Why Pay List Price for College?

Why Pay List Price for College?

Why do we not shop for our children’s College Education like we would shop for a Car? 

Why do we settle for list price?  Instead of negotiating for the best financial aid package available?


This is the most exciting time of the year for the graduating seniors of 2017.  I would like to congratulate all those seniors who have already been accepted into the colleges of their choice.  I know that some of you are still waiting to hear back from those colleges to see where you might be attending, come this fall.

I would like to pass on to you some thoughts how to receive the most money from the colleges themselves to be able to lower your cost to attend their school.

The first thought that I would pass on to you is that 85% of all students accept the first financial aid package that the colleges extend to them without any type of negotiation.  The colleges themselves know this if you’re one of those students who they would like you to attend their school.  This is called a teaser offer, and if you accept it all the better for them if not, they usually will extend a better offer to you.  Just keep this in mind as you begin to look at the offers that you are receiving from the colleges.

  1. Let’s talk about competition and what does it really mean when it comes to getting the best financial aid package for any college that you are interested in. One of the things that we need to remember that the colleges will compete for the best students to come to their schools.  They have several barometers that they use to choose who they are willing to pay money to attend their universities.

If you are applying to only one college (they have this information and will use it accordingly), meaning that they will not extend as a healthy financial aid package to you as they would if they were competing with other colleges.  This means that you must keep an open mind and let the colleges compete to see who will offer you the best package for you to come to their school.

  1. You will need to be able to look at the offers that the colleges themselves tender to you. At this point, you do not compare offers of one college to the other.  That will come at a later point.  Your first need to judge yourself against your competition at that college and to see where that funding offer comes in.  If you are higher on on the list of items that they are looking at you should be receiving an offer higher than the average student is being offered.  Every college is different.  Some colleges will offer you more than other colleges.
  2. You will need to prepare a appeal strategy and carry it out for each college to start the process of receiving a better financial aid package.

We now need to talk about cost of attendance for just a minute.  All the financial figures that you receive from the colleges of how much you can expect to pay to attend every year is what they call the cost of attendance (C.O.A.).  What is included in this figure is the following: tuition, cost of books, all fees, room and board, and incidental costs that each student should incur during the school year.

There is a term that I use with my clients and that is, the actual cost of attendance.  This is when you take this COA and subtract a financial aid package, minus any loans they give you, and this gives you the actual cost out of your pocket to attend that school that following year.  This is extremely important as if you’re comparing three debt eight schools to see which one is the best for you to attend and tell you have this figure that you can compare one against the other.  You do not really know which one is the best offer for you to choose.

  1. Now that you know that you have received the best financial aid package from each college that you can. You then actually use the above method of finding out the actual cost of attendance for each school.  You then can choose between all the schools that have extended to you a financial aid package.  The best one for you to attend and this takes out the emotion completely out of it and allows you to pick the best college at the best price for you to attend.

I would like to wish all the best of luck as you find the best college for you to attend.  281-841-2943.  If you have any questions that I can help you with.

Marty McCain

No Comments

Post A Comment