How to Pay
Considering college costs doesn't stop with looking at listed prices. We recommend that families consider three steps:
Step 1: Think about the amount you'll actually pay.
The listed price is often not what something will actually cost. The same goes for college. Merit and need-based aid can make a huge difference, lowering the listed price to a "net price" and making college much more affordable.
Step 2: Consider graduation rates.
How likely is it that a student will graduate in four years? No one plans to take six years to graduate but it happens. Graduating on time helps save money and allows students to start working — and earning — earlier.
Step 3: Weigh the value of the investment.
Families should consider the quality of the education a student will receive. How will the choice help begin a career — and advance it later? How will a student be impacted in other ways?
Download our handout, How much does college cost?
A financial aid expert talks with the Clark family about how they've figured out how to afford college. (1:17)
View more clips from the Paying for Private College video. There are more Paying for College videos available as well, including one for students who will be the first in their families to go to college and others in Spanish, Hmong and Somali.