Yes, neither me nor my wife went to US undergrad so this is new to us.fwellimort wrote: ↑Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:17 pm To OP, US college process is quite confusing and requires a lot of research.
The sticker price might not always be the actual price.
First of all, keep in mind privates tend to have more money than public. So don't just discard privates as 'more expensive'.
Also, the US News ranking for some reason is roughly quite accurate with the financial aid ranking for privates:
(My/Peers experience being: Harvard/Princeton has best financial aid followed by Yale then Columbia then Stanford then MIT and so on. And each drop can be a huge difference in financial aid in the US News ranking)
A lot of private college sticker price has to do:
1. Family income
2. Student's GPA
3. Student's SAT/ACT
Yes, I understand ACT/SAT is optional and it's quite iffy this year with covid. However, many scholarships/financial aid depend on high test scores. Some schools give a lot if the child did well even on just the PSATs.
You will have to go to each school's site individually and plug and chug numbers. Note, each school's financial aid system is different. Some schools count your house as cash. Other schools consider your first house as 'not an asset'. Some schools (many) put a threshold on the cost of a home before being considered disposable cash (if house if $900k and school considers first $350k as 'not cash', then your family asset is only $550k) and so on.
Easiest example would be Harvard (note, Harvard/Princeton are not the norm when it comes to financial aid but it's a simple example):
Everyone accepted to Harvard will automatically be considered for financial aid scholarship. It's part of the acceptance letter.
You would shove in some numbers : https://college.harvard.edu/financial-a ... calculator
and get a result. Note, that result is not final. It's just an estimate and can be really off sometimes. You could make $150k and only pay $11k a year. Or you could make $150k in the very same school and depending on family circumstance, be asked to pay $78k a year. Nothings set in stone.
Then outside financial aid scholarships, there are some schools that offer merit scholarships. USC/Vanderbilt/WustL are pretty famous for this. Lots of half/full tuition scholarships if the student scores high on SAT/ACT and has a good GPA.
And some state schools such as U of Alabama does this too : 3.5+, 32+.
Of course, if the child is unwilling to take ACT/SAT due to covid this year, I wouldn't expect much of merit scholarships.
And if OP has a high family income, just note, outside merit scholarships, in-state schools are probably the best deals.
And the HS counselors who might be able to help are online and not very available.
My plan now is to make a spreadsheet with gpas, SATs, acceptance rate, cost, application deadlines etc and then focus on them one by one. University of California campuses are due first I believe, on November 30th.