Making College Affordable

College affordability is one of many important pieces of student “fit”. It’s a good idea to learn as much as possible as early as possible about college cost. A great first step towards making college affordable is to save (having a financial planner can be a big help), but with rising tuition costs many simply cannot save enough. Even if you have done a great job saving, wouldn’t it be great to reduce the overall cost of an undergraduate education? How do we help families reduce college costs at The Academic Achievement Center?

1- We help align our advising with the family financial goals.

2- We are happy to advise on the best ways to reduce the cost of college by aligning the student with the colleges that are a great match for academics, student life, personal values, and finances.

3-The lion’s share of most scholarship packages typically come from the colleges and universities; this can come in the form of merit aid (money earned from grades, test scores, resume, etc), need-based aid (based on demonstrated family need (usually by completing the FAFSA, CSS Profile or some other institutional need-based application), and sometimes talent (athletic scholarships, art scholarships, etc). Knowing how institutions award money is an important factor. For example, does the college “stack” awards or not? Can scholarship money pay for room and board?

4- Outside scholarships are also helpful. Out experience is that people usually look at these scholarships before they look at institutional aid. For most students this is not wise. While there are a handful of very generous outside scholarships (e.g.Coca-Cola Scholars), these are rare. Most outside scholarships are $500-$1000 one time awards. Don’t get us wrong, these are amazing and helpful, but many institutional awards can range from $2000 X 4 years all the way to Full Tuition.

5- Knowing your own personal financial situation is critical. Once you understand the most likely ways you will be able to reduce the cost of college, we can target those particular programs, scholarships and/or colleges for the application process.

The Academic Achievement Center is here to help clear this up and help your family plan for your unique circumstances. We are happy to embed this discussion concerning affordability into any one of our services, including Four Year Planning, College Major and Career Meeting, Junior Planning, Senior Planning, and hourly consulting appointments.