The Choice blog at the New York Times has a nice round-up on the “Merit Aid Negotiation” panel at the annual College Board conference which aimed to answer the question we posed in our headline here. The panel included two Deans of Admission featured in True Admissions' "5 Questions" -- Purdue's Pamela Horne and University of Chicago's Jim Nondorf. Check it out here.
In a poker tournament, the "bubble" is the point in the tournament at which the next player out will not win any money. Merriam-Webster defines a bubble as "something that lacks firmness, solidity, or reality." Richard Vedder of The Independent Institute and Andrew Gillen of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, note the "defining characteristic of a bubble is unsustainable growth that eventually reverses." In Cost Versus Enrollment, a provocative -- but seriously wonk-ish, you've been warned! -- article, Vedder and Gillen examine whether there is a higher education bubble -- with an in-depth look at cost, outcomes, the benefits of a degree, and whether so many students should be attending college.
The bottom line: a saner future most likely awaits applicants and their families!
Get Smart About College from the Wall Street Journal examines the question of how parents and students think about paying for college. There's some excellent advice here from authors Sandy Baum and Michael McPherson, both admired experts on higher education, known for their trenchant and original thinking backed by data. In particular, hurrah for their focus on fit and highlighting the fact that students who get into selective colleges but opt for cheaper schools are less likely to graduate -- a decision therefore that can be far more costly than it first appears. And the spreadsheet the authors suggest is basically our Financial Aid Package Evaluator that you can find in our book and right here on our website under the Worksheets tab. But read the whole article! All in all, it's a valuable investment perspective on one of the most expensive decisions most families will make.
Attention, juniors! Here's your checklist as you head back to the classroom:
- If you haven't yet made a testing plan (think PSAT, PLAN, ACT, SAT, SAT IIs, AP exams...), do it now.
- Research colleges by browsing online. Enter the email addresses of any college of interest in your address book so emails get through the spam filter.
- Make sure you have a challenging, college-prep course load. If you feel your course load needs adjusting, discuss this with your advisor, counselor or principal prior to the start of the school year.
- Talk with your parents about planning a college road trip.
- Try out a net price calculator - with your parents, if possible. Set aside 15 – 20 minutes, and visit the financial aid website of one of the colleges on your list, or try one of the net price calculators available at http://netpricecalculator.collegeboard.org/ to begin to understand financial aid.
Attention, seniors! You will need to hit the ground running this fall:
- Just getting started with your college search? Sign up for the tests you will need to take - the SAT and/or ACT.
- If you haven't asked two teachers to write recommendations for you, make your request now.
- Narrow your list of colleges to the eight to ten schools to which you will apply.
- Decide if you will be applying under an early decision or early action plan at any schools.
- Try out a net price calculator - with your parents, if possible. Set aside 15 – 20 minutes, and visit the financial aid website of one of the colleges on your list, or try one of the net price calculators available at http://netpricecalculator.collegeboard.org/ so you can begin to understand what your financial aid package might look like.