How Much Will College Actually Cost?

This is a question that many parents and graduating seniors ask. College is a huge investment for students and parents, and people usually cannot afford to pay for it out-of-pocket. In fact, only 30 percent of families can pay for college education without any help. Approximately 66 percent of people were able to get the funds that they need to continue their education through financial aid.

Unfortunately, getting financial aid can be a very complicated process. If you are trying to get funds for your child or yourself, then it is very important for you to understand how this process works. This will make things easier on everyone.

Understand How Much College Will Cost Your Family

Regardless of whether you apply for aid from the state government, federal government, the university or college that your child is attending or a private organization, they will compute the amount of money that your family will be able to pay for college. This is called the EFC, or expected family contribution.

Institutions and agencies that endow scholarships use different calculations to come up with the expected family contribution. They take the family’s asset, income, your child’s assets and income, family size and your family’s ability to borrow money into consideration. They also take other factors into consideration. The federal government believes that 35 percent of the child’s income and assets should go towards schooling whereas the parent’s contribution is set at five percent.

Making The Best Out Of The Funds Available

Applying for aid is very competitive, so you should have a clear idea of how much you need and how much you will be able to get before you send in your application. In most cases, aid does not cover tuition fees. You also need to consider the cost of school supplies, books as well as the cost of living on campus or in an apartment. This will allow you to get an idea of the amount of money that you will need for college.

Just because you cannot afford a school’s tuition, does not mean that you should not apply there. Consider this. You attend a community college that costs $8,000, but you are only able to get $4,000 in financial aid. However, you apply for an Ivy league school that costs $25,000, then you may be able to get $21,000 in college money.

You should also remember that aid is given out on a first come, first serve basis, so you should send in your application as early as possible.

For more tips about finding ways to pay for college, check out these helpful guides: College Funding Guide, Scholarship Guide for Everyone, and the Truth about College Expenses.

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