This is the time of year when students are thinking, stressing and ultimately making their college choice. Most colleges have May 1 as their deadline for making a decision.
When it comes time to choose the college, cost, location and programs tend to be areas of major focus. Committing to a college requires reanalyzing your priorities. This will assist in determining which college will be the right choice personally and financially.
Finances should be a major part of the decision making process.Some parents decide to appeal their package, especially if there are wide discrepancies between schools. Michael Stridel, the director of undergraduate admission at Carnegie Mellon University, stated that “his school sets aside slightly under $1 million a year of freshman aid allocation” to be used for renegotiation. Parents need to tell the schools something that they do not know in order to be successful in the renegotiation process, such as a change as a change in job or family medical condition. Also, it is risky to send a copy of another school’s financial aid package for comparison, as that could backfire.
Another important last step is to revisit the student’s college of choice, its campus and its student life. Feel free to talk with a professor in the desired field of study, have lunch with the students and arrange for an overnight stay if it is an option.
Lastly, don’t let the college decision cause short-term satisfaction with long-term repercussions. The repayment for college is typically spread over 15 years after graduation. The federal government limits the amount an undergraduate can borrow to $27,000 over four years. The amount borrowed should not exceed the expected first year salary of the student.
The importance of a well-thought-out financial plan is vital and should be included as part of the overall plan and decision. When making this life decision, do so intelligently and informed. Remember to consider the plan, the goals and the future results.