researching colleges to create a preliminary list. Use the internet to gather information. Have your kids attend college information sessions presented through September and October at their high school. Parents and students should consider attending university information nights being presented in their city, during the Fall and Spring. To compile a list of potential universities, examine what their requirements are and where your student stands in fulfilling them. Then look at tuition rates.
 
Remember, the sticker price, or the price on a college’s brochure, is not the price you pay, says Frank Palmasani, author of “Right College, Right Price” and counselor at Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois. A lower “net cost” is what you must pay out of pocket – minus scholarships, student loans, financial aid packages and grants. He recommends using the Net Price Calculator on each university’s website to determine net cost and out-of-pocket cost. You can use the information to even compare “net” price tags between private and public schools. What you discover may surprise you. 
 
Lesser known, small, private schools often incentivize students they want with great financial packages. Benedictine University in Lisle, IL, is known for generous offers to bright students. Depending on your income, some of the most prestigious schools require you to pay nothing, should you be accepted. Many community colleges, including College of DuPage  (COD) in Lisle, IL, also offer a full ride to students who meet, and once at COD maintain, a certain GPA.  
 
Junior year is also time to begin looking for scholarships as well. 
 
Like many, if the cost will impact your choice as to where to attend, applying to 10-12 colleges enables you to compare and see who offers the best financial aid package.  Some schools are open to negotiating their packages but be sure to check with them before you assume its acceptable. Lower income students can often request a voucher from their high school guidance counselor to have application fees waived.