What's the best strategy for reducing college costs?

Gone are the days when the #1 college worry was not getting into first-choice schools. Debt has been the biggest stressor for over fifteen years according to the Princeton Review’s annual survey. At HeyCollege, we scour schools’ financial aid data to help students find financial-fit colleges and avoid debt. The government website College Navigator is another great way to find out which colleges are affordable for your family. Search for the college you're interested in, and then expand its “Net Price” tab to determine the average cost for your family's income range. You can also open the tab called "Retention and Graduation Rates" to see if a school is graduating its students on time, which will reduce debt as well. To check how much merit aid a college provides, you'll need to google the college's name and the phrase "Common Data Set." Scroll down most of the way to reach section H2A, "Number of Enrolled Students Awarded Non-Need-Based Scholarships and Grants." Rows N and O list how many non-athletes receive merit aid and what the average award is.

Besides determining which colleges offer significant discounts, you can maximize financial aid and scholarship offers by demonstrating interest, submitting strong applications and scores, closely evaluating and comparing financial aid offers, and appealing for additional aid. More information about comparing financial aid offers is available on our blog. We also help students demonstrate interest since some colleges save their most generous offers for students they think are likely to enroll.