Top Colleges for Less Money
If you're a highschool student whose parents make only $40,000/yr and are struggling to pay the bills, you may be worried about your chance of affording the skyrocketing costs of tuition. This article will show how the reality is that the most elite, high-priced colleges actually have the most opportunities for making it more affordable for their students. This may come as a shock to to you, considering these schools have a sticker price of around $60,000. I'll go through what makes these colleges so much more affordable and what you need to do to get in.
The "National Center for Education Statistics" calculated that for the years 2012-2013, Harvard was actually the best college available. Although Harvard's all-in cost that year was $57,950, a student whose family income totaled between $30,000 and $45,000 paid an average of only $3,000 after federal, state, and institutional aid were tallied. The financial commitment required of low-income students has dropped $0 since Harvard instituted a program called the "Harvard Financial Aid Initiative." This is another example of the multiple types of funding that are available for low-income students. It also shows how important it is to make sure you don't lower the bar for yourself when determining where you would like to attend college.
The most alarming thing is that these statistics don't even include non-government scholarships like the "Gates Millennium Scholars" or "Coca-Cola Scholars" programs. NCES's numbers also don't include the work-study pay that students receive and contribute to their tuition from campus jobs Harvard requires those on financial aid to hold. This allows the students to concentrate on their work and not worry about how their going to afford tuition. The most difficult part of the process is keeping a high enough GPA to qualify for such financial assistance programs.
There are some other things that must be kept in mind when applying for these programs even though your family has a low income. Schools do take into account assets other than primary residences or retirement funds. If a family has a low household income, but has managed to save $100,000 in a 529 college savings plan, or received a large inheritance (such as multiple homes), it won't get the same generous package as other families scraping by with no cushion. Also, families who have multiple offspring at home or in college get more financial aid than those with just one child in college. For divorced families, the amount of aid depends from school to school.
1. Adams, S. (2015, August 8). The Top Colleges That Cost The Least For Needy Students. Retrieved August 28, 2015.