During my presentations on Paying for College without going Broke I refer to the reference materials below that I hope you will use during your college search.
59 Colleges that do Not Give Merit Awards (or very limited) This list should be used for families who qualify for need based aid, and have high achieving students. If the family does NOT qualify for aid, these colleges are most likely 'full price'. Most colleges on this list fill 100% of need, but remember, you must have 'need'. If a college is not on this list, they most likely offer merit awards. The range for colleges that give merit awards are in the range of $2,000 to $20,000, but most are in the $15K range. If you use the "Net Price Calculators", you can often receive an estimate of the merit award.
Paying for College without going Broke Presentation Slides PDF of all slides for a 45 minutes talk on College Affordability.
Colleges that require the CSS Profile, the more complex financial aid form Note that some of these colleges do not require the Non-Custodial Parent to also submit a Profile form, which is indicated by a column on the worksheet noting yes/no for NC Profile, (in general, they don't need detailed financial information from the non-custodial parent if they don't require the Non-Custodial Profile form). This is very good news for divorced families. Warning: Please call the college to confirm that they don't require any financial information from the non-custodial parent. Sometimes a college has their own non-custodial form.
Recommended Reading for parents and students (Paula's favorites)
Colleges that Participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program (WUE) where students of participating states only pay 1.5 times the in-state tuition rates for schools on the list. Example: At University of Montana, Washington residents pay 1.5x their in-state tuition of $5,150 to equal $7,725 instead of the true out-of-state tuition of $16,425. Big savings. Caution: Check school's eligibility requirements. Varies by school.
Sample Excel worksheet that can be used to compare Net Price Calculator resultsfrom each college, as well as compare the final financial aid awards your student receives in Spring of their senior year.
Listing of colleges that give generous merit awards
Listing of colleges where almost everyone receives a scholarship
Equity in Home used by colleges
Don't forget to calculate your own "Expected Family Contribution" (EFC) at www.collegeboard.com Enter "EFC Calculator" in the search field. It should be the first one displayed. The "EFC" is the dollar amount the colleges think you can pay for college (using the FAFSA formula). The calculator shows FM and IM. FM is the federal method (FAFSA), and IM is the Institutional Method (Profile form).
Another excellent tool is to try the "Net Price Calculators" on each college's website. It gives you an idea of a potential financial aid award a family might expect from the school. Try Seattle University's, Willamette's, Univ of Portland and Stanford, as they are pretty accurate. To find the Net Price Calculators, go to the college's main web page and enter "Net Price Calculator" in the search field. All colleges are required to have this calculator on their websites.
Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.