The cost of education is not a true reflection of its quality. The cost of college education rises year after year, leading many to question if it is even worthwhile to pursue a degree when the ultimate cost is an immense load of student loan debt. All post-secondary education comes with a price tag, but it is possible to save money without compromising on quality.
Quality of education
To determine the quality of a schools education it is worth being guided by the national college rankings published each year by the U.S. News and World Report. These show where students can expect to receive the best quality of education, and often include many Ivy League colleges and a mix of private and public colleges. Naturally, students will also wish to consider the reputation of the faculty in which they wish to study.
When the best education also coincides with the highest prices, students are often deterred and unaware of the great opportunities many colleges provide through need-blind admissions. Some of the top colleges do not consider a students ability to pay for their education but instead have policies of meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need.
This gives students from families with low or middle incomes the opportunity to study at top colleges without accruing very much debt. Some colleges have even removed the necessity of their students using student loans, by replacing them with financial aid. Unfortunately other colleges are influenced by the pricing structure of the top colleges and put their prices up to keep up with the trend.
Managing educational costs
If the top schools seems an academic stretch too far, there are many great savings to be made by attending an in-state college. Many offer much lower tuition fees to in-state undergraduates, who can also maximise the potential of in-state grants. Most states have a college with an excellent academic reputation.
Although some state grants are portable, there is a higher probability of obtaining free financial assistance from one’s state if one attends an in-state college. It pays to locate the best colleges in your state and consider the costs of attending once state grants have been obtained.
Outside scholarships are a great way of making a college education affordable. Whilst they do not free the family from providing their expected family contribution, scholarships can be of great benefit if the student would otherwise need to take out student loans. Many colleges also offer their own scholarships and many of the top schools have completely replaced merit and athletic based scholarships with financial aid scholarships.
If you seek an excellent education, then there is no need to be put off by the price tag by jumping to the conclusion it is not affordable. Instead, look at some of the institutions that are famous for the quality of their education, and then look at what their financial aid offices have to offer.