Ever wonder why you
see so many ads, pop-ups, and commercials on debt payment
programs, credit boosts, and bank loans? Nine times out
of ten, they all stem form college, whether it's paying
off financial aid and college loans, or suffering from owing
a high amount of the net price. When applying for college,
especially a dream college (usually a prestigious, yet expensive
school,) the main question student ask themselves is, "Can
I afford it?"
When asking your college mentor the price of your dream
college, his r her response just makes you want to bulge
your eyes out! But don't do so too soon. There's a way to
get around, what they call the "sticker" price
of college tuition. A sticker price is the original, five-to-six
figure price you see when searching for the right college.
It's usually these prices that turn you off and prevent
you from even thinking about going to your dream college.
But don't scratch MIT or NYU off your 'list' just yet! There
are loopholes in reducing that sticker price down.
Loophole #1: Scholarships.
Colleges, universities, and various companies left and
right are proposing opportunities for a frazzled student
like yourself who is looking for scholarship money.
Above is an
estimation of college prices
after scholarships, financial aid, etc.
See the difference!
Whether you're a minority, a bookworm, an NBA hopeful, or
even a disabled person, there is a scholarship out there
for you. With scholarships you can win from $100 to $10,000.
The key is not whether you win a scholarship, but how many
scholarships you apply for. There are websites out there
that are filled with pages of scholarship opportunities,
such as http://www.fastweb.com.
The more you apply for, the higher chance you achieve atwinning
at least one and the lower your tuition will be. Also, the
best part about scholarships is that you don't have to pay
them back; scholarship money = free money (the best equation
#2: Financial Aid. Unlike scholarships, financial aid
requires reimbursement. Also, the interest in reimbursement
is unpredictable; it may either increase or decrease
every year. However, in this case, being economically
disadvantaged can become an advantage.
Experts on tuition
say that those who struggle to pay for college become an
influence for loaners to provide more aid. Also, one of
the best about financial aid is that it's proportional to
tuition, and then some; if colleges raise their tuition
prices, they will offer higher grants or loans to the students.
More and more loans are given out as tuition is going down
also, sort of, as fellow students, parents and the media
bash colleges as they raise tuition prices. In some cases,
colleges want to give away money! Providing more financial
aid means a higher rate of diversity of the student body,
which makes colleges look good.
Loophole #3: Punctuality. Start the new year with a new
beginning and a new year’s resolution: send in your
academic paraphernalia on time! The best and earliest time
to send in your financial aid application is during the
first week of January. Word is that the earlier you send
in your application, the higher your grants will be. (Note:
Like scholarships, grants are offers that you don’t
have to pay back.) Being on time never sounded so good!
Loophole #4: Piggy Bank Savings. Whether it’s weekly
allowance, babysitting money,
or a part time job, any source of money of your own will
help ease the burden of college cost even more. You can
also try getting, what they call, an intramural job. It
is a job you apply for working inside the school while going
to school. If you don’t think so, your dream college
does; in any case, all colleges require you to contribute,
what they call, the Expected Family Contribution. Despite
the fact that colleges need your money for reasons other
than your education, your contribution shows that you are
willing to strive and provide for your education, and that
colleges and loaners are not the only ones doing all the
work in this financial process. “It would really help
if there was a savings plan for you that was started when
you were a baby, says Darby McHugh, a guidance counselor
at the Bronx High School of Science. “But if you’re
a junior now and you haven’t started saving, it’s
probably too late. But it’s worth a try.”
Loophole #5: Plan B. Okay, so what if you can’t afford
your dream college? There are billions of affordable colleges
in the US, not to mention out of the country, who are willing
to enroll you, regardless of how low your SAT scores is,
how low your grades are or how antisocial you are. “Go
to CUNY,” McHugh jokes. “CUNY will help you
save your money for graduate school.” Sincerely, if
your dream college doesn’t happen to offer you a decent
financial plan, for instance, NYU, then it’s acceptable
to find a not-so-renowned college with a great plan. In
the end, it’s not what school you graduated from but
the fact that you completed four years of college that will
help you prosper. A college graduate can make as much as
$22,000 more than a high school grad. Not to say that you
should apply for just any school; find a school that would
best suit you, just in case you can’t go to your dream
But if you really, really, really want to get into your
dream college, do like the old cheery chant and, “Be
aggressive! Be be aggressive!!” Strive for all the
financial aid that you can get, and trust your ‘inner’
in tuition and the belief that you can get into not only
your dream college but any college in the world!!