Financial Aid Paying for College

Paying for a More Expensive Private School

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The average cost for a four-year private college is over $40,000!

Does that mean you can’t afford college unless you go to an in-state public school? Not exactly. There are ways to make it financially possible to attend a more expensive school.

Sticker prices for colleges are high. Total costs (including fees and tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and transportation) for in-state students attending 4 year public colleges are on average $17,336, according to the College Board. That price, although high, is a deal. The average cost for a four-year private college is more than $40,000.

But, there are ways to make it financially possible to attend a more expensive school.

First you can look for private schools that offer more grants. Sometimes the cost of a private school can actually be less than that of a public school, depending on the cost of the private school after the financial aid package amount is deducted. Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be paid back, and some private schools are well-enough endowed to offer grant monies generously. Also, public schools are feeling the pinch of a down-turned economy even more than many private schools. Their cost may be lower, but they may offer smaller financial aid amounts, most of which may be loans. Also don’t forget at some public schools, due to overcrowding or faculty shortages, a four-year education can turn into a five- or six-year education, pushing up the overall cost.

Another factor to consider if you want to go to a more expensive private school is that some of the top schools are starting to offer tuition and fee breaks. For example, Harvard and Yale are capping charges at a percentage of family income, and MIT allows its students to attend tuition free if their family earns less than $75,000 per annum. You also have to weigh the importance of private schools. The kind of career you might be heading for may affect the kind of college you should attend. If you want a career in financial planning and want to work in New York City or Washington, D.C., then going to the University of Oklahoma, to choose one of many, might not allow you the experience, internships, or networking that would be helpful for such a career.

Last, but certainly not least, you should be aware that there are many on-line resources that can help you find good loans that can make a difference, one that will close in the gap for those last few thousand you might need to make it possible for you to attend the college of your choice.