"To some extent, families and students are engaged in what appears to be naive or wishful thinking not only about how they will pay for college, but the kind and level of financial support they are likely to receive," according to a new poll from the College Board and Art & Science Group, LLC. Despite the federal requirement that colleges include net-price calculators on their websites, the studentPOLL study found that slightly more than half of the 1,461 students surveyed had ruled out colleges on the basis of the sticker price alone without considering their likely financial aid awards. At the same time, the poll found students also hold unrealistic expectations about the likelihood of receiving merit aid.
Understanding financial aid is crucial for students and their families. Students and their families should start learning about and investigating financial aid as early as possible in the process so that opportunities aren't lost. The studentPoll study may provide some motivation. The poll findings and conclusions can be seen here.