Here are the top 5 myths about paying for college our counselors hear. Don’t fall victim to these myths!
1. My family makes too much money to qualify for financial aid.
This is one of the biggest myths out there. You may not qualify for aid at one school, and qualify for lots of money at another school (see blog How Do You Get Money for College?)
2. It costs more to go out-of-state than to stay in-state.
Not so. With increased tuition rates in many states, it is not always cheaper to stay in-state. There are out of state tuition waivers available for many students. Also, colleges offer scholarships to students for athletes, scholars, certain majors, leadership, and other categories. Don’t narrow your list of colleges to just in-state schools.
3. It cost more to go to a private school than a public school.
Not necessarily. Each family situation is unique and you may find it will cost less for your family if you attend a private school. See blog: Can you Pay Less to Go To A More Expensive College? for Jack’s story of paying less at Dartmouth than CSU Los Angeles.
4. Outside scholarships help reduce what you pay out of pocket for college.
Not true. Scholarships don’t necessarily reduce your family’s out of pocket expense unless you pay the full cost of college out of pocket. Scholarships are part of your financial aid package. Colleges may subtract outside scholarships from their own merit awards, or from your student loan/work study allocation. Ask colleges for their policies. This is why it is in your best interest to explore your choices for college. Find one that best fits your situation and needs.
5. Financial aid only helps with tuition.
Financial aid is available to pay for ALL college expenses: tuition, room and board, books, transportation, and personal expenses. Colleges realize you need to buy toothpaste and have a pizza now and then. Financial aid can apply to all of these costs.
GuidedPath offers lots of resources to help you plan for college costs.
- Take the EFC Calculator survey to determine your EFC and generate a strategy for reducing college costs.
- Read how the College Information Financial Aid Graphs provide insight into the financial aid packages offered to students.
- Utilize the Financial Aid Form Report in GuidedPath – it summarizes all the financial aid requirements for each of the schools on your list.
- Take a look at these financial aid documents prepared for GuidedPath Families including “Tackling the Basics of Financial Aid” and “How to Compare Financial Aid Offers.”