Cheap College

Is it time for “tough love?”

Some choices are just too hard. With over 45 million Americans now on food-stamps, many are walking away from their mortgages. What we don’t know is how many college students are being forced to walk away from their educations.

One of my former students played too hard at college and lost his $30,000 per year scholarship. Or, $30,000 X 4 = $120,000. The parents are forcing him to make a tough choice: go to work full-time, or go to a local community college and pay for his own education with Stafford Loans (if they’re still available in this nose-dive economy).

It’s a tough-love moment. We’re up against an economy that’s getting worse. I work with parents who are hard-bitten realists and want a bigger bang for their buck. And rightly so. If I can deliver beyond expectations, I may get a new client. But deliver I must. It’s no longer “show time,” it’s survival time.

Which means I must search out those colleges who accept quality students but charge a whole lot less. For example, I recently did a search for a family who answered my most important question:

Over what amount of money will you NOT
spend to send your daughter to college?

The answer was $25,000. So, here’s what I did: I found the following out-of-state colleges – in no particular order – whose admission rates were less than 60% (read: more selective students where my talented student would find a “fit”) and met the parents’ cost criteria:

1.   University of Delaware (57%)
2.   Virginia Commonwealth University (59%)
3.   Binghamton University – SUNY(33%)
4.   Penn State – University Park (52%)
5.   St. Mary’s of Maryland (57%)
6.   Stony Brook University – SUNY (40%)
7.   York College of Pennsylvania (56%)
8.   Salisbury University (54%)
9.   SUNY – Geneseo (35%)
10. SUNY – New Platz (34%)
11. SUNY – Oneonta (39%)

Symptomatic of New York State’s financial disaster is how low they charge for their excellent state schools, an appealing idea that’s biting them where it hurts. Unlike States in bankruptcy, we out-of-state payers want our own debt ceilings to be as low as possible.

There are some fabulous schools (read: “great buys”) with very low profiles, much higher admission rates, but have honors programs for talented students at much lower costs. The most obvious that come to mind are the Univ of Massachusetts at Amherst and Marymount University in Arlington, VA; UMass will cost a parent about $16,500 (without  a scholarship) and an honors student at Marymount could pay no more than $9,000.

There are some great buys out there if you’re not hung up on brand names and need to afford a good program for a talented student.

In sum, “tough love” doesn’t have to be tough. You just have to set your priorities and go for what works in this unforgiving economy.
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More information simply won’t do it. To get into these colleges, you need a proven marketing strategy. To get started, click here.

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