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Merit-based Aid

EFC vs Net Cost

Families of college-bound students are always looking for strategies to manage their Expected Family Contribution, and I’m happy to oblige. However, lowering your EFC is no guarantee of getting financial aid. And that’s why net cost is important. Your EFC is what the federal needs analysis methodology says is the amount you can spend on college. You can estimate it…

Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid

The College Board’s annual Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid report was released recently. Among the headline findings: college tuition prices increased at extremely low rates for the second year in a row, reflecting both a combination of continued impacts of the pandemic and enrollment pressures from demographic trends. Average net prices, adjusted for inflation, are at the lowest…

Podcast: All About the FAFSA

I had a great time talking college applications, financial aid and scholarships on the 52 Pearls Weekly Money Wisdom podcast. Listen and learn here. Want to put this to work for you? Sign up for The College Financial Plan Masterclass. You’ll develop a detailed financial plan for college, learn strategies to maximize financial aid and merit scholarships, find out how to…

Your College Research List

Families getting started on the college search process are well-served by keeping a list of schools that the student is interested in. (This should be the student’s job, by the way.) But what does that list look like? What goes in it? Here’s my suggestion: Create a spreadsheet in Google Sheets (or your preferred online platform). The left-hand column will…

Test Optional, Test Blind and What Am I Supposed to Do?

Clearly, test-optional admissions are here to stay, with more than 1,600 four-year colleges offering test-optional admissions for the fall. More than 80 others are test-blind for the 2021 admissions cycle, according to FairTest’s online database of testing policies. So students not wanting to submit test scores will have plenty of schools to choose from. But pulling back the curtain shows…

My College Financial Plan Masterclass has moved to my new website HowToPayForCollege.com
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