Your most affordable college may be a private university.
For most high school students, the cost of college can be daunting. Students have to choose between in-state schools, public universities, religious colleges, and private colleges, all while weighing their options against their budget.
Most students start with the misunderstanding that all private colleges are unaffordable. This is unfortunate, because some of the best higher education in this country is administered in private colleges. If you’re looking for a private college that’s affordable, look no further—we’ve created a collection of colleges and tips to help you seek out affordable options for private college.
The initial sticker shock that many applicants to private colleges feel is normal. The tuition listed on private college websites can range from $20,000 to $60,000 a year before financial aid, leading many applicants to believe that such schools are not affordable for them.
The truth, however, is that many private colleges offer more financial aid packages, often of a higher value, than public universities. Once you factor in these aid packages, the cost of tuition can many times be equal to or less than that of public schools.
Let’s take a moment to define a couple terms to better understand the actual cost of attending a private college.
Posted price: This the price that colleges post on their website, typically considered the maximum price of a full-time student. It’s unlikely you’ll have to pay that much money.
Net price: This is the price a student will pay after scholarships and grants are deducted from the posted price. This is the price that you should use when comparing the cost of colleges. If one school has offered you a great scholarship, it’s net price is likely to be better than that of a comparable school that has not offered any aid.
Knowing the difference between the posted price and the net price can make a big difference in which schools you choose to apply to and attend. Your ultimate decision in which school you choose is deeply impacted by your understanding, calculation, and comparison of your options’ net prices.
If you’re certain that you want to attend a private school, it’s time to start looking into which schools will offer you financial aid and how much that aid affects your cost of attendance.
Below are some foolproof steps for you to take in order to calculate the cost of each private school you’re interest in. Keep in mind that some factors of the final cost of college won’t be included here; special, merit-based scholarships cannot be included in this calculation until you’ve applied and received the award. If you know how much merit-based scholarship you’ve been offered, you can get an even more accurate picture of the school’s final cost.
Steps to calculate college costs:
Then it’s time to make comparisons. Once you’ve collected all of your data, you can compare the cost of attending each school. This may not be a complete picture if you can’t include merit-based scholarships, outside scholarships, or government grants, but it’s a good first step in assessing the cost of different private colleges.
When you consider the actual price you end up paying, private colleges may actually be a better value. Consider that many private schools offer:
Depending on the experiences and outcomes you want in your college experience, a private school may be an even better value than a public one.
Public or private, college is a big investment. There’s no way to get around this fact in the modern world. Here are five more tips and tricks to help lower your out-of-pocket cost for college.
Colleges of Distinction has vetted many of the finest private schools in the country. We hope that this breakdown has helped you realize that an education at a private college is within your financial reach.
This post originally appeared on Colleges of Distinction’s blog.
About Colleges of Distinction:
Since 2000, Colleges of Distinction has been a trusted resource for more than 40,000 guidance counselors across the United States, thousands of parents and students, and hundreds of colleges and universities. Our mission is simple: to help parents and students find not just the “best college,” but the right college.