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Do Most People Pay Full Tuition?

mainstonemainstone Posts: 50Registered User Junior Member
I have a son who is a senior applying to college. The tuition plus board for the colleges he is applying to range from 36K - 50K, which we can afford to pay some of, but certainly not all. How does college financing work? Is the purpose of the FASA simply to secure Federal loans or does it help the college put together a package for you? Do most colleges offer you a package?

Thanks!
Post edited by mainstone on

Replies to: Do Most People Pay Full Tuition?

  • John2698John2698 Posts: 383Registered User Member
    The FAFSA gives you an "Expected Family Contribution," which is what a family is generally expected to pay out of current income and assets. The cost of attendance in excess of that is your "need," as determined by each college. Colleges may or may not meet that need, depending on the college, and usually offer loans as part of the package.

    I don't know whether "most" people pay full tuition, but many, many, do--the full-payers essentially subsidize the people who are less able to pay.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Posts: 20,241Super Moderator Senior Member
    Many private colleges also use a CSS Profile to also look at assets (from the look of your college cost range this may be the case for you). This will change what the college expects the family to pay (assets are seen as being something of value that can be tapped for tuition).

    And all the publications I've seen state full pay families don't subsidize others who pay less. The cost of education is subsidized by contributions and is greater than the full pay numbers. Full pay families just pay a greater share of those costs.

    And to answer the title of your post (Do Most People Pay Full Tuition?) it would depend on the school. You can look at the Common Data Set, section H, to see how many of the incoming freshmen get aid. At Harvard it's something less than 1/2 that are full pay. http://www.provost.harvard.edu/institutional_research/Provost_-_CDS2008_2009_Harvard_for_Web_Clean.pdf
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 64,220Registered User Senior Member
    Mainstone -

    MOST schools do NOT meet need. Most schools do not have much aid to give.

    Most schools mostly ONLY have federal aid to give (which isn't much) and have little/no institutional aid to give.

    You need to...

    1) Find out what your likely FAFSA EFC is and institutional family contribution will likely be. You may find out that your "family expectation" is higher than what colleges cost (and therefore you won't get any aid).

    2) If you do have "determined need," you need to find out if the schools that your child is applying to meets need or if they gap.

    3) If you have an unaffordable "family expectation" and/or your child is applying to schools that don't meet need, then he may need to apply to schools that will give him big Merit scholarships.

    4) Make sure your child applies to some Financial Safety schools...these are schools that you know for SURE that he'll get into and you know FOR SURE that all costs will be covered.


    What schools are on his list? If some are out of state publics, expect to be full-pay unless your child will get a merit scholarship from those schools. Only UVA and UNC-CH give need-based aid. Other OOS publics do not give aid to help with high OOS costs.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 38,519Registered User Senior Member
    The FAFSA gives you an "Expected Family Contribution," which is what a family is generally expected to pay out of current income and assets.

    Sort of. The FAFSA computes an Expected Family Contribution for the year. Most colleges assume that costs will be paid out of past income (savings), current income (current earnings), and future income (loans). But quite honestly, they don't care WHERE the money comes from. The EFC should be viewed as the MINIMUM your family will be expected to pay for college. Most colleges do not meet full need (the difference between Cost of Attendance and EFC). And most colleges also package loans into their financial aid packages.

    As noted, some schools also require the CSS Profile, and some also have their own financial aid form. These typically look more extensively at your assets.

    The FAFSA EFC is primarily used to determine if your child qualifies for federally funded need based financial aid (things like the Pell grant, SEOG, work study, subsidized loans).
  • charlieschmcharlieschm Posts: 4,282Registered User Senior Member
    University of Delaware may provide some need based aid for out of state. University of Pittsburgh provides significant merit aid for the best out of state students.

    Take a close look at the www. collegeboard. com website. Look up each college and then click on financial aid. It will provide comparable recent data on the percent of students in that college who received merit and need based aid and the average amounts of grants vs. total package of aid. You can then compare colleges, such as looking at the percentage of need that was met by each college. You will generally find that the richest and most selective colleges can meet 100% of need. If your child is not a candidate for one of those colleges, and they want signficant merit aid, then they may need to consider a less selective college than they would otherwise desire. This is because colleges generally offer the best merit aid to their top applicants. If a college is less selective, they will typically offer more aid to a student with good but not great scores, versus a college that turns away thousands of great students would not provide any merit aid to that student.

    As noted above, even more data on financial aid for each college is available if you can find their "Common Data Set". That can typically be found online in a google search for each college.
  • susgeeksusgeek Posts: 1,603Registered User Senior Member
    My eldest went to Colgate, and at least there, most families were paying full tuition.

    I recall even getting a letter from the school, suggesting that I could pay for all for years up front. Tuition increased significantly those four years, so those that could do so had a pretty good return on their money.
  • PackMomPackMom Posts: 7,490Registered User Senior Member
    We are full pay at state u. Privates were out of the question for our family.
  • vballmomvballmom Posts: 3,132Super Moderator Senior Member
    S1 is full pay at a CSU, which I'm happy to pay as he's getting an excellent education both in and out of the classroom. I don't pay the full published cost of attendance as he's living off campus (cheaper housing & food) and is extremely frugal.

    S2 is not full pay at an expensive private college. He received generous merit aid which brings the COA down quite a bit. He also received a small need-based grant due to the fact that we have 2 kids in college this year. The grant will go away when S1 graduates, but the merit aid will remain for all 4 years assuming S2 maintains the minimum GPA for merit. He didn't inherit S1's frugal gene, so his expenses were quite a bit higher until I saw the bills (he uses my Visa card) and told him he needed to cut way back on his spending.
  • qdogpaqdogpa Posts: 2,417- Member
    Paying full rate at Villanova ;(
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