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Affordability and Paying for College

What is the place of money in the final college choice?

Depending on the present income of the parent or parents, and the grades and standardized test scores of the student, a student can qualify for either: need based aid, when the student actually needs some money to attend college because the family’s savings and income will not pay for the cost of most colleges, or merit based aid , where the student is attractive enough to the colleges to which he or she is applying, that the colleges are eager to see that the student has an incentive to come to each of their colleges, regardless of whether the family needs the money or not. If money or the lack of it will play a large role in the decision of which college to attend, it is important to take this into consideration throughout the college application and choice process. I am well prepared to do this. I believe that I will bring to the process: knowledge, energy, passion . . .and a sense of humor.

In thinking about this, perhaps, a short explanation from Muhlenberg College will help: “… If money is a factor in your college search and it will impact your final choice, you should make sure to apply to colleges where you are clearly in the top third to top quarter of the applicant pool. If you are just squeaking in for admission, odds are your financial aid, if it comes, will be mostly loans or work-study.

It used to be that you could try for that reach school and if you got in, you didn't have to worry because everybody who got in, who needed money, got money. Today, however, as colleges are asked to fund more and more of their own operation with less and less assistance from government, foundations, and families, they are increasingly reluctant to part with their money to enroll students who don't raise their academic profile.

It might not always feel good, especially when the college you thought you wanted most doesn't come through with a great aid package. But if an outstanding student is going way out of his or her way with money to enroll at a particular college, even though other colleges were less expensive, there must be a good reason. If an outstanding college is going way out of its way with money to enroll a particular student, even though other students were less expensive, there must be a good reason. Figuring out what those reasons are will be a big part of your decision-making process.”