Category Archives: Merit-based Aid

SAT Test Dates

Generally you are better off waiting to take the SAT until you’ve done enough test preparation to do the absolutely best you can. That’s because by the time junior or senior year rolls around, it can be tough to change your GPA by much, but even a little prep can make a big difference in test scores.

This year, however, many schools are asking students applying for early decision or early action to take the October or November test. That’s because SAT results have been coming out more slowly since the test changed, and later test dates are not likely to have scores available in time for ED or EA.

If you are thinking of applying ED or EA, now is a great time to check with the school about the latest SAT test date. And to get on some test prep before school hits full gear. You don’t want to find out that you don’t have time left to prepare.

Don’t be a Stealth Applicant

Stealth applicants are a buzzword in college admissions these days. What is a stealth applicant? It’s someone who applies to a school without ever having interacted with that school prior to the application. It’s become increasingly common as it’s become easier to get information about schools without interacting with them. But if you’re really Continue reading Don’t be a Stealth Applicant

Colleges Still Have Openings for Fall ’17

Further confirming that college can be a buyer’s market, the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual College Openings Update: Options for Qualified Students (a list of schools still accepting applications after May 1) shows an increase in the number of schools still accepting applications compared with last year. In fact, the number has gone up every year since 2013; it increased by about 20% from 2016 to 2017. Continue reading Colleges Still Have Openings for Fall ’17

Negotiating an Aid Award

My apologies if this is a little down-to-the-wire. Then again, you might do better waiting until the last minute to negotiate an aid award. If you’re planning to do so, here are a few things you need to know.

The first step is to determine what type of aid is being offered, need or merit (or a Continue reading Negotiating an Aid Award

How America Pays for College

Sallie Mae’s annual How America Pays for College report has some good news: In the 2015-2016 school year, the average amount families spent on college went down slightly, to $23,688. The biggest decline came on spending for 2-year colleges; families with students in 4-year schools reported spending about the same as in the previous year. In Continue reading How America Pays for College

CSS/PROFILE Question SR 160A

Perhaps the #1 most-frequently-asked question about the CSS/PROFILE is “How am I supposed to answer question 160A?” (“Enter the amount your parents think they will be able to pay for your 2017-18 college expenses.”) It’s a trap, right? A higher-stakes version of the “name your price” offers musicians put out there for concerts and downloads. Answer too high and you might be giving up aid; answer too low and your student might Continue reading CSS/PROFILE Question SR 160A

Why file the FAFSA

As many as 1/3 of college students don’t complete the FAFSA. There are a variety of reasons why not, ranging from fears about its complexity to the assumption that it’s not worth the time because the family is not eligible for aid and hundreds if not thousands of other reasons. The end result is that a lot of money is left on the table and many families Continue reading Why file the FAFSA

Tuition Growth Slows

Moody’s annual survey of US college and university tuition shows that tuition increases are slowing down and for the most part are consistent with the overall inflation rate in the economy.

On the private school side, Moody’s projects annual net tuition increases to remain in the Continue reading Tuition Growth Slows

FAFSA Deadlines

Just because the FAFSA is available earlier this year doesn’t mean you have to complete it now. Most school and state deadlines haven’t changed. For example, the Oregon schools still have their end of February/beginning of March deadlines. Why is that? The goal of making the FAFSA available earlier is enable families to understand their financial position in advance of (or alongside) the application process. Schools don’t generally need your FAFSA information until they get your application. But knowing your EFC in advance Continue reading FAFSA Deadlines