CURRENT ACG RESEARCH RESULTS (PLUS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF NET COST VARIATION)
I. INTRODUCTION This page includes all the Compilations of the generosity comparisons for the 128 colleges analyzed in this website for the current academic year. My Archive page includes all my Compilations for previous years. I outlined my methodology on the previous page, but you should be aware of five important facts now: A. All of these examples are for comparison purposes only. The input data for our sample families will not exactly match your family's economic data even if you have that income, so your Net Price Calculator results will not be the same as the results shown. As always, do your own data to get truly accurate results for your family. B. The standard of error for NPC's is 3%, or about $1,500 per year. This means that you should think of schools with results that are within that standard of error as equally generous. C. Think of these Compilations as "forty-nine state" versions, where all Tuition and Fee data are for non-resident applicants. So, these examples are as accurate as I can make them for schools located in all the states of the Union EXCEPT YOUR HOME STATE. The results for publicly-funded schools - and sometimes some private schools - in your home state will probably be much better than shown, and I give some glaring examples below. D. Unless merit-based aid is noted in the "Total Grants" column, all aid shown is need-based. This means that those colleges assume all admitted students to be "equally meritorious", and all aid is based on financial need only. E. Remember that student loans aren't financial aid. They're a way to defer the payment of a present cost to a later time while paying an interest fee for that privilege. So, no loans are shown as aid anywhere in the American College Generosity website, and all the Total Grants shown in these Compilations are absolutely loan-free. Finally, the $60K Compilations are based on a family with an Adjusted Gross Income of $60,000 per year, about the same as the median household incomes for the states of California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Washington, and a number of others. And the $40K Compilations are based on a family with an Adjusted Gross Income of $40,000 per year, about the same as the median household incomes for a very large number of American cities.
II. ACG 2017/2018 COMPILATIONS These are my Compilations for the 2017/2018 school year. You will see that, just like last year, there are two types of Compilations this year. The first type matches those in this site's first three years where the target value is the Remaining Balance, the leftover amount for Mom and Dad to pay or for the student and parents to borrow. The next type of Compilation has the same layout as the originals, but now the target value is the Expected Annual Loans required at each of the 128 schools analyzed at both the middle and lower income levels. These 128 schools represent only 5% of the 2500 four-year colleges in America. Also, these Compilations only include cost and aid data as established by the colleges' own Net Price Calculator Programs for my sample families - not your family - and the data are for non-resident or out-of-state students only. The improvement for in-state students at publicly funded in-state schools - and at private ones in some states - is typically huge. As examples, the Remaining Balance for California residents at the $60K income level at UCLA is about $5,000 - or one tenth the amount for out-of-staters, and the Remaining Balance for Washington residents at that income level at the University of Washington is about the same $5,000 - or one eighth the amount for out-of-staters. So, the in-state Remaining Balances of $5,000 for California kids at UCLA and Washington kids at the U-Dub are the rough equivalents of their Expected Family Contributions at that income, making them no-loan offers. But you will see that the Remaining Balances for out-of-staters at both schools will likely result in extremely high loans. These examples show the value of doing your own data, a phrase you will only read about twenty more times in this site.
A. SOLVING FOR THE "REMAINING BALANCE" Note: Seven schools at the $60K income level and twenty-two schools at the $40K income level have Remaining Balance amounts which are below zero. Negative Remaining Balances typically occur when highly generous schools have a lower expectation of Student Work than the standard used in the ACG website, and these amounts are not refunded to parents or students.
Now, here's the Compilation for our $60K data set solving for the Remaining Balance:
(Where the Remaining Balance minus the Expected Family Contribution equals the Expected Annual Loans.)
Note: You will see in these two Compilations that families should expect no-loan offers at 30 schools in the $60K Compilation and at 32 schools in the $40K Compilation, but that doesn't make the Remaining Balances - the Mom and Dad column - the same for all the schools. Between the schools where no loans are expected, there is still a $6,525 range in the annual Remaining Balances at $60K and a $5,346 range at $40K. Additionally, although there is a great deal of commonality in the schools with expected no-loan offers on the $60K and $40K lists, that does not mean that you should expect no-loan offers from those schools at all income levels. As always, the only way to find out your own results is to do your own data.
Now, here's the Compilation for our $60K data set solving for Expected Annual Loans:
You have seen that the net cost comparisons I prepare for this website only include cost and aid data for non-resident students at publicly funded schools, and I leave your in-state schools to you. But a couple years ago, I prepared cost and aid comparisons at both income levels for five universities within the University of California system, this time from the perspective of in-state families. In essence, I moved my sample families south and did their data as California residents, and the net cost variability among the five schools surprised even me. These five schools caught my eye as I reviewed the New York Times College Access Index for that year. I was struck by the fact that all five of the top colleges and universities in America, listed according to the percentage of their graduates who received Pell Grants, were universities in the University of California system. I think the Times included some pointless, "why-bother" data showing average aid at the schools. Why bother with averages when NPCs give you the real thing? So, I ran their NPC's for my sample families, and here are the results:
What a variance! And that's among five universities in the same university system. Obviously, UCLA was the most generous school - and UCSD the least generous school - at both income levels, but let's put your brand new expected-loan-calculation skills to work on these two schools. UCLA's Remaining Balance was approximately equal to the Expected Family Contribution at both incomes, resulting in no expected annual need for loans, and making it's expected loans over four years zero. UCSD's Remaining Balance, however, was about $6,000 over the EFC at both incomes, resulting in expected annual loans of $6,000, and making it's expected loans over four years about $24,000 resulting in loan payments of about $240 per month for ten years. Now, is that variance as glaring today as it was in 2016? I'm leaving that answer to you Californians. But does that table show the value for all American families of doing their own NPC data at their target schools? Absolutely!
Copyright 2019, 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: