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Should I Apply to Colleges Who’s Net Prices’ Expensive?

kenneydabestkenneydabest 16 replies4 threads Junior Member
I’m a rising senior, and I’ve been building my college list for a while now. There’s a bunch of colleges, mostly public universities (e.g. UC-Berkeley, UCLA, UWisconsin-Madison, UWashington, etc.), but also private schools (e.g. NYU, George Washington University, Fordham) whose net price calculator says that I would have to pay upwards of $30,000 to go.
Now, I really like some of these colleges, and I was wondering if I should still apply or completely rule them out. I heard on an Virtual Information Session that George Washington University was cheaper to attend then one of the current student’s in-state schools, and I see a couple of people from my own school go there. Is it possible to get more aid than the net price calculator tells me, maybe through merit aid?
I also heard that University of California schools give virtually no aid to out-of-state students. Despite this, I’ve seen so many people apply to them online. Should I apply to these colleges that tell me I won’t be able to afford them? Is it possible to get more aid?
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Replies to: Should I Apply to Colleges Who’s Net Prices’ Expensive?

  • thumper1thumper1 78481 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    Are you out if state for California? If so, scratch the CA publics from your list. The need based aid they provide is largely through Calgrant monies that are available to only instate students. Even merit aid to OOS students won’t cover your out of state costs.

    @Gumbymom @aunt bea

    NYU and George Washington U are amongst THE most costly colleges in this country with costs above $70,000 a year.

    Any public university outside of your own state is only a maybe in terms of affordability. These public universities have a mission to support the taxpayers in their states, not OOS students.

    You have left out some important details in terms of merit aid (and acceptance) potential. What are your SAT or ACT scores, and your GPA? Folks will be very happy to help you with ideas.

    If you have done the net price calculators on the college websites, you need to believe the results....at least as decent estimates of your net costs. You will need to do these calculators again at the beginning of September when they are updated for the 2021 fall accepted students.

    Should you apply? That is up to your family. If they have a price point they won’t exceed, then you need to be prepared to walk away from ANY acceptance that exceeds that price point. Please don’t plan to guilt your family into paying more than they say they can pay.

    What are your instate options?
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 2062 replies25 threads Senior Member
    Getting accepted to a school and not being able to go for cost reasons is worse than not applying. At the UC’s and Wisconsin, you will likely get no meaningful aid( financial or merit). GWU does give merit. However if you are also expecting financial aid, it may not reduce your cost. For a low income student, GWU may be cheaper. For a high income student, it is one of the most expensive schools in the country.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83795 replies743 threads Senior Member
    If the net price is too expensive to afford, then you would be applying for large-enough merit scholarships to make the college affordable (admission without enough scholarship = rejection in this case).

    In other words, any such college should be classified as a "reach" if those scholarships are competitive (as opposed to automatic for stats that you have); if the college was already a "reach" for admission, consider it a "high reach" or "extreme reach" for competitive scholarships that you need. If no scholarships that could make the college affordable exist, then an application is a waste of time and money.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10376 replies72 threads Senior Member
    The UC's will cost you $65K per year.
    If you were to receive merit, assume ~$2k per year, on average. Where will you get the other $63K per year?

    The UC's are funded by the State of California which uses the state's taxpayer fees' to help fund the schools. The State needs the money from OOS students, so it's not going to reduce tuition/fees to non-residents.

    Maybe your acquaintances apply to see if they can get into the UC's? Maybe their families have saved a quarter of a million dollars to fund their sons/daughters education? Maybe their parents are willing to take on huge debt that will be paid off in 30 years? Who knows?

    The point is, if you can't afford it, find a place that you can afford.
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  • kenneydabestkenneydabest 16 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @thumper1 thanks for going so in depth. I figured I would have to get rid of the UCs because of being out of state.

    My current GPA is somewhere between 3.9 and 4.0. I haven’t take my SAT or ACT yet because of cancellations, but I am scheduled to take them in the fall. I hopefully suspect to get around a 1450-1550.

    I’m a New York State resident, so I plan on apply to Binghamton University, Stony Brook University, and University at Buffalo as my in state options.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10376 replies72 threads Senior Member
    Great! The SUNY schools are good and very underrated. My daughter attended UB and received a great education in engineering. She got into the UC's but wanted to experience the "seasons", so she shuffled off to Bufffalo and really liked it. We're in SoCal and her background has kept her on a management track and she's still rising.
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  • kenneydabestkenneydabest 16 replies4 threads Junior Member
    So basically, I shouldn’t apply to a college that’s too expensive, unless I can get enough merit aid to make it affordable.
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  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3673 replies85 threads Senior Member
    I would alter that to "I should apply to one or two expensive schools and see what they offer me, knowing that no matter what I will not go if the offer is still too expensive."

    No college is worth a lot of debt.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10376 replies72 threads Senior Member
    It really does not matter where you get your education. After you get your first job, no one will care where you went.

    Don't gamble and assume that you'll get merit because it is so competitive. Apply to places that fit the NPC estimates.

    I don't understand why you would want to incur debt.
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  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3673 replies85 threads Senior Member
    You can seek merit by applying to schools where you are in the top 25% of their applicant pool. So perhaps for you Muhlenberg, Southwestern U outside of Austin, Knox a wonderful school in Illinois, College of Wooster, Wheaton in Massachusetts, Bryn Mawr, Mt. Holyoke, (the last two are parts of consortia that include other top schools such as UPenn, Haverford and Swarthmore for BMC and Amherst, Smith, UMass Amherst and Hampshire for MHC) or Smith college. Stay away from Vassar if you're merit seeking or Barnard as they don't offer merit. Their aid is need-based only. That sort of thing. A website called CollegeData used to list on the financials tab schools that offer merit and the average merit award. That can help guide you. Women's colleges sometimes have few men on campus (Wellesley) and sometimes have several men on campus (Bryn Mawr) so the experience is far from monolithic.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78481 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    Are you a female? If not, ditch the all womans school mentioned above
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  • kenneydabestkenneydabest 16 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Yea I’m not. I knew to ditch them.
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 2477 replies34 threads Senior Member
    edited July 4
    aunt bea wrote: »
    It really does not matter where you get your education. After you get your first job, no one will care where you went.

    I’m going to sort of disagree with this. First off, getting that first internship and job could be very important in the start of your career. Some corporations and agencies recruit heavily from certain colleges. Remember the college you went to is on every resume, LinkedIn website, Facebook company leadership team profile page, etc.

    Secondly, the actual undergraduate education you get is the most important thing. An education that stays with you the rest of your life. You want to choose a college that is a “good fit” in all three areas: financially, academically and socially.

    With that said. I would not incur significant debt to attend an undergrad college unless you will be in a career with six figure starting salary. Also, there are top colleges that are very generous with financial aid if your family is lower to middle class.

    Is your family able to contribute anything to your college expenses?
    edited July 4
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  • kenneydabestkenneydabest 16 replies4 threads Junior Member
    edited July 4
    @socaldad2002 I definitely agree with you and my EFC is around $4000-5400.

    I have already researched a bunch of colleges, and I generally know where I’m applying. I just wanted to know if it would be worth applying to colleges with a high net price.
    edited July 4
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  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3673 replies85 threads Senior Member
    edited July 4
    So it sounds like you have significant need. Perhaps look at LaFayette; Lehigh; Vassar; Williams; Hamilton; Amherst; St. Lawrence in NY; Hobart and William Smith in NY; Wheaton in Massachusetts; Wesleyan; Connecticut College (the private LAC not UConn); Trinity in Hartford; Colby and Bates in Maine; Tufts; Oberlin; Grinnell; Earlham in Indiana (it's almost in Ohio); Haverford outside of Philly (part of a consortium); Swarthmore; St. Olaf; Lake Forest; Union in Schenectady

    The above schools and more offer good need-based aid.

    You can research more quickly schools net price ON AVERAGE by looking at College Navigator. Find <name of college> and click on <net price> That breaks down the on-average cost by income bracket. Once you get a long list, you can narrow it by using the net price calculator.

    Lafayette has great aid and it's a very good school. The schools in the above list are all very good.
    edited July 4
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83795 replies743 threads Senior Member
    So basically, I shouldn’t apply to a college that’s too expensive, unless I can get enough merit aid to make it affordable.

    Any college where you need competitive merit to afford it should be considered a "reach", even if just getting admission may be "match", "likely", or "safety". If the college is a "reach" for admission, it should be considered a "high reach" for competitive merit.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78481 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    You have a great GPA. Look at the test optional schools...fairtest.org

    These schools do not require the SAT or ACT for admission.

    Your EFC is under $5000 a year. Do you know how much your parents are able to contribute to your college costs annually.

    @sybbie719 this student is from New York State. Any suggestions for schools where his costs to attend would be as low as possible?
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9982 replies386 threads Senior Member
    Are you eligible for the NYS Excelsior grant? How much can your parents pay per year without borrowing?
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  • kenneydabestkenneydabest 16 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @austinmshauri

    I do think I qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship, but, unless I know I’m attending a SUNY, I don’t want it because you have to live in the state for the number of years that you’ve received it after you graduate.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78481 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    edited July 4
    @kenneydabest

    You would qualify for TAP, I believe as well. Hoping @sybbie719 responds.

    Can your family pay the EFC you think you have...that $5000 or so a year? What can they pay per year? That is a very important number to know.

    Are your parents self employed? Do they own a business? Are they divorced? Do they own real estate in addition to your primary residence?

    You have some SUNY schools on your list...have you considers CUNY?

    Is there a NY public within commuting distance of your home?



    edited July 4
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