Part 1: Middle-Class Families CAN Go to College for Free!

Frustrated That You Can’t Get Financial Aid But Can’t Afford to Pay Full Price?

The three biggest myths about financial aid:

What colleges meet 100% of need — meaning they pay everything that (the FAFSA says) you can’t afford?

  • Percentage of need met
  • Percentage of kids whose full need was met
  • Scholarships/grants vs loans/work-study
  • Average indebtedness at graduation
Harvard College’s “Financial Aid by the Numbers” page on bigfuture.collegeboard.org
SUNY Binghamton’s “Financial Aid by the Numbers” page on bigfuture.collegeboard.org

What is the ideal value for each of the four circled financial aid metrics?

  • Had full need met: 100%
  • Average indebtedness at graduation: no more than $5500/year (so $22K total or thereabouts)
  • 100% of need met
  • Financial aid distribution (pie at the top) — green is good, because scholarships/grants = money you don’t have to pay back

How do I know how much I’ll owe in loans vs. how much I’ll get in free money (scholarships/grants)?

How do I find a college that will meet 100% of need?

Can middle class families get a full ride or free tuition to college?

What’s the difference between a “full ride” vs “free tuition”?

How much is room and board usually?

Is there a list of elite/prestigious schools that guarantee full rides/free tuition?

  • Full ride for families under $65K
  • Free tuition for families under $125K
  • Full ride under $54K
  • Free tuition for families under $120K
  • Full ride under $60K
  • Free tuition for families under $125K
  • Full ride under $65K
  • EFC capped at $15K under $150K
  • Full ride for families under $65K
  • Free tuition for families under $130K
  • Half tuition for families under $200K

Wondering about a college that’s not listed as “having a full ride” above? Here’s how to look:

  1. Look on bigfuture.collegeboard.org for schools that meet 100% of your need, or as close to it as possible.
  • If they don’t have an income threshold, then look for the % of need met. The higher % of need met, the more money they will offer you.

Can I find out exactly what financial aid I can expect from college for MY family, given MY finances?

Is it true: Good financial aid only comes with Ivies and highly selective schools?

I’m worried about taking out loans. Are there schools that don’t include loans as part of their financial aid package?

Our next part will talk about “no loans” schools! Stay tuned! :)

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Executive Director at Yleana Leadership Foundation. Helping kids to get into college since 2006. Professional opera singer for 13 years :)

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Alyssa the College Expert (Alyssa Bowlby)

Alyssa the College Expert (Alyssa Bowlby)

Executive Director at Yleana Leadership Foundation. Helping kids to get into college since 2006. Professional opera singer for 13 years :)

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