Private colleges and universities are generally much more expensive than their public counterparts. But don't let the overall price of attendance scare you off. Many large private institutions have huge endowments. These endowments allow them to award quite a bit of financial aid, especially to those students who are tops in the country. Getting a top student helps the college's ratings.
So, if you are a top student, chances are your overall out of pocket costs can be quite low. The college wants you there. Many colleges will offer you more than others just to have you attend. In fact, you should let colleges compete for you and see who can come up with the best financial aid package.
This means you should and must apply to many schools.
Because of the generous awards from some schools, your overall cost can be lower than a cheaper college. Let's say college A charges $30,000 overall for tuition, room, and board. After the normal financial aid award, lets say that leaves you with about $15,000 left. The college may offer you $10,000 of that in scholarships, grants, and other discounts. Leaving $5,000 left out of pocket. Compare that to college B that costs $15,000. Your financial aid may be $10,000, but the college offers nothing more. That means your out of pocket expenses are again $5,000. This means both colleges will cost you the same. Financial aid is awarded on the total cost of attending college. The more expensive the college, the more aid there is that might be available to you.
Never let the high price of education scare you off.
The bottom line is to apply to many colleges and universities, both public and private. Then compare the different financial aid packages they offer. Decide which one leaves less for you to pay. Many colleges guarantee enough aid for all accepted students.
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