9 months ago
Paying for College

How can I afford out of state tuition? Is anyone else looking at an out of state school?


Most of the schools I am applying to are on the East Coast while I'm on the West. I really want to go to schools in New York, but when I compare the cost to the schools near me I know that I and my family won't be able to afford it. Although I know financial aid will help lower the cost it will still be significantly more expensive than my state schools.

I have been applying to scholarships, but I haven't won a lot, nor did the ones I did win give a lot of money. How do you guys budget and figure out how to pay for out of state tuition? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
9 months ago[edited]

Hi, I'd like to help answer your question on financial aid however I need to know the following information to give you the best advice.

1. What are your stats, GPA, how many APs, what are your ECs, test scores, class rank, race, gender?

2. What are your safety, target, and reach schools?

3. Are you lower-income (total family income under $75K), middle to upper-middle ($76K to $150K), or upper ($200K and up).

Answering these will help determine what kind of financial aid you qualify for and whether or not you are applying to the right kind of schools.

If you do not feel comfortable disclosing these things, I recommend that make a spreadsheet with the NPC results for each of your colleges you are applying to. Most popular colleges have a Net Price Calculator link on their website or you can log into Collegeborad Big Future and go to Tools and Calculators and select the NPC calculators there. They will ask you the same questions about your family income and GPA etc and come up with the best guess for each college. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/tools-calculators

When I did this for the schools I was considering, I had to eliminate a bunch of them like William & Mary, University of Michigan, UPitt, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Carnegie Mellon because they are not NEED BLIND and DO NOT MEET 100% of your FINANCIAL AID needs. So unless you are applying to this list of Need Blind schools that also provide and meet 100% of your family's financial need, it's going to be costly to go to another Need Aware school. Not to be discouraging but the list is less than 100 out of like 5000 colleges and most or all of them are really good schools like Ivy League or Top 50 schools. If you feel that these schools are not where you are at, then you have to search for colleges that are out of state that offer some sort of Merit Scholarship money award to offset the cost. I'm not too familiar on how to find those but some kids at my school applied to the University of Arizona and got merit scholarships for being like B+ students.

Amherst College

Barnard College

Boston College

Bowdoin College

Brown University

California Institute of Technology

Claremont McKenna College

College of the Holy Cross

Columbia College, Columbia University

Cornell University

Curtis Institute of Music

Dartmouth College

Davidson College

Duke University

Georgetown University

Grinnell College

Hamilton College

Harvard College

Harvey Mudd College

Johns Hopkins University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Middlebury College

Minerva Schools at KGI

Northwestern University

Olin College

Pomona College

Princeton University

Rice University

Soka University of America

Stanford University

Swarthmore College

University of Chicago

University of Michigan (in-state students only)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Notre Dame

University of Pennsylvania

University of Richmond

University of Southern California

University of Virginia

Vanderbilt University

Vassar College

Wellesley College

Williams College

Yale University

This will help you determine whether or not it is even feasible to apply to East Coast colleges without taking a large number of student loans and debt. Or whether it's better to stay in State and go to a college that is more affordable.

9 months ago

Excellent question, and I'm know it's one that many students have each year. It's critical to remember that the vast majority of students don't pay full price to attend college and also that a school's sticker price itself is not always the best indicator for how much attending that school will ultimately cost you.

There are several ways to qualify for additional money to attend a school. The first is through need-based financial aid. If you want a good estimate of what your Expected Family Contribution will be in college, FAFSA has an online EFC estimator you can consult. Of course, only full-need-met schools will cover the rest of your tuition costs beyond your EFC. Other schools will only meet some fraction of your EFC resulting in a gap that you will need to make up for in other ways. (If you're curious about the list of full-need-met schools, check out the "Schools that Meet 100% of Demonstrated Financial Need" article on our blog!)

In addition to need-based financial aid, there is also merit-based aid. The very best schools in the country (Ivy League programs, for example), don't give out merit-based aid because they don't need to incentivize students to attend. However, the vast majority of schools (including extremely good and competitive ones) do give out large quantities of merit-based scholarship to applicants each year. In general, private schools give out more merit-based scholarships than public schools. This is one reason that attending a private school can often be more affordable for students than attending an out-of-state public school, even if the public school has a lower sticker price. Merit-based scholarship considerations are often relatively opaque at selective schools. To receive merit-based scholarships, you will need to be among the most qualified of the school's applicants. At more selective schools, the strength of your essays will play a large role in your merit-based scholarships determinations, while your test scores and GPA will matter more for less selective programs. Some less selective schools actually include the SAT/ACT and GPA requirements for merit-based scholarship on their web pages. At these schools, you'll automatically qualify for scholarships if you meet the stated thresholds. Finally, some schools have honors programs with merit-based scholarships and/or priority scholarships deadlines. You'll often have to write additional essays to qualify for these programs, but not always. For a list of the schools that offer the most merit-based aid, check out our article, "Which Colleges Give Out the Most Merit Aid? A List of the Top 50."

Finally, you can apply for external scholarships and/or take out loans. Obviously, it's best if you can avoid loans (no one is ever ecstatic about graduating from college in debt!), but many students do rely on them to afford to attend college. External scholarships are often competitive and usually only give small awards. In general, I'd recommend that you mostly avoid applying for these for now. Instead, consider adding some more safety and target schools to your list where you may qualify for large merit-based scholarships, and make sure to spend time refining and polishing your application essays. In general, you'll unlock far more money in merit-based scholarships this way than you could even by completing a ton of external scholarship applications.

For more information, check out our live-stream recordings and blog posts on paying for college and negotiating the financial aid process!

9 months ago

I have a college advisor who gave me this advice: always reach out to the financial aid office of the school you are planning on going to, because if you make a fuss they will often give you more money. Finanical Aid can be argued, it's like buying a car. Don't accept their first ofer. Schools want a high 'yeild', meaning they want all of the students they accept to go to there school. That means they are often more willing to give out more money if you simply ask!


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