High School 2 College

September 9, 2011

College Application Trend: Think Outside the State

The trend seems to be continuing this year:  Kids are applying to state schools in droves.

Kids aren’t even trying for private colleges in some cases.  They and their parents presume private colleges and universities will be just too expensive. (Read this article from a couple of years ago about SUNY schools.)

Don’t make that mistake.  Many – often most – students don’t pay full rate at private universities.  There are scholarships (need-based, meaning the school decided to help you pay, or merit-based, meaning they’ll give you money because your student is SUCH an attractive candidate that you make them look good).  There are loans. There are grants. There is work/study. There are organizations who are eager to give you advice about funding.

Many families pay less at a private school, despite the difference in stated tuition rates, than they would at a public school, especially in a state like New York where the state schools are fairly costly. But you won’t know for sure what the out of pocket cost would be if you don’t apply.

Another excellent choice for affordable education is someone else’s state school.  The University of Rhode Island, University of Delaware, University of Connecticut, Rutgers, George Mason — there are dozens and dozens of excellent schools, ranging from barely selective to world-class universities.

The bad news about applying to other states’ schools:  it can get expensive (here are the most expensive), but for many schools, it’s not much more than what you’d pay at a SUNY school.

The good news about applying to other states’ schools: they’re hungry for your money. Selective colleges that used to accept only limited numbers of out-of-state students are looking for qualified out-of-state students because they represent more tuition money for the school (see this Newsweek article with examples and figures).

BIG NEWS:  Apparently, there is a way to compare your likely out-of-pocket expenditure for colleges coming in October.  Read about Net Price Calculators here.  They’re bound to be confusing at first, but they should give you useful information.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions!

Wendy Segal

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