We had a family come
in our offices the other day with a very concerned look on their face.
seen this look before.
It’s a look of uncertainty. The constant
thought of “how the heck am I going to pay for college for all my kids?” – can do that to parents. That’s
why the main goal of today’s report is to provide for you 3 of the absolute best college cost reduction strategies on
Have your child take advanced placement (AP) courses and exams in high school
AP courses are college-level courses that help students prepare for college-level work. After taking AP
courses, students can take AP exams offered in the same subjects as the AP courses. If students score a grade of 3 or higher
on an AP exam, they can often receive college credit. Students with high grades on AP exams in many different subjects are
sometimes granted a full year of course credit at the colleges where they enroll. The receipt of course credit can result
in savings in college costs.
These savings can be quite large if it means
that a student is able to enter into a college as a second-year student; such a student might save the cost of tuition and
fees for a whole year of college. Having your child graduate in 3 years instead of 4 or even 5 years (the current average
is just over 5 years) is arguably the biggest cost reduction strategy that exists right now. And getting AP credit helps make
However, not all colleges and universities give college
credit for a grade of 3 or higher on an AP exam. Contact your child’s high school to find out if AP courses and exams
are offered. Write to or call the admissions office of the colleges that are of interest to your child to find out if they
give credit for an AP exam grade of 3 or higher.
Strategy #2: Selecting The Best College For Your Child
This is a tricky one. But one that can pay off big time. We have a theory here at the College Planning
Network. A theory based on a lot of observation and real life case studies. The theory states, “every child
is a star at the right college.”
What does this theory mean exactly?
In short, it means that just about every kid has a unique talent that at least
one college covets. And when a college wants to attract students with a particular unique talent, they do so with an
offer of reduced tuition.
That’s why it’s so important to
do everything possible to search and match up your child’s unique talent with the right college.
Strategy #3: Negotiate for a better financial
Any financial aid package your child receives
from a college is not set in stone. Just because a school offer’s you a certain package, doesn’t mean you have
to accept it. In fact if you follow these 5 steps, you’ll put yourself in a better chance of getting additional free
money from a college.
Step #1: Calculate your EFC (Expected Family Contribution).
Step #2: Find out what the college’s history of giving out financial
Step #3: Compare your offer with what the college’s financial
aid award history is. If you were under-awarded or given a better offer by a competing school you have an opportunity to negotiate.
Step #4: Write a letter to negotiate explaining why the initial offer
was unfair and your desire for a revised offer.
Step #5: See what
the college comes back with before accepting.
I have seen many cases
where colleges gave an additional $10,000+ of free money per year just for asking in a negotiation letter.
There you have it… 3 of the best known ways to keep college costs as low as possible.