New data show that the actual amount paid by low-income students is significantly lower than the average paid by students overall at all types of institutions in Minnesota.
New data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that the actual amount paid by low-income students is significantly lower than the average paid by students overall. The total cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, room and board, minus grants and scholarships, averaged about $23,500 for students attending Minnesota Private College Council (MPCC) member institutions in 2009-10. For students with family incomes below $30,000, the amount was about $14,350. This lower amount is due to State Grant awards, Pell Grants, institutional grants and scholarships.
By this fall, all colleges will be posting a net price
calculator or estimator on their websites. "Net price" refers to what
a student actually pays to attend, after subtracting grant aid. Families often are
not aware that the listed price of a college isn't the price they'll actually pay.
At Minnesota's Private Colleges, nine out of 10 students
receive aid that they don't have to pay back; the average student pays about
half of the posted price. So that students and parents don't eliminate colleges
too soon that might be a good fit - encourage them to make use of these new
A key factor in the decision of what college to attend is the financial aid award letter. Financial aid directors explain how to decipher these letters and provide tips and advice.
For parents with college-bound seniors, spring means more than just planning graduation parties — it's also the season for making major decisions about college. After finding out which schools have accepted them, students have a limited amount of time to choose where they will attend college. A key factor in that decision is deciphering financial aid award letters.
As you know, taking time to compare costs is worthy of students’ time. When it comes to college, the one with the lowest listed price may not be a bargain in the long haul. Our new handout, “How much does college cost?" outlines three steps for families:
Step 1 — Think about the amount you’ll actually pay (which usually isn’t the listed price).
Step 2 — Consider graduation rates. At Minnesota's Private Colleges, students are more likely to graduate in four years, avoiding financial outlays for a 5th or 6th year.
Data show that when looking at all costs — the amount actually paid,
graduation rates and longer-term value — families can come out ahead
with private nonprofit colleges.
Some institutions encourage families to use overly simplistic
comparisons on college costs. Whether it is a billboard ad or a flyer at
the State Fair, it’s suggested that comparing costs starts and stops
with looking at published tuition figures. But data analysis by the
Minnesota Private College Research Foundation shows that when looking at
all costs, families can come out ahead in the end with private
The percent of grant aid received by students at Minnesota’s Private Colleges increased 94% over the past eight years. Grant aid clearly makes a difference in our institutions’ affordability.
The percent of grant aid received on average by students at Minnesota's Private Colleges increased 94% over eight years, from 2000-01 to 2008-09. This compares to the change in published tuition and fees of 61% over the same time period.
Grant aid clearly makes a difference in making our institutions affordable. Although the list price for a college education continues to grow, the amount our students actually paid has declined from 57% to 51% of the published tuition price between 2000-01 and 2008-09.