TuitionFit helps cost-conscious parents and students begin their college search either before they apply to schools, or after they receive acceptance letters and financial aid awards. Suppose that your family knows that you have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC_ of $10,000. You also know that excellent grades might be the ticket to a merit-based award at one or more of your target schools. By doing a search in TuitionFit you can compare awards and costs. The search might reveal some interesting choices.
TuitionFit is now working in its second admissions cycle, but its first with high school juniors, seniors and transfer students. Its primary audience the first year was accepted students. They agreed to share data (but not personal information) about their financial aid awards with others. An accepted student was able to find out if a peer whose family was in similar financial circumstances received more, less or the same amount of aid from the same target schools. A student might learn that peers received more aid. S/he might also find out that peer students received more from a target school on their list that was not their first choice.
With more award data in the site, juniors, seniors and transfer students can consider the likelihood that they will receive sufficient aid, before applying to any college. They would also know which target schools were more likely to help. This will help parents and students to develop a better list of first-choice schools that will be an academic and social fit as well as a financial fit.
TuitionFit provides the best information to parents and students who already know their EFC before they create an account. There are free online tools that can calculate for EFC based on the information required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These tools include, but are not limited to:
This step is very important. Not only do you want to know what colleges might expect your family today; you also want to see how others families in a similar financial situation fared when they received award letters. When college costs are a serious concern your family should have a list of first choices that are more likely to be affordable and/or that the necessary merit-based aid will be achievable.
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Listen to my talk, College Is A Learning AND Living Community, hosted by Dr. Cynthia Colon from Destination YOUniversity on Voice of America Radio!
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