Mom Pays for College

I, Lana Hawkins, am a mom with two awesome daughters. One is almost ready for college, well in two years, but that is just around the corner. The other will follow her so I will be facing at least eight continuous years of funding college expenses. I've made this blog to share with you information I've found regarding paying for college. Unless your kid will be getting a full scholarship to the college or their choice I know there is going to be some pain involved with finding money and picking the right school, plus probably so many other things.

Jun 182012

According to Kathryn Hawkins | – Fri, Jun 15, 2012 9:32 AM EDT your education may not pay off.

Kathryn Hawkins reported that going beyond a bachelors degree may not pay off financially.  There are five fields of education listed in her article that she uses to support this position.

  • Masters of Fine Art Degrees
  • Computer Engineering
  • PR, advertising and mass-media programs
  • A law degree from a fourth-tier school
  • Atmospheric sciences and meteorology

I received a Masters Degree in Engineering Management.  After getting my degree I was not financially rewarded, however, most of my degree was paid for by my employer.   But I was the one who put in the time.

I eventually received a promotion.  Maybe having this Masters Degree helped.  Perhaps I could have moved to a new company to get a more significant raise sooner.  But for me staying put made more sense in my life.  It’s not all about getting more money.  Sometimes education is just fun!

Click to read her article

Jun 042012

I need this for my son who always has his face in some video game, either on his computer, his dad’s phone or Nintendo.  We sent him to a summer camp to learn how to make his own video game.  Maybe one day he’ll be ready for this…wink


Your Mom Was Wrong: You Can Win a Gaming Scholarship

“Online gaming broadcast network TwitchTV is announcing a scholarship for college students who study and play hard. One-year-old video streaming network TwitchTV is giving away $50000 to support five young gamers. Gamers will need at least a 3.0 GPA …”


Glad to see that there are scholarships for every interest, even things some people call pointless.  Yeah, there’s lots of money in the gaming industry!


Mar 152012

scholarships for graduate schoolScholarships for graduate school are a form of financial aid that can help students to pay for higher education. While they are less common than scholarships for undergraduates, there are still plenty of graduate scholarships available for those who need them. Unlike loans, scholarships are sums of money that do not need to be repaid once the student has graduated (which is one of the reasons why they are highly sought after).

Scholarships For Graduate School For Every Student?

Scholarships for graduate school should be looked for by every student, regardless of whether they think they will qualify for them or not. There are thousands of scholarships from thousands of sponsors available, students won’t know until they look properly whether there is something out there that is suitable for them. Anybody that wants to further their education after they have successfully completed undergraduate study will greatly benefit from the use of graduate scholarships.

The med student / PhD  path of study for grad students is challenging and may come with plenty of scholarships and grant money.

Graduate students that are pursuing areas like teaching or nursing will often need to look for scholarships and other financial help to finish graduate school. However, there are also scholarships and other non-repayable financial aid for graduates who want to pursue other career paths.

People tend to think of scholarships being reserved for those who have had a lot of academic achievement, but scholarships for graduate school are also available to those who wish to study particular fields, those who are members of groups which are underrepresented E.G. part of an ethnic minority, those who live in particular areas or those who just need financial help. Not all scholarships are awarded based on academic merit, which is good news for those who are considered average students. Scholarships range from the larger, competitive scholarships open to those who are high achievers to a variety of scholarships which are less competitive that are awarded based on other criteria E.G. gender, nationality, field of study.

A wide variety of people are eligible for scholarships for graduate school.

The eligibility requirements for graduate scholarships vary from location to location, organization to organization, as well as on a number of factors about the individual applying and the scholarship itself. Each scholarship is designed to help a particular type of person or a particular organization to get the future employment that they need. Some scholarships are aimed at helping international students, others are given to graduate students in exchange for project results and a lot require certain academic objectives to be met E.G. particular grade point average, in order for students to be eligible.

As an example, if a female student wanted to study a post-graduate course in Computer Science or a Math related subject, she could apply for the Graduate Women Scholarship Program offered by Microsoft Research. The eligibility requirements for this scholarship are different to those for a scholarship relating to economics, for example.

A lot of scholarships on offer to graduates are location/university specific E.G. Ontario Graduate scholarship. This scholarship has 2,000 awards which are given out to eligible students that are studying in a university in Ontario, Canada. In order to be eligible for the award, students must have achieved 80%+ or an average of A- over the preceding two years.

The requirements for obtaining scholarships for graduate school vary. If students are looking for financial aid and know where they want to do their post-graduate study, the easiest way to check eligibility requirements and scholarships on offer would be to contact the chosen place of study. Requirements are often things like the ability to maintain high grades, attend a certain number of hours or complete research in a particular field of study. Scholarships for graduate school are normally only awarded on a one year basis, if the academic year the scholarship is awarded for does not get fully completed the year then students won’t be eligible for the same financial aid the next year.

There are a number of ways that it is possible to locate and apply for scholarships for those who want to attend graduate school. There are multiple scholarship databases that individuals could search online E.G. the FastWeb Scholarship search. The FastWeb service matches the personal background of the searcher with scholarships that they are able to apply for. Only the awards which are relevant to the student will show up in the search results. This saves the amount of time that is spent trawling through lists where most of the information is irrelevant.

There are several other free databases online, but FastWeb is one of the largest, most frequently updated and the most accurate scholarship database currently available. There are details of over one and a half million scholarships, and FastWeb effectively does all the hard work by narrowing the list down to the ones that the student is only eligible to apply for. FastWeb even notifies students when new relevant scholarships become available so that they have the most chance of getting the financial aid that they need in order to continue studying. It is also possible do a search using other scholarship sites for relevant financial aid that could be applied for.

Alternatively, information about local scholarships for graduate school can be found in places like public bulletin boards at local libraries, at the current place of study E.G. outside student finance offices, or at nearby education institutions like universities and colleges. Before applying for post graduate school, students should read through the website of their chosen place of study as they will normally have a list of relevant scholarships mentioned somewhere on the site.

Many scholarships often receive lots of attention, so it should not be too hard to find scholarships for graduate study that students may qualify for. Aside from the usual linked organizations offering scholarships, students may also find that college alumni or private sponsors will offer them a scholarship if they can meet their requirements. It is worth contacting relevant organizations to see if they will sponsor graduate study.

If potential post-graduate students have already gone through the process of applying for scholarships for undergraduate study, they’ll find the process of applying for scholarships for graduate school is extremely similar. Scholarships for post-graduate study are normally obtained and maintained in the same fashion as undergraduate scholarships, so those who have already obtained scholarships before will know just how easy it is to find and qualify for relevant financial aid.

Now it’s time to find some Scholarships For Graduate School.

Feb 152012

Every year the cost of college tuition goes up.

college tuition risingIt looks like gifts to colleges may be getting more money from gifts this year.  Does this mean that college cost will not rise greater than inflation or will colleges just go ahead and raise rates anyway, because they can?

U.S. colleges: What bad economy? Gifts rise 8.2 percent to $30.3 billion
Bellingham Herald, on Wed, 15 Feb 2012 13:27:20 -0800

Adjusted for inflation, last year’s increase is 4.8 percent over 2010, according to the Voluntary Support of Education survey. The good fundraising news doesn’t automatically mean that parents and students won’t face tuition increases.

… and don’t forget your FAFSA applications whether it’s the first time or the time to redo it for the coming school year….

FAFSA Form Is Crucial For College Tuition Payment Plans
NY1, on Tue, 14 Feb 2012 09:10:55 -0800

Just about every college-bound student should take a refresher course on a very important application — the form for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). NY1′s Money Matters reporter Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.

Your College Financial Aid

This Is The Ultimate College Prep Coaching Program Dedicated To Teaching Parents How To Pay Less For College And How To Get Students Into First-choice Colleges.

Jan 262012

Medical Students Get Full Tuition Scholarships and a Stipend When They Add A PhD On To Medical School!

tuition scholarships md phdAccording to the AAMC – Association of American Medical Colleges there are 123 combined MD and PhD programs in the United States.  These programs are geared towards people that want to become research physicians.

Physician-scientists are needed so that the achievements of basic science laboratories and other focused research efforts can be translated into active clinical practice. However, the financial pressures on MD-only graduates are so great that few physicians choose to spend the time necessary to obtain research training after medical school. In order to address this issue, most MD-PhD programs pay candidates a stipend and tuition scholarships during the training years. The financial support for those willing to undertake MD-PhD training recognizes the additional time that a student must spend in training for this career. The extent of this support varies among programs. For example, some programs only support U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Here is the list of schools by states offering the dual degree programs.  Check each school for their particular tuition scholarships available.


University of Alabama School of Medicine  Birmingham, Ala.

University of South Alabama College of Medicine  Mobile, Ala.

University of Arizona Health Sciences Center Tucson, Ariz.

University of Arkansas College of Medicine  Little Rock, Ark.

Loma Linda University School of Medicine  Loma Linda, Calif.

Stanford University School of Medicine  Stanford, Calif.

University of California, Davis School of Medicine  Davis, Calif.

University of California, Irvine School of Medicine  Irvine, Calif.

University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine  Los Angeles, Calif.

University of California, San Diego School of Medicine  La Jolla, Calif.

University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine  San Francisco, Calif.

University of Southern California School of Medicine  Los Angeles, Calif.


University of Colorado Health Sciences Center  Denver

University of Connecticut School of Medicine  Farmington, Conn.

Yale University School of Medicine  New Haven, Conn.
District of Columbia

Georgetown University School of Medicine  Washington, D.C.

Howard University College of Medicine  Washington, D.C.

University of Florida College of Medicine  Gainesville, Fla.

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine  Miami, Fla.

University of South Florida College of Medicine  Tampa, Fla.

Emory University School of Medicine  Atlanta, Ga.

Medical College of Georgia  Augusta, Ga.

Morehouse School of Medicine  Atlanta, Ga.

University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine  Honolulu, Hi.


Loyola University of Chicago – Stritch School of Medicine  Maywood, Ill.

Northwestern University Medical School  Chicago, Ill.

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science – Chicago Medical School  North Chicago, Ill.

Rush Medical College of Rush University  Chicago, Ill.

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine  Chicago, Ill.

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine  Chicago, Ill.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Medicine  Urbana, Ill.

Indiana University School of Medicine  Indianapolis, Ind.


University of Iowa College of Medicine  Iowa City, Iowa


University of Kansas School of Medicine  Kansas City, Kan.

University of Kentucky College of Medicine  Lexington, KY

University of Louisville School of Medicine  Louisville, Ky.

Louisiana State University, New Orleans School of Medicine  New Orleans

Louisiana State University, Shreveport School of Medicine  Shreveport, La.

Tulane University School of Medicine  New Orleans

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine  Baltimore

National Institutes of Health Intramural MD-PhD Partnership  Bethesda, Md.

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences  Bethesda, Md.

University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Medicine  Baltimore

Boston University School of Medicine  Boston

Harvard Medical School  Boston

Tufts University School of Medicine  Boston

University of Massachusetts Medical School  Worchester, Mass

Michigan State University College of Medicine  East Lansing, Mich

University of Michigan Medical School  Ann Arbor, Mich.

Wayne State University School of Medicine  Detroit, Mich.


Mayo Medical School  Rochester, Minn.

University of Minnesota Medical School  Minneapolis, Minn.

University of Mississippi School of Medicine  Jackson, Miss.

Saint Louis University School of Medicine  St. Louis, Mo.

University of Missouri – Columbia School of Medicine  Columbia, Mo.

University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine  Kansas City, Mo.

Washington University School of Medicine  St. Louis, Mo.

Creighton University School of Medicine  Omaha, Neb.

University of Nebraska College of Medicine  Omaha, Neb.

University of Nevada School of Medicine  Reno, Nev.
New Hampshire

Dartmouth Medical School  Hanover, N.H.
New Jersey

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey – New Jersey Medical School  Newark, N.J.

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School  Piscataway, N.J.

New Mexico

University of New Mexico School of Medicine  Albuquerque, N.M.
New York

Albany Medical College  Albany, N.Y.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University  Bronx, N.Y.

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons  New York, N.Y.

Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD/PhD Program  New York, N.Y.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine  New York, N.Y.

New York Medical College  Valhalla, N.Y.

New York University School of Medicine  New York, N.Y.

SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine  Buffalo, N.Y.

SUNY at Stony Brook Health Sciences Center  Stony Brook, N.Y.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine  Brooklyn, N.Y.

SUNY Upstate Medical University  Syracuse, N.Y.

University of Rochester School of Medicine  Rochester, N.Y.

North Carolina

Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University  Winston-Salem, N.C.

Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University  Greenville, N.C.

Duke University School of Medicine  Durham, N.C.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine  Chapel Hill, N.C.
North Dakota

University of North Dakota School of Medicine  Grand Forks, N.D.

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine  Cleveland, Ohio

Northeastern Ohio College of Medicine  Rootstown, Ohio

Ohio State University College of Medicine  Columbus, Ohio

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine  Cincinnati, Ohio

University of Toledo College of Medicine  Toledo, Ohio

Wright State University School of Medicine  Dayton, Ohio

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center  Oklahoma City, Okla.

Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine  Portland, Ore.

Drexel University College of Medicine  Philadelphia, Penn.

Jefferson Medical College  Philadelphia, Penn.

Penn State University College of Medicine  Hershey, Penn.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine  Philadelphia, Penn.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine  Pittsburgh, Penn.

Temple University School of Medicine  Philadelphia, Penn.

Rhode Island

Brown University School of Medicine  Providence, R.I.
South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina  Charleston, S.C.

University of South Carolina School of Medicine  Columbia, S.C.
South Dakota

University of South Dakota School of Medicine  Vermillion, S.D.

East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine  Johnson City, Tenn.

Meharry Medical College School of Medicine  Nashville, Tenn.

University of Tennessee, Memphis College of Medicine  Memphis, Tenn.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine  Nashville, Tenn.


Baylor College of Medicine  Houston, Texas

Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center College of Medicine  College Station, Texas

Texas Tech University School of Medicine  Lubbock, Texas

University of Texas at Austin  Austin, Texas

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston  Galveston, Texas

University of Texas, Houston Medical School  Houston, Texas

University of Texas, San Antonio Medical School  San Antonio, Texas

University of Texas, Southwestern Med Center – Dallas  Dallas, Texas

University of Utah School of Medicine  Salt Lake City, Utah


University of Vermont College of Medicine  Burlington, Vt.

Eastern Virginia Medical School  Norfolk, Va.

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine  Richmond, Va.

University of Virginia School of Medicine  Charlottesville, Va.

University of Washington School of Medicine  Seattle, Wash.
West Virginia

Marshall University School of Medicine  Huntington, W.Va.

West Virginia University School of Medicine  Morgantown, W.Va.

Medical College of Wisconsin  Milwaukee, Wisc.

University of Wisconsin Medical School  Madison, Wisc.


Read more about Financial Support and Tuition Scholarships For MD – PhD Students.


Jan 242012

Filling Out Your FAFSA

Here is a quick video tutorial to get you started on filling out your FAFSA.  Filling out the FAFSA is a real pain!!! It is probably worse that filling out your taxes.

Depending on who you are, student or parent, you may be asked for all kinds of information about your finances and assets and assets of people in your family including children.  If you can, gather as much information as possible, including everything you’d use for your taxes, plus bank statements and mortgage information.  These guys are not shy about asking for everything!

But just remember that it is probably going to be worth the effort because it is required by about every school in the USA if you even remotely stand a chance of getting financial aid or a merit scholarship.  Yes. You or your kid could get a merit based scholarship but the school still uses FAFSA to process it (somehow).

Once you start filling out the FAFSA you can save your work and come back later.  You can also start filling out the FAFSA with incomplete information, say if your taxes are not completed yet.  There is a chance to update you form when you get exact tax return data of any new information.

Keep all your FAFSA information together where you can find it again next year.  You have to fill out the FAFSA EVERY SINGLE YEAR you or your kids is in college receiving financial aid.  One good thing is that your information carries over to the next year’s form, some of it anyway.

FAFSA – The Official Site

How to Get Started on Your FAFSA

Jan 222012

College Admission Tips from an Admissions Insider

Note:  This is  part 10 of the transcript of the information contained in the video from VanderbiltUniversity about Applying for College – an Insiders Guide for Getting Into a Good College and it’s about getting admitted to college.

For the previous segment click below:

Who Writes Your Letters of Recommendation for College?

If you’ve never applied to college before having a few college admissions tips from someone inside a college can help you understand what the colleges are looking for when they are admitting candidates.

As an admissions insider, what tips can you give to help me sound my best in my application?

I would make sure that you investigated the school and you know who we are because in a lot of the things we are ascertaining and asking you, how much do you know about us? Because it’s for the fit. I would clearly look at some of those base facts or base issues of does it read well, is it grammatically put together properly. Those types of things.

I will also make sure that your essays, as we’ve talked about already, are your authentic voice, they’re you coming through, not so pre-packaged. The other thing is that you are mature enough to follow the instructions that if we say 500 words, we want 500. We don’t want 1000. That you are mature enough that you pick recommenders that can talk about you as the person, not at the belief that you needed to pick the most famous person you know, or your parent’s neighbors knows.

So those would be the kind of tips that I will give. I would say if it is a little earlier before the application process, is I encourage student to do this a lot. If they are sophomore, is that one of the things, or junior, they’re starting to narrow – they’re looking at 20 schools or 10 schools at that point.

Go out and print out their application. Start looking a couple of years before you come. What looks like the questions that they are asking? So that you have a sense of what that value of that campus is because that can perhaps guide you in choices to prepare in application. I say that with a little bit of hesitancy though because you don’t want it to look like you have pre-packaged, you want it to be this authentic.

So those would be the kind of pieces that I would give and I always love to give an example of the school that I worked out once where they’re kind of arch-rival in the student’s essay. The essay was reading along smashingly well. I’m so excited, this is the dream school that I want to go to. Talking about the school that I was working at. Then in the final paragraph, they noted the other school because they didn’t change their word document. So you want to think about that you’ve done some of those base facts that you’re talking to the school and that wonderful search and replace, you do that.

If there’s anything that I can leave today, it is the application process - we look at applications to admit you, not to deny because we are building a community of learners in this wonderful building, this new freshmen commons – we’re building a sense of the class and we want those people that we admit, that we are trying to build that so that it’s a wonderful experience for all. And if you don’t quite really know who you are, it’s not going to work.

Hopefully you’ve gotten something out of this transcript of the video and these summary college admissions tips.  Please leave a comment listing your main questions about getting into college.  Share this post!!!

Jan 052012

 Letters of Recommendation for College? Who Do You Ask to Write Them?

Note:  This is  part 9 of the transcript of the information contained in the video from VanderbiltUniversity about Applying for College – an Insiders Guide for Getting Into a Good College and it’s about getting admitted to college.

For the previous segment click below:

Getting Admitted to College: How Many People Decide if You Get In?

How many people see your application and have a say in whether is gets through?  Interesting to hear…


How do I choose who should write my letters of recommendation?

letters of recommendationWe want somebody who can talk about the applicant, who has seen their maturation over a period of time that can tell us the inside of their character, their background, their experiences. Then if it’s a Math teacher, a Science teacher, may be how they took on a particular research project, how they handled that, how they led the group or what have you versus kind of the, well a very good person. The good person does not cut it. So it is who really can talk about you, not who is the most important person you know that can write a letter.

Hopefully you’ll have a teacher or two that has seen your work in several classes. Or maybe there are a group of teachers that know each other and they talk about the students (in a good way) and you’re one that they talk about.  Maybe you have an adviser that knows you and also talks to your other teachers and can make a fair assessment about you in regards to schooling.

— The next article contains Tips from and Admission Insider!  You’ll want to read that. — The last segment of the transcript offers some tips for getting into college.

One trick that business people know is to write the letters of recommendation yourself for the person so they can easily sign and submit.  Maybe this isn’t quite appropriate in high school, however, you could certainly mention a few things you want your recommender to know or remember about your.

Finding the right people to write your letters of recommendation and write the correct stuff is quite important.

Jan 022012

Getting Admitted To College – The Decision Steps

Note:  This is  part 8 of the transcript of the information contained in the video from VanderbiltUniversity about Applying for College – an Insiders Guide for Getting Into a Good College and it’s about getting admitted to college.

For the previous segment:

Can I Get Financial Aid if My Parents Have Good Jobs?

Haven’t saved enough for college?  Think your parents have good enough jobs? Don’t compare your situation to the neighbors.  Read More.

 Getting Admitted to College:

How many people actually decide if I’m going to get admitted or not?

getting admitted to college

Typically the process and I can and I will give you a brief synopsis here at Vanderbilt that would be a standard metric or a standard rubrix, if you will at most schools like Vanderbilt where the IBs and schools like Vanderbilt. The application is going to come in.

There’s going to be an initial read and that’s typically the person called the territory manager. That manager that I visited at high school, I probably already talked to you when you were thinking of applying and or perhaps not as well. That comes in and so we walk around the United States all that way. So there’s somebody.

Then there’s what’s called a second reader and that second reader comes along with the first person makes a series of decisions and notes and that, the second one comes along and then that’s their reading the file.

Those two together, if they both agree, then goes to what’s called a sign-off officer which is the senior member of the staff. And then that sign-off officer either comes up with kind of agrees with or deny. Let’s hold that for a while and let’s see what happens in the whole pool to we think that should be an admit. That admits still never happen until the day we sent the admit letter because it’s changing. So that’s the third person.

Then when we work it out we made through our series of our evaluation. There’s kind of that a broader clear admit based on this or a broader clear deny.

Then there’s this whole pool in the middle. And that is where every single one comes to the admissions committee and the territory officer advocates to admit that student to a group of 3 people.

I chair all early decision 1 and early decision 2 with two senior members. Then in regular decision, I chair one of the committees with two senior people and then we have two other committees just of sheer volume.

And then that all comes together and then in that time, someone right there and they’re verbally telling me about the student and I make, as a group, we make the decision admit or deny at that point, or hold again.

And then it goes back. We just think it’s should be admitted or maybe shouldn’t. Can’t quite make it and it goes back to the whole pile and then we will do that again. And then eventually, that final group comes back to me and the senior folks and we look at that one more time.

The next article is: How do I choose who should write my letters of recommendation?

Well what can you do about getting admitted to college is to talk to your college placement people at your school and also the college reps that come to your school and make a good impression.

Jan 022012

Getting Financial Aid if Your Parents Have Good Jobs

Note:  This is  part 7 of the transcript of the information contained in the video from VanderbiltUniversity about Applying for College – an Insiders Guide for Getting Into a Good College and it’s about getting Financial Aid if your parents have good jobs.

For the previous segment:

College Admissions Stress: How to Ease Your Stress During the College Admissions Process.

No need to over stress yourself in the college admissions process.  Read More.

My parents have good jobs, but we haven’t saved much for college. Will I be able to get financial aid?

The first thing that I will tell you, independent, there are so many myths about “Will I get financial aid?” “Will I not get financial aid?”  That my number one piece of advice is fill out the federal form that is required for all federal programs, and most schools, they take the federal form and then some will also have an additional of what’s called profile.

Fill those out because what I find students end up doing is; “Mom, here’s our next door neighbor. Didn’t get aid.” And they’ve made the impression in their mind that we must have more money than them so if they didn’t get it, we surely won’t get it.

It’s free, it’s takes an hour and a half to fill out. But I would highly first recommend that.

financial aid pell grant

The other thing that they may do is depending on the student. Someone may not get a Pell Grant or a SEOG or some of the federal program. But institutions have need-based aid too. Particularly the school like Vanderbilt. We’re one of 25 to 30 schools in the United States that meets full demonstrated need and we’re hundred per cent need-blind.

So what that means is if you can afford to come based on our methodology, not based on what your parents think. So there’s a divide there. We’re going to make that up and gift a loan to you. Filling out the form at least let you know what you might get.

The other thing is that people confuse institutional funds with federal funds and a school like Vanderbilt, our average gift award is $30,000 a year per student. So that’s a lot of money. So some are getting more and some are getting less. But that’s the average gift.

And so apply and see first what you can get. You might not get any gift money but you may look at some structured loans, how they work and start a combination of what you can earn during the school year, what little your parents may or may not have set aside for you.  How you will take some loans that are deferred, meaning you don’t have to start paying those back until upon graduation and all that.

So really applying is the first thing instead of what other families do is kind of psych themselves out of anything to begin with. Now that may end up being the case in the end. But you never know. I’ve just seen families who didn’t apply and then two years later I am talking to them like why you didn’t apply and they would’ve gotten something.

But they make assumptions of where their wealth is to the neighbor. Remember, a lot of federal aid and institutional aid has to do with income, number of dependents, extenuating circumstances, equity of homes, equity of assets, and it’s a complex picture that just making the judgment they didn’t get and I won’t. I sure – don’t find yourself in that spot.

Is a private school always more expensive than a state school?

That’s really hard to tell because what you really work at is the net cost to you after everything is paid. So a lot of times, in the state program, the tuition and the total cost is less but there’s less aid to give.

In a private education that costs us more, but then it’s adjusted for your income, and so to some degree, you can actually be equal or in some instances actually may be cheaper to go to in private school than a public school based on their financial aid policies. And so what you want to do is to make sure you’ve taken advantage of those three opportunities and analysis so you know.

The other thing is that sometimes families get really caught into where they think a lot of life is. And part of college is pointing out your bootstraps and changing that.

So if your family was here, whatever here is, and you have a sight you want to be here, the only way that you are going to get there is you got to be a full contributing member in this group of schools that will help get you there.

The next article in the series is about How Many People  decide if I’m getting  admitted to college or not?

Here is one family’s story:  Both parents had “good jobs.”  Real estate investments caused the yearly cash flow to be quite low and assets to liabilities were not favorable.  Every situation is different and you need to supply all the information when you fill out your yearly FAFSA submission.  Significant financial aid was available to this family.