This is a new page in this site, and it's under construction. When complete, it will guide you through Net Price Calculator programs for one of the most generous and two of the least generous colleges I analyze every year. I chose these colleges because the variance in the aid available to most American families at these schools will be huge, because all three offer typical students need-based aid only, and because their NPC's are three of the easiest to use that I've found. You've already seen my seven page Compilations on my Results page, where the most generous colleges are on Page 1 and the least generous ones are on Page 7. On this page we use as examples one consistently Page 1 school and two Page 7 schools. This page will have obvious value for families with kids in high school, but it can be a terrific planning tool for parents with younger kids as well. Those parents are probably pretty flipped out about the future cost of college for their kids, and they are probably wondering just how much they really need to save. Using this page will confirm for them that the really generous American colleges are definitely not as interested in their money as they are in their kids. So, their first focus should be toward helping their kids become more interesting and effective students and citizens, rather than just building a financial war chest. Those parents can also use this page to see how much increasing their college savings today will affect the financial aid their kids should expect to actually receive later. On this page I will explain every step in the NPC process for the schools, and you will input your family's own financial data into each of NPCs to see what the costs and financial aid would be like for your family at those schools next year. The result will be the "Bookends" of your net college costs and aid, how good it can be versus how bad it can be. But I have two other motives: I want you to see just how easy it is to do NPC's, and I want you to use the built in EFC Estimators at the two state schools to give you an accurate estimate of your Estimated Family Contribution right now, before you have to fill out the FAFSA. One of my Bookends, the one which traditionally has superb aid, is Harvard, a privately-funded college where costs and aid will be about the same for all families nationwide. But my other Bookend, with aid that has tended to be at the other extreme, is actually two publicly-funded schools, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Washington at Seattle. You will choose one or the other of these schools depending on your state of residence. Those who aren't California residents will complete the NPC for Berkeley, and those who are California residents will complete the NPC for the University of Washington. The reason is that both Berkeley and the U-Dub have pretty competitive aid for in-state students, but their aid for out-of-state students is at the other extreme. I've prepared two forms in Word for your convenience, and you will be filling in the blanks on one or the other of them depending on your state of residence.
I. BOOKENDS FOR MY MIDDLE-INCOME SAMPLE FAMILY But let's start by taking a look at the 2017/2018 Bookends for my middle income sample family. We'll begin with the 49-state version, the one showing cost and aid data for non-California families, where the best expected aid is at Harvard and the worst is at Berkeley.
First, you'll see that the Remaining Balance for Harvard, the amount for Moms and Dads to pay or for students and parents to borrow, is a negative number. Negative Remaining Balances only occur when especially generous colleges have lower expectations of Student Work than the standard used in this site, and negative Remaining Balances are not refunded to students or their parents. Next, you'll see that the difference in the Remaining Balance amounts between Harvard and Berkeley is huge, $61,412 per year. Since the Expected Family Contribution for my middle income sample family for 2017/2018 was $4,433 and since we assume that any amount of Remaining Balance above the EFC must be borrowed, the difference in the amount of expected loans between the two schools is equally stark. No loans at all are expected per year at Harvard; but $55,088 in loans per year are expected at Berkeley, which works out $220,352 in loans over four years. Now, let's shift to our "2017/2018 California Bookends" for my middle income sample family, this time assuming a resident family from California. Here we will Bookend the costs and aid at Harvard with the costs and aid for non-resident students at the University of Washington.
Of course, our input data was unchanged except for the state of residence of the applicant, so Harvard has the same data as before, and the distance between it and the other Bookend is huge once again. The Remaining Balance for non-resident students at the University of Washington was $42,276 more per year than at Harvard. After deducting the $4,433 EFC, that left $41,843 in expected loans per year, meaning a total of $167,372 in loans over four years.
II. NO CONSUMER PROTECTION At this point you are probably wondering how any parent could agree to total student and parent debt above $150,000 for one bachelor's degree. There are several reasons why it happens all the time, but there is one paramount fact that controls the shape of the table. Excessive student and parent loans are a racket, and that racket requires at least the silent cooperation of politicians, secondary schools, the media, governmental agencies, and colleges - good and bad, honest and dishonest - to exist. That racket fosters the false expectation of the necessity of excessive student and parent loans throughout our society, and students and parents are the victims. And don't expect this overall situation to get better soon. It won't. But you can fight the High Loan Racket and win by being knowledgeable education consumers, a skill you're already learning in this website.
Copyright 2018, Mark Warns, All Rights Reserved
Here again are a Word version of my Apple-to-Apples template for your own college cost comparisons along with a Word version of my data input pages you can use for your own family: