College decisions / Financial aid

<p>Hi! I'm a sophomore at a high school near Chicago. My parents and I are just beginning to look at colleges and whatnot. One of our concerns is the hefty price tag on almost all of them. Money is a issue for choosing the colleges for me. My parents make around 65,000 dollars a year - with working excessive overtime weekly.
The colleges we've been looking at are;</p>

<p>Johns Hopkins University (Private - 50k a year)
Loyola University (Chicago) (Private - 40k a year)
University of Michigan (OOS - 42k a year)
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign (In - State - 20k a year)
Northwestern University (Private - 45k a year)
University of Southern California (OOS - 45k a year) </p>

<p>I have okayish stats - a 3.4 GPA, a 32 ACT, a rigorous course load, a lot of extra - curricular activities with leadership positions, etc. I plan on majoring in neuroscience or biology. I heard of MIT's elimination of tuition for any family that has an income of 75,000$ or less. Is there any other colleges that has the same thing? But one that's more easier to get into? (duh) Or, is it worth it to be in debt after your undergraduate years? If anyone can give my family and I some advice, that would be great! Thanks!</p>

<p>Many schools will likely give you financial aid with a $65,000 income -- not a full ride, but a lot. Schools with large endowments (such as the Ivies or MIT) are have very generous aid policies. You could probably find a lot of examples in the college-specific forums here.</p>

<p>Debt... It depends. It's suggested that you never take out more than $20,000 in loans (I think this is the figure. Anyone can correct me?) because, with the high interest rates generally tacked upon it, you could end up paying back twice the amount you borrowed. If you really, really love the school, then the debt is worth it. However, even if you love it that much, $80,000 of debt really isn't worth it. So... it's a very delicate balance of "how much loans" and "you love this school how much?"</p>

<p>Many states also give out financial assistance to state residents who attend schools in that state (wow, that's a lot of states). For example, New York has the TAP program. If you're a New York resident who attends a New York university (private OR public), then you possibly qualify for some money.</p>

<p>From what I can're going to be having less trouble with tuition (you should be alright...they're pretty nice to under $100,000/year most places) and more trouble with that GPA. Some of those schools aren't going to like that all.</p>

<p>...on a grammar note...although most people think it's basically never proper to say "me" when they're listing several screwed it up.</p>

If anyone can give my family and I some advice, that would be great!


<p>Just do it alone...</p>

<p>should it be:</p>

<p>If anyone can give I advice, that would be great!</p>


<p>If anyone can give me advice, that would be great!</p>


<p>Then it becomes obvious, and you can just put it together.</p>

<p>If anyone can give my family and me some advice that would be great.</p>

<p>Also note...don't put a comma before "that" when it joins two clauses.</p>

<p>Anyhow...just thought I'd share that little trick. Sorry to pester you if you already knew it and it just kind of happens all the time. Maybe you can use that on the ACT English, though!</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>A lot of students get a heck of a shock when they run into the financial reality of the cost of college. If you read through some of the posts on CC you will run across many distressed students who have been accepted to their dream schools and somehow expected money to fall from the sky to pay for it and are discovering this does not happen. It is good that you are thinking about this now while you have lots of time to research it.</p>

<p>Your OOS public schools will probably turn out expensive for you unless you qualify for major merit money. State schools do not tend to have large endowments for grant money for need based aid. With an income of $65,000 a year your FAFSA EFC is going to be 10,000 which means you will not qualify for federal grant money. A public OOS is unlikely to come up with $30,000+ in grant money so you would be looking at a lot of loans.</p>

<p>You need some safeties in your list - both academic and financial. Most of the schools that eliminate tuition and loans are very very competitive such as Harvard etc. A 3.4 is low for such schools. </p>

<p>To be competitive for merit based aid you need to be in the top few percentage points Stats wise of the schools you are applying to. Your ACT is good. (though it never hurts for scholarship purposes to retake it and increase it a little). The best scholarships at my Ds State U look at a combination of ACT and GPA. Your GPA would hurt you a little for top scholarships that require ACT and GPA so try and work on that.</p>

<p>The way need based aid works for FAFSA only schools is that you complete FAFSA. FAFSA produces a number called the EFC (Estimated Family Contribution). The school takes your EFC away from their COA (Cost Of Attendance). The difference is your 'need' on which financial aid is based. So if the school COA is $42,000 and your EFC is 10,000 your 'need' is $32,000. However many schools do not meet full need and some that do will meet it with thousands of dollars in loans. With an EFC of 10,000 you will not qualify for federal grant money so any federal aid will be in the form of loans and work study. It is unlikely a State school will meet your 'need' of $32,000.</p>

<p>Private schools often require CSS/profile in addition to FAFSA. They will give federal aid based on FAFSA and their own institutional aid based on CSS. Some private schools have huge endowments which they use to finance need based aid so a student with really high Stats and really low income can actually end up paying less to go to such a school. But they are the most competitive to get in to.</p>

<p>P<em>hp</em>fan: Just to let you know, English is not my first language. So please excuse my grammatical errors. By the way, I can tell that you're a cool kid.</p>

<p>Skramata and swimcatsmom: Thanks a bunch for your input. I will keep it that mind!</p>