Addressing the topic of affordability with students and parents is possible — with some facts! Though every family’s situation is different and there may not be a one-size-fits-all answer, students can afford a private college. The misperception exists that private colleges are out of reach, but that myth is something we tackled in a recent article, one that addressed the fact that the listed price isn’t what most people will end up paying, in particular at private nonprofit colleges:
“All kinds of institutions in Minnesota offer gift aid, in the form of scholarships and grants, notes Jeff Olson, director of financial aid at Bethel University. So that gift aid lowers the listed price to a ‘net price,’ which families then pay — using a mix of savings, income and borrowing. Yes, the list price at private nonprofits is higher than at publics. But the amount of gift aid is typically much larger too.”
One key point that the financial aid experts shared is the value of high school families testing out what might be possible by using net price calculators. These online tools exist on each college’s website can shed a lot of light on how much students may receive in financial aid and how much they and their family might have to pay out of pocket.
Check out the article and consider how it helps you with the conversations you are having with parents. (And if you have any suggestions for how we could better help families use those valuable net price calculators to get an early read on what will be possible, send us a note.)
Also you’re hearing concerns about debt, here is a new background piece from the Council that could help you and your families think through this important topic.
Another useful resource is the Paying for college videos, which were co-sponsored by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Minnesota Private College Fund. They’re packed with concrete advice from local experts to help demystify how Minnesota families can finance a four-year college education.