Got the grades to get into your dream school, but think you can’t afford tuition? It may be time to think again. Research shows many talented students have been kept in the dark about their funding options and the real cost of attending an elite school.
If you’re unsure where your financial situation stands, explore these three price-determining resources before crossing any elite schools off your list.
Rule of thumb: Never believe a school’s published sticker price. Once aid has been granted, many private schools actually cost less than their public counterparts, but low-income students fail to research it further, unaware of the hefty endowments that allow top schools to award generous financial aid packages. As you research, head straight for the Net Price Calculator that all college websites are required to house, and get a more realistic picture of what you’ll actually pay.
The CSS Profile is designed to give selective schools a closer look into an applicant’s eligibility for institutional funds—as opposed to federal funding eligibility, which the FAFSA still determines. The profile is primarily used by selective schools and those that offer early acceptance programs since, unlike the FAFSA, it can be filed as early as October 1. Check the list of participating member-schools to find out if you’ll need to complete this form.
Low-income students make up a much larger percentage of the student pool than previously thought—as many as 35,000 current students fall into that category. That’s the motivating cause behind online aggregators like charitynavigator.org. A quick search can uncover a range of funds dedicated to helping low-income students connect to highly selective institutions.