College Admissions

Archive for July, 2010

Right Price For the Right College

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Budget cuts at the University of California and other public universities have resulted in overcrowded classrooms and mandated enrollment cuts, leading more families to  consider private colleges. The good news is that tuition increases at private colleges will only average 4.5 percent for 2010-11. That still outpaces inflation but is lower than pre-recession average annual increases of 6 percent. 

The better news is that despite lower endowments, which have forced all schools to look for ways to reduce expenses, many colleges are still offering substantial merit scholarships. This year, some of my students received offers of $20,000 a year, making a private college education much more affordable. In addition to having smaller classes and receiving more personal attention, students at private colleges can get the courses they need to graduate in four years. Certain colleges are known for offering generous scholarships, which they use to attract the most desirable students. Applying to schools where you are at the top of the applicant pool will enable you to maximize your scholarship offers.

You may also find good deals at public universities, particularly those in neighboring states. For example, the Western Undergraduate Exchange enables students in Western states to pay the bargain rate of 150 percent of in-state tuition at some public colleges in the region.  

While cost is certainly a major factor in choosing a college, it’s not the only consideration. The cheapest college is no bargain if you would be miserable there for four years. Being in an environment where you’re happy and engaged means you’re more likely to be productive. A successful college career will lead to graduate school acceptances and job offers. It’s worth the extra effort to find colleges that are a good fit educationally, socially and financially.