School Codes on ACT/SAT Registration

My kids are juniors and they will be taking the ACT at school next month. Yesterday while they were filling out the registration forms, my daughter texted me frantically asking what to do about the school codes to send scores to– what should she put in there?

Here’s a quick background: When you register for either the SAT or ACT, you can request to have your scores sent directly to 4 schools of your choice for free. If you wait and send the scores after the fact– when you’re applying to schools, for example– you pay $12 for SAT scores and $13 for ACT scores. So, seems like a no-brainer to do the freebies, right?

Not exactly. Before sending scores to a school, you should know its test scoring policy. You should not send a free score report to a school that allows score choice (where you choose which scores to send instead of being required to send all test results). If you might be eligible for any kind of scholarship or merit award that’s based on test scores, sending your test scores for free at registration is the textbook definition of penny wise and pound foolish. You don’t know when you register for the test how well you’ll do. Don’t risk thousands of dollars in scholarships to save $12.

Both the SAT and ACT offer fee waivers for score reporting, too. Like fee waivers for the tests themselves, this is typically done through the high school guidance counselor.

Student Loans by School

If you’ve been reading this for a while, you probably know I’m a huge fan of College Navigator as an information source. It’s run by the National Center for Education Statistics and has some information that any prospective student should be aware of. Last week I mentioned the loan default rate by school. Another affordability-related topic that prospective students should consider is the student body’s borrowing rate– also available on College Navigator. Continue reading Student Loans by School

Student Loan Default Rates

While you’re waiting for acceptances (seniors) or starting to get more serious about particular schools (everyone else), you might want to check out student loan default rates at the schools you’re interested in. Even if you’re not planning to borrow for college, the default rate can be an interesting number insofar as it is probably indicative of whether graduates of a particular school are finding gainful employment, particularly Continue reading Student Loan Default Rates

529s and Private High School Tuition

The recent tax bill that went into effect this year included a change allowing parents to use up to $10,000 annually from a 529 account to pay for private high school expenses. Parents considering taking advantage of this provision should weigh another consideration besides whether or not they have saved enough in their 529 to pay for high school in addition to college: Does your state offer the same benefit? Continue reading 529s and Private High School Tuition

Negotiating an Aid Award

When it comes to negotiating and aid award, it’s helpful to understand both how the Professional Judgment (PJ) process works and how negotiating in general works.

With the PJ process, the school has a specific set of constraints and you must work within them. The Department of Education allows schools to make adjustments “on a case-by-case basis only to adjust the student’s cost of attendance or the data used to calculate her Continue reading Negotiating an Aid Award