Swarthmore NPC-was it accurate for anyone?

My son is a rising junior, and has just discovered Swarthmore. According to the Net Price Calculator, this would be an affordable choice for our family (realizing, of course, that it is extremely competitive admissions-wise).</p>

<p>We have triplets that will be entering college at the same time, so it is important for us to keep the price in mind. The Swarthmore NPC was in line with what our EFC usually works out to be. I know nothing is definite until you actuallly apply and get the FA, but it seems a lot of the posts I have read on this board indicate that families were not receiving anything close to what they thought they would be receiving. </p>

<p>I am just wondering if any families found that the NPC was accurate.</p>

<p>Thank you in advance for any help!</p>

<p>Swarthmore has an additional form you fill out for FA that is very detailed (more than any other college my D applied to last year). If you have ANY assets or income that did not go into the calculator, you can count on it being covered in their form, and likely affecting your aid. Also, no NPC is very accurate if you have divorced parents, small businesses, or trusts in the picture.</p>

<p>Thanks for the quick reply-intparent!</p>

<p>I appreciate the insight. We are new to “looking at colleges”. I think that if Swarthmore remains a choice for my son, that we will contact the FA department and see if they could give us a clearer picture. Will they do that? I don’t really want my son to set his hopes on something this is just not do-able. </p>

<p>We don’t reallly have any of the circumstances you described. The only thing I can think of that wasn’t covered in the NPC is the equity we have in our home (which, while good is not super substantial). </p>

<p>Thanks again for your help-I really appreciate it.</p>

<p>You certainly could contact them and ask them. But I assume your son will probably be applying to several colleges so you can compare the financial aid packages anyway. As you mentioned, Swat is very competitive for admissions, so is a “reach” for just about everyone. So he will need some matches and safeties, including at least one school he is sure he can get into and you are sure you can afford no matter what the FA package looks like.</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice, intparent. Although we are fairly new to this, we do realize that the top competitive schools are a “reach” for anyone, and he will include schools that are matches/safeties (both academically and financially) when it comes time to apply. His basic stats are in line with the top schools at this point, so he can realistically have a shot at them.</p>

<p>What I would like to minimize, if I can, is spending time on a prospective college that is more likely than not, outside of our league financially. I usually cross reference the NPC with cc boards to see if people report that their FA package was in line with what they thought it would be. </p>

<p>So, again, I am curious if any families found the FA package to be what they expected. </p>

<p>Thanks, again for responding so quickly. I appreciate the insight.</p>

<p>We fount the NPC to be accurate. We also found Swarthmore to offer the best FA of the selective LAC’s we looked at. They have a detailed, though paper intensive process. At the end of the process I was convinced they tried their best to give us the best FA package possible. Good luck to you and your triplets!</p>

<p>My family found our FA package to be a bit more generous than we anticipated. But my family falls under the “divorced parents” category so that might’ve had something to do with it. The NPC was a bit more generous than our actual package (but that was expected) but Swarthmore’s FA rivals any other top notch institution. They did just get #1 from Princeton Review for Best Financial Aid!</p>

<p>Our FA experience was lengthy (for several reasons… we didn’t get our finalized offer until June/July) and you can PM me for more details if you’d like.</p>

<p>Hope your son looks into Swat more! It’s an amazing school!</p>

<p>Thank you, kaukauna and BostonBoy95. That is good to hear. I know that there are no guarantees, but as long as the NPC was on target for some families, it is worth continuing to pursue.</p>

<p>Congrats to your children, they must be great students. </p>

<p>We have a long way to go–but with 3 at once we have to be smart about narrowing things down before we run all around and visit places. (We are from the Midwest…so visiting Swarthmore would take some effort. Additionally, there is not a large local contingency that attends the school-so not really many local resources of information). If a school has a reputation for not really meeting need, I want my son to be aware of that going into the process. My other 2 are really good students, but do not have the stats to apply to schools like Swarthmore-so we have lots and lots of schools to wade through! </p>

<p>Thank you again for answering my questions. Swarthmore does, indeed, look amazing.</p>

<p>Also, I believe (not 100% but I’m pretty sure, can someone verify this?) that the Swarthmore FA handbook says that they calculate a family’s contribution then divide it by the amount of children in college. So you will really only be paying 1/3 of what Swat thinks your family can contribute to a college education, if that makes any sense. If I’m completely off base I’m sorry but I swear I heard that somewhere!</p>

<p>Thanks Bostonboy95-that information actually fits with how many colleges handle the aid, and the amount that Swarthmore indicates it would expect us to pay is roughly our EFC divided by 3. Good to know that is appears Swarthmore follows that model.</p>

<p>Again, my appreciation to everyone that took the time to reply. I am so happy that one of my son’s advisors pointed him in the direction of Swarthmore. Not only does it seem like an incredible school, but DS was so impressed by what he saw/read about Swarthmore, that it has opened his eyes to the small LACs and what they could offer. </p>

<p>Thanks, again.</p>