The average total cost to attend a private, four-year institution — including tuition, fees, room and board — has increased 30% over the past five years, to $32,307 for the 2007-08 academic year, according to the College Board’s Annual Trends in College Pricing report. At four-year public colleges and universities, costs are 40% higher, averaging a current $13,589. While the amount of financial aid has also risen, it’s done so at a comparatively sluggish pace of 11%. During the 2006-07 academic year, the average package of loans and grants for undergraduates was $9,499.
Here’s the nine ways to help you get more financial aid:
Apply for aid ASAP
Play hard to get
Dig into offer details
Look long term
Study scholarship policies
Exploit school rivalries
Get the college in your corner
Request a hardship review
It may be too late for those headed to college in the fall, but here is another tip to add to the list.
10. Plan Ahead
Before I entered high school I found out that my state offered a full tuition scholarship for the top 1% of students at each high school in the state.
I was able to do some research to find out that the percentages were calculated at my school using grade point average. If there was a tie, ACT scores were used to break the tie.
Because I was armed with the knowledge, I was able to secure one of the scholarships through the following steps:
Earned a perfect grade point average
Asked around to find out who else I was tied with
Asked the others their ACT scores
Retook the test to make sure that I had one of the top ACT scores to break the tie
Without planning, research, and action I probably wouldn’t have received the scholarship.
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