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If your kids are in 11th grade, now is the time to start searching for college. Don't wait until the senior year rolls around - cause life is normally busy, and high school seniors sometimes are busy too!

When you are thinking about your child's choices - don't just write off those private schools. We've all likely heard the sticker prices associated with those Private Schools, and immediately conclude, there's no way we can afford that! "THAT" being $40 or even upwards of $50 grand a year.

Well - those numbers are what I call the "Sticker Price", and unfortunately, just like buying a car, the sticker is not what you necessarily pay, but where things start. It's also usually a rounded figure that includes Room & Board, and other expenses - which in the college vernacular is called, "Cost of Attendance".  This is an important term to learn and understand. Cost of Attendance (COA) is what you (your student) will need to pay for eventually. I say eventually, because many offers that you will receive from these organizations will show you a Total Financial Aid Award or "Package", but this normally includes loans that you (or your student) will eventually pay for.

A differentiator that many private schools have over public schools is the discretionary endowment funds that allow them to provide "merit scholarships". These are non-need (your income / assets don't matter) based awards generally based upon your students scholastic achievements (GPA, ACT or SAT scores). If your student is attractive (high scores) relative to the school that he/she is applying, then the scholarships begin in the $5k area and work up into the $20's. This is money you don't have to pay back, so it gets subtracted from the COA.
The public schools don't' have these resources - so if your student is interested in an public university (especially out-of state), check the COA from those schools and compare it to the COA (minus scholarship or grants) from your private school choice and now compare.

Of course there are many other things to consider in selecting the right school, not the least of which is the school's graduation rates or job placement assistance.   After all, if you save on COA annually, but take 2 extra years to graduate, along with 2 less years of working, and factor all of these things into the total COA --- it might just surprise you.

Pete Thoresen
Financial Advisor
Focus Financial Network, Inc.
1000 Shelard Parkway, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55426

952-225-0344 direct | 952-591-9770 main office

Securities offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance and investment advisory services offered through Focus Financial Network, Inc., a registered investment advisor not affiliated with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc.

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