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rwpeterson

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We took our high school sophmore to a college fair and we just received the first of what I'm sure will be many, many offers to help pay for college. I've received lots of these seminar invitations concerning retirement and have always thrown them straight into the trash. But this time I thought maybe we should take a look because we've saved for 4 years at a state university and our student is leaning toward a private, religious college. Which is OK, just not exactly what we budgeted for.

Has anyone attended one of these seminars? The typical, free dinner, listen-to-how-we-can-help-you speech?

I can't find any reviews or epinions on this seminar. I'm a natural skeptic and I don't believe there is such a thing as a free lunch or dinner. I'm wondering if this is like a timeshare presentation where they'll try to pressure us into buying a "membership". I'm really good at saying "no" but I don't want to waste an evening.

TIA,
Wendy
 

timeos2

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Don't waste your money

They are going to want to sell you expensive services after that dinner. Don't waste your time or money. There is plenty of free help available although it can be a confusing maze to conquer. You'll need every penny for the actual tuition, etc - no need to waste it on these groups (unless you just don't want to do the legwork needed to figure it out yourself). By the way get the kid involved - it is a great lesson for them and helps them realize what things really cost.
 

pjrose

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I agree with Timeos2. The high school guidance office and college admissions/financial-aid offices have lots of information, and of course there is tons available online as well. There is no need to spend money on a service for this!

If your child has a strong application - grades, activities, and so forth - the private school may well lop quite a bit right off the top. We saved at the state school level, and DS is at a private college. DS does have good grades and activities, but is by no means one of the AP/Honors kids. It's still expensive, but the college reduced the tuition a good amount.

Use the resources at your high school and the potential colleges!
 

wackymother

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A good site that we used is

http://www.collegedata.com/

They have their own versions of the financial-aid forms (the FAFSA) so you can ballpark your Estimated Family Contribution. Plus a lot of good advice on getting ready to apply.
 

ocowner

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"...does have good grades and activities, but is by no means one of the AP/Honors kids. It's still expensive, but the college reduced the tuition a good amount."


I'm just curious, based on your description of your child, what is a "good amount" - not looking for actual $'s, but maybe percentage? My son is a senior and we're looking public v private, and price difference is unbelievable. I know the grades, character, activities, all help. But it's hard to know until he actually applies and gets accepted with an aid package. Any thoughts?
 

wackymother

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It also depends on your household income and a lot of other factors, because there's need-based aid and there's merit-based aid. Go to collegedata and do their mock FAFSA to get an idea of what your EFC will be.

The private colleges that want your child very much will offer better aid. Sometimes that means if you have an AP/Honors sort of kid and you have moderate demonstrated need (as reflected in your EFC), you might get better aid from a lower-tier school.

Honestly, you just have to apply to find out what's going to happen. I was surprised that DD was offered better aid from a "better" school than she was from a "just okay" school.
 
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