I never thought I’d be say this, but it’s far easier to get the net price of a vehicle than most college degrees. Just go to any car-pricing Web site and you can come up with incentives and approximate the net price a dealer will offer for a particular vehicle.
While you can find a price on any vehicle in the country on your smartphone, it’s brutally difficult to do this with colleges.
The government’s College Scorecard and College Navigator can help you search for colleges with generous aid policies — and will provide lists of the colleges with the lowest net prices — but I wonder how complete the reporting is. Few people know about them, although they should be first stops for any family looking for aid.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways of lowering that net price and avoiding loans.
How to Lower Your Net Cost:
You have a number of tools to help you with lowering your out-of-pocket costs of college.
1) Use Finaid.org to find local, state and national scholarships. Apply for as many as you can. There’s more than $3 billion in private grants out there, but you have to fill out the forms and write essays, where required.
2) Fill out the FAFSA. This free form for universal aid applications is a must. Do it soon, even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for financial aid.
3) Get serious with financial aid departments. If you don’t want loans in the package, ask your favored schools to get rid of them and replace them with grants, tuition breaks and scholarships. The best students will get the best deals.
4) If you don’t like your aid package, negotiate. Ask for a “professional review.” They might be able to sweeten your offer.
All of this college pricing business should be much more transparent. Yet as long as colleges maintain a divide-and-conquer strategy, they know you won’t do your homework and they can keep raising prices.
To read the complete source article, click here.