Financial Aid: Talking Brass Tacks on College Costs

It’s a bird; it’s a plane; it’s the looming college bill everyone has been dreading for 18 years! College is as expensive as it has ever been and each year the cost of attendance increases. Since 2010, the average price of a 4 year public university has risen from $15,918 to $22,826 this last year, a thirty percent increase. Private schools do not fare much better as the average cost of attendance soared from $32,617 to $44,750, a twenty-seven percent increase. Overall, the cost of a 4 year college education has an inflation rate of seven percent a year, just over triple the rate of inflation for the US dollar. However, there is a silver lining within this wallet-breaking reality: Financial aid can significantly offset the actual cost of attending a college. Last year more than 150 billion dollars of aid was made available to students to help cover the cost of tuition, books, and living expenses. That amount does not count private endowments set aside by colleges to give as grant aid to matriculates. Need-based grant aid is provided by many private institutions to lower-income families, and merit based aid from private scholarships and most colleges is available to academically accomplished or athletically gifted students. Given the right factors, a school with a “sticker price” of $60,000 can cost from $5,000 to $20,000 a year. In this blog series, we will delve into student aid, explaining loans, grants, scholarships, and everything in between.

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