- "On a full ride" -- remember high school? It is a professional sport in high school to "one-up" your peers; to put down your rival; to stretch the truth while talking about yourself. Yes, there are non-athletic, full rides. There are also people who win the Mega-Zillion-Jackpot lottery. I do not know any of those people, but I read about them in the news. In SWIC's five-year history we've had one student go on a merit-based 100% scholarship. She was valedictorian at a private high school. And, by the way, we know of another valedictorian from a different but equally prestigious high school who is attending a well-known university with $0.00 (zero) in financial aid awards.
- "Lots of scholarships" -- according to the U.S. Department of Education only about 1% (one percent) of all educational dollars comes from private scholarships. Many of those are linked to very specific qualifications. For example, in my Sunday, Sep 27, hometown newspaper there was an article about a local student who received a very generous scholarship which he qualified for as an employee of Autobell Car Wash, Inc. Many scholarships, if not most, are attached to very specific criteria. It is worthwhile to check, and apply for all you qualify for. Furthermore, many scholarships are "one offs," meaning you are awarded them once and that is all. It is important to let your financial aid office know that fact.
- "Pay for college" -- Money for college comes predominantly from parents' check books, from student and parent loans, from a university's own resources (endowment, and tuition discounts) and from work-study earnings. We advise parents to be prepared to pay one hundred percent of the cost of attendance, minus any student loans their child undertakes. Any outcome better than that is a plus! At SWIC we help families do better than that, nearly all of the time. However, there is more art than science in the achievement. Furthermore, if you will scroll down to previous blogs, you will understand that it is anything but automatic.
Let's wrap up the conversation we started last week (http://www.succeedwhereitcounts.com/blog/ "The Four Year Experience at only $100,000 Each"). Students commonly give us some push back on the task of college selection. The student often has one university in focus; maybe two at the most. There is economic value in expanding those horizons.
That is where mom and dad come into the action. The cost of a college education, at the end of the day, is a family decision. We [http://www.succeedwhereitcounts.com] can produce choices. Which choice is made, however, is entirely yours.
We have had families turn down a full scholarship (90% or better cost-of-attendance covered) and choose something more expensive, but closer to home. One family turned their collective noses up at a 50% scholarship (a potential savings of more than $120,000), because they had one particular college in mind and did not care what it cost. There are other, less dramatic examples, but the point is there is more to college selection than price.
Value is an intangible that not only will be considered by consumers, but should be considered. Value matters. Value is why SWIC does more than coach students in the intensive work of college choice. We also coach and advise parents on cash flow solutions. It is not uncommon for families to choose from the middle of the cost pack among the choices available. At SWIC we are actually very good at finding wealth transfers -- money people are currently transferring away unknowingly and unnecessarily -- and recouping those dollars to be applied to the out-of-pocket costs of a college education.
Regardless of what your final choice may be, our unwavering counsel is to choose a college or university with a degree program that will open a door to a personally satisfying and economically remunerative career for your student.
- Even at the better colleges, only about 6 out of 10 students graduate in 4 years. There are some notable exceptions, but no college I know of reports better than about 90% 4-year graduation rate.
- At $20,000 per year cost of attendance (N.C. residents, in-state rates), and a good chance of the "four year experience" taking 5 years (or longer), $100,000 is reality. [more info]
- Cost of Attendance = tuition, fees, room and board, books and miscellaneous expenses. Between our students and ourselves all of that will be borne as some combination of cash outlay and education loans. If a student gets some merit grant-in-aid (scholarships) to reduce the sticker price, good for them, and for us. But . . .
- Remember, in nearly every case scholarships (merit grants-in-aid) are based on four years, are dependent on maintaining an eligibility GPA, and may be lost if a student encounters any disciplinary issues. In addition, if the grant-in-aid is tied to a particular degree program, a change of majors may result in the loss of some or all of the scholarship.
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One lesson to learn may apply mainly to college athletes and a professional sports career. Another lesson, more widely applilcable, relates to the first question we ask our high school students, "What are you going to do the Monday morning after you graduate from college?" [http://www.succeedwhereitcounts.com] Put another way, focus on the 40, not the 4 -- the forty years of a working career after college, and not just the four, delightful years of college.
College is wonderful, and a good choice for many high school students. College is also an artificially created and sustained community bearing very little resemblance to "the real world." Just ask Tim! [view story]
Tim was best in the nation as a college football player, a Heisman Trophy winner. He competed for two national championships, winning one. Everything he did in college was with an eye to playing professional football. Sadly for Tim, he simply did not have the skill set to achieve his goal. If only, while a scholastic athlete, someone had evaluated more thoroughly his skills and potential, he may have avoided the deep disappointments of the past several years.
College? Know the end-game before the kick-off.
- The Best Way to Pay for College
- What Every Parent and Student Needs to Know About FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
- How Much is a College Education Going to Cost You, Really?
- Navigating the Pathways of College Admissions and Financial Aid in 2021
- Merry Christmas! Your Child and the Christmas Child
- 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Completing FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
- Gear Up, Tenth Graders
- Apply for Fall, Get Spring Semester. Why do colleges send "Spring Semester Acceptance" letters?
- Why do colleges "Wait List" some students and what to do if you're on the wait list
- Is There a Scholarship Awarded With Your Letter of Acceptance?
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