Don't Just Focus on Year 1
Concentrate on Paying for College for all 4 years
Don't get fixated on your first year. Consider all four years of costs.
Families of soon-to-be high school graduates are too focused on paying for the first-year college costs. Some of this is because they in the midst of decision-making overload. The admissions offices want you to focus on finding the right fit. Housing office wants to you to decide on what accommodations you will be living in next year. Dining Services wants you to consider what meal plan will suit your student’s needs. The financial aid office wants to you to decide on how much your family will borrow in student loans for your first academic year.
Most colleges focus families on those first-year college costs and decisions. Few take the time to discuss whether or not you should expect similar amounts of free money in future academic years. Does your student need to have a certain grade point average to maintain the merit funds? Will your prior-prior year income be indicative of your families next few years of earnings? Ensure your educated about the dependencies so you can make your paying for college plan.
Help yourself by limiting surprises.
Read the fine print on any institutional or outside scholarships to know the grade point average necessary to renew these funds. Also, ensure that your student is taking enough units to meet their stipulations so you get the funding you need to pay for college. Determine if your student must declare a specific major, continue to play on a team, complete so many volunteer hours, etc.
Also, know if and when you need to complete paperwork to renew the funding for subsequent academic years. Does Ingrid need to submit copies of her grades to the Rotary Club to receive funding for her second year. Does Yen need to fill out a renewal application for the Dean’s Scholarship online?
Even when you know all the terms and conditions for continue to receive the same amount of free money, are you prepared that college costs may rise? According to the College Board, the average tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year institutions in 2018-19 is $36,890, which has increased at an average rate of 2.3% in the last decade. In fact, 20% of private nonprofit four-year institutions have tuition of $51,000 or more. This means that thousands of families are facing college cost increases of about $1,000.
Quatromoney understands these college cost concerns. That is why we created a tool to discover a new way for families to calculate four years of college into one affordable monthly price starting in July 2019.
Colleen MacDonald Krumwiede is a financial aid and paying for college expert with over a decade of financial aid experience at Stanford GSB, Caltech, and Pomona College and another decade at educational finance and technology companies servicing higher education. She guides go-to-market strategy and product development at Quatromoney to transform the way families afford college.