Home > School and Learning > By Grade > College > Paying for College > Finding Money for College

Finding Money for College

Experts report that many colleges are so concerned about declining student enrollments (down 13.5 percent from 1975), that they are willing to negotiate financial arrangements. To aid in this process, we offer the following suggestions:

  • Shop for great deals.

  • Spend time with your child's teachers and guidance counselors, and evaluate your son or daughter's strengths.

  • Apply to the schools that value your child's strongest assets. If your child excels in a sport and plans to play in college, look for schools that give athletic scholarships. If he or she excels academically, look for schools that offer scholastic bonuses: For example, students who rank in the top 10 percent of their class can attend New York's Bard College (normally $27,000 a year) for the same price charged by their state university, if they are accepted.

  • Be a shrewd negotiator.

    Beware of the second-year "slump in money"

    A growing number of colleges award to incoming freshmen generous aid packages, then dramatically reduce the awards in subsequent years. However, many colleges are willing to place limits on price increases. Request written commitments that lock in college costs and aid packages for all four years.

    If you have changing family circumstances during your child's college years (perhaps a younger child begins the college process), try to renegotiate your initial aid awards. Submit a written request for an evaluation, provide documentation about increased family need, and ask for a larger amount. Be specific about requests; for example, say, "I would like $6,000 in grants or scholarships – not loans."

    Turn four into three

    More colleges are offering three-year tracks. Adopting this path can save families as much as $20,000. Talk with your child to decide if the extra load and summer courses would be manageable for him or her.

    Check out hidden scholarships. Although many scholarships are based on academic merit or family need, there is a wealth of scholarship money available from other sources. Many corporations, government agencies, and philanthropic organizations offer unique scholarships that are not well known, so they have fewer applicants.

    For more information on scholarships, first seek advice from your son or daughter's guidance counselor. Next, check with colleges, past and present employers, community organizations, and fraternal groups. Then hit the library. Ask the resource librarian if she has any of the scholarship databases available on computer.


  • st. patrick’s day

    Celebrate the
    luck of the Irish
    with recipes
    and activities.



    10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
    Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

    Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
    Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

    A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
    Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

    Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
    Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

    stay connected

    Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

    Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

    Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

    editor’s picks