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Strategies to Decrease the Cost of College #3 – Yield

 

What does “yield” have to do with college cost savings? Savvy consumers who understand how critical this figure is in admissions can often yield (pun intended) significant cost savings.
Yield is the metric most admissions directors obsess, fret, lose sleep over. Simply, yield = the number or percentage of admitted students who actually enroll and attend.
So, exactly why is yield important and why should you pay attention? Every college sets enrollment goals for its incoming class. Very few schools can boast of a yield rate like Stanford University of 82%:
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In reality, many colleges today scratch and claw for every student they enroll. In the 2018 State of College Admissions, the National Association for College Admission Counseling reported the average yield rate continues to decline – down to 33.6%.
Couple this with the fact the number of traditional college-aged students enrolling declined for the 7th consecutive year – Current Term Enrollment Fall 2018, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. means colleges (and admissions directors especially) feel the heat when they do not meet enrollment goals.
Multiple years of “low yields” translates to declining enrollments – which means budget shortfalls. On more than one campus I worked this meant delays in campus initiatives, building projects/upgrades or worse yet – program cuts and staff layoffs.
Is it any wonder many campus administrators and admissions directors lose sleep over “yield”?
Don’t feel too bad for them, they understand the ground rules, besides colleges have been less than transparent over the years in the pursuit of enrolling students:
  • Bombarded with brochures – a college reaching out doesn’t necessarily mean they have any intention of admitting you – many entice applications for the sole purpose of lowering admit rates in an attempt to boost rankings. 
  • Bait and switch – awarding more “free money” (grant and scholarship) to incoming freshman, and converting a % of this free money to loans in subsequent years. (always read the fine print on your financial aid award). 
  • Preferential Packaging – The art of offering more grants and scholarships to students it really wants to attract versus offering more loans to those “less desirable”.
  • Hidden costs – differential tuition rates, hidden fees, advertising room & board as “true” cost of attendance when in reality these are the “average” prices students pay,  etc. 
  • Do you really think early decision and early action admissions deadlines are designed to benefit “students”? If you do I have some property I would like to speak with you about.
  • etc., etc., etc. 
I digress…
Most colleges want- in actuality need – to yield as many students as possible from its pool of accepted students. Colleges often do “whatever it takes” to protect their yield. How might one benefit?
Let’s say hypothetically, Luther College is your top choice. Luther at 19% doesn’t have nearly the yield rate as Stanford.

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Furthermore, let’s assume Luther tends to compete with say, Gustavus Adolphus College (18% yield rate by the way), for the same pool of students.
Remember it is best to never eliminate a school until the end of this process – even if you have no intention of enrolling. Thus, hypothetically, I might suggest you show enough demonstrated interest in both schools to receive an offer of admissions.
For argument’s sake, we will say Gustavus Adolphus offered you $2,000 annually more in merit scholarships than Luther. You really prefer Luther, but…
Wink, Wink. Nudge. Nudge. See how “hypothetically” leveraging Luther’s “yield rate” versus Gustavus’s higher offer might potentially work in your favor (theoretically of course)?
Understanding the dynamics of “yield” can and does lead to cost savings – remember the average yield rate is currently about 33%. It will not work at every school, every situation is unique, and results can vary from year to year, but families can and do successfully mediate better financial packages.
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Need help finding good match colleges. Contact me. and I can work with you to shave thousand’s of $$ off a college degree.  

Jeff has spent 30+ years working in higher education as a Registrar and Director of Student/Academic Services. As an educational college planning consultant, he uses his experience and insights to save you $$$ by helping you in identify “good match” colleges to fit your academic, social and financial needs.

 

Strategies to Decrease the Cost of College #10 Expand Your “Circle of Safety”

#10 Expand Your “Circle of Safety”

Most colleges seek a geographically diverse incoming class. The reality – a majority of first-time freshman (approx. 60%) attend a college 100 miles from home. Understanding this dynamic and expanding your search area can yield significant cost savings. Why?

Let’s look at the University of Minnesota (UMTC):

  • Fall 2017 it received 43,000+ applications
  • The overall admit rate is 50% – it’s more selective than many realize
  • Average ACT score = 28
  • Average GPA = 3.71
  • Cost of Attendance (COA) 2018-2019 = $28,106
  • They offer merit scholarships to < 25% of incoming freshman

Compared to the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH):

  • Fall 2017 it received 4,454 applications
  • The overall admit rate is 81% – it’s not selective.
  • Average ACT score = 28
  • Average GPA = 3.79
  • Cost of Attendance Out of State (COA) 2018-2019 = $38,788
  • Merit Scholarships = Automatic:

UAH 2018-2019 Merit Tuition Scholarship Chart

At UAH a 30 ACT and 3.50 GPA nets you a four-year renewable full-tuition scholarship as a resident or non-resident student (a $21,378 annual savings for non-resident students). These same credentials are unlikely to earn a merit scholarship at the UMTC, in many cases making UAH the less expensive option. What about academics? The University of Alabama – Huntsville more than holds its own…

The objective is not to pick on the University of Minnesota – it is an excellent academic institution, merely to point out an instance when expanding your “Circle of Safety” can save on the cost of a college education.

Given the enrollment habits of students, many institutions have as many students from their home region as they want or can enroll. Thus, in certain instances expanding your circle of safety and looking for a college beyond a 100-mile radius from home, which fits your needs academically, socially, and financially may produce significant cost savings. Perhaps:

  • The nationally recognized Cyber Security program at Dakota State University (reciprocity tuition rates for MN residents) or
  • The Degree in 3 Program at Ball State University or
  • Rhodes College – A “College That Change Lives” school which enrolled zero students from MN in their Fall 2018 incoming class or
  • Truman State University (considered a “Public Ivy”) – Midwest Student Exchange Tuition eligible for MN residents,
  • Or…

You have more choices than you think!

Interested in learning how to save on the cost of a college education –  Contact me today.

Jeff has spent 30+ years working in higher education as a Registrar and Director of Student/Academic Services. As an educational college planning consultant, he uses his experience and insights to save you $$$ by helping you in identify “good match” colleges to fit your academic, social and financial needs.

10 Strategies to Decrease the Cost of College

Don’t believe the headlines. A college education does not “need” to cost a proverbial “arm and leg”. Over the next few weeks, I will share 10 Strategies to Decrease the Cost of College (and Student Debt):

You have more choices than you think!

Interested in learning how to save on the cost of a college education – Contact me today.

Jeff has spent 30+ years working in higher education as a Registrar and Director of Student/Academic Services. As an educational college planning consultant, he uses his experience and insights to save you $$$ by helping you in identify “good match” colleges to fit your academic, social and financial needs.

 

Strategies to Decrease the Cost of College #4 – Graduation Rates

 

College Graduation

What is the admit rate to Harvard? Stanford? University of Minnesota?
Many know because so much gets written and too much emphasis is placed upon how difficult it is to get into certain colleges.
When considering colleges, rarely does one ask, “What is Wossamotta U’s graduation rate?” When the ultimate end game is to graduate – I want to know how long it will take to get out.
Today it takes students on average 5.1 years to graduate with his/her four-year degree, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Thus, it is important to understand the likelihood I am paying for four, five or six years to finish a degree.
The graphic below highlights how much a degree will cost (based on Fall 2018 cost of attendance) if completing it in four, five or six years at three different schools. 

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Sadly, four in ten families have no strategy to pay for four years of college, let alone five plus – Sallie Mae 2017 – How American Pays for College. – with each year beyond four typically funded by taking on increased debt.
It is extremely important to find and enroll at a good fit school. Statistics tell us tells there is a direct correlation between choosing a “good match” school and your retention and ultimate graduation from that school – even if it takes you > four years. But, the numbers do tell us something.
Look at the percentage of students who graduate from these schools in four years:
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Compared to:
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Comparing graduation rates can yield potential cost-savings. In a surprising number of instances, your overall out of pocket costs will be lower if you graduate in four years from a “higher cost” school than six years from a school with a lower sticker price.
Just as I advocate never eliminating a school based on its sticker price if Winona State University is a good fit and your top choice do not eliminate it solely because their four-year graduation rate is lower than others.
All schools have warts and many students leave for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with the college itself, and just because the typical student doesn’t graduate in four years it does not mean you will not, however…
Be mindful of certain realities – something systematic regarding how a school offers (sequences) classes or the types of students it attracts or its student services/resources or cost of attendance, or funding mechanisms or etc., makes it more difficult to graduate in four years than other schools.  
Focus less on admit rates. Pay more attention to graduation rates when determining if a college is a good financial fit.
After all, the goal is to graduate. And in my humble opinion – in four years or less!
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Need help finding good match colleges. Contact me. and I can work with you to shave thousand’s of $$ off a college degree.  

Jeff has spent 30+ years working in higher education as a Registrar and Director of Student/Academic Services. As an educational college planning consultant, he uses his experience and insights to save you $$$ by helping you in identify “good match” colleges to fit your academic, social and financial needs.

Strategies to Decrease the Cost of College #5 – Planned Transfer

 

Transfer 2

I was reading an article the other day about how community college students can transfer to “Top” universities even an Ivy League school. The article highlighted the journey of a young man from a community college to Harvard, the implication – you can too.
What bull#8@%. Not total bulls… but mostly. Why?
The reality is “highly selective” – any school admitting less than 25% of students are not transfer friendly. Sure a handful of students transfer to these schools every year, but look at the numbers for Fall of 2017:
You might look at Northwestern University and think, “Not so bad”, until you realize Northwestern received 37,000+ applications for Fall 2017. Your odds are less than good and planning to transfer to these types of schools is not a practical strategy. 
The good news – many many colleges are transfer friendly. In fact, a large number rely on a steady stream of transfer students to meet enrollment goals every year.
A planned transfer is a great way to save on the overall cost of a college degree. Note the emphasis on “planned”.

 

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The first step in any planned transfer is to determine how transfer friendly a school is.
As a general rule of thumb, the greater the % of students admitted, the greater the likelihood a school is transfer friendly. Fortunately, it is not difficult to determine how selective a school is. There are plenty of college planning resources to utilize.
My favorite is – College Navigator. Search for a college and expanding the admissions tab reveals the admit rate:  

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Once you have determined if a college or two “might” be transfer-friendly, next research how these schools actually accept transfer credits.
Many colleges publish this information on their web site. Some even have handy tools to help you determine how credits will transfer from another school.

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UW – Eau Claire Transfer Wizard 

Many will refer you to Transferology (if they participate) an excellent transfer credit resource or MN Transfer. If you do your homework, you can determine exactly how schools will transfer your credits. But… 
Beware of general catalog statements (and even many articulation agreements). Many read a statement such as 

Transferring with an Associate Degree

  • The Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) will grant a waiver of General Education requirements 
  • Associates of Arts (AA) degrees from Wisconsin and Minnesota will grant a waiver of University Requirements AND General Education requirements
and assume two years at a community college and two years at a four-year school and bingo – done.
Not so fast… Failing to understand what these statements really mean could result in not saving any money at all.
At the University of Wisconsin – River Falls (online catalog statement above) what they are really telling you is if you complete an associates degree at a community college you don’t need to complete the approximately 42 credits every student regardless of major must satisfy – their general education component is covered by your associate’s degree.
However, at UW-River Falls (75% admit rate) it takes a minimum of 120 credits to graduate… the remaining courses in your AA degree may or may not cover the other coursework necessary to complete your major.

UW River Falls

Many students can and do complete their associate’s degree, transfer to UW River Falls and complete a bachelors degree in two years. Others think this is the case, yet fail to research and determine how each and every course will transfer and do not.  
Just like a dual degree cost-saving strategy, you need to understand there is a BIG BIG BIG difference between a course being accepted in transfer and how it will be used to satisfy a degree requirement. Did I mention BIG?
Sure, many schools will accept your Associate’s Degree classwork in transfer, but the critical question you need to ask yourself  – how many actually count toward the X number of credits I need to complete my degree program?
When working with a family on a planned transfer – we don’t focus on completing an associate degree or in many cases explicitly following an established articulation agreement. We work backward. Strategically, determining how each and every course will transfer and reduce the number of credits needed to graduate. 
Often this means a student only spends two or three semesters at a community college. Why? Pretty simple really. For many majors, you will maximize the number of credits which will satisfy degree requirements at your targeted transfer school before you complete an associate’s degree. 
A planned transfer is a great college cost-saving strategy. It may not get you into Harvard, but if you are strategic and diligent it will save you money at plenty of “good fit” schools!

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Seem like a great idea, but too time-consuming? Contact me. and I can work with you to shave thousand’s of $$ off a college degree.  

Jeff has spent 30+ years working in higher education as a Registrar and Director of Student/Academic Services. As an educational college planning consultant, he uses his experience and insights to save you $$$ by helping you in identify “good match” colleges to fit your academic, social and financial needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strategies to Decrease the Cost of College #6 – Dual Enrollment

 

Dual-Enrollment-5.jpeg

 

A typical four-year state institution will cost you approximately $26,000 to attend for one academic year (see chart below). 
A dual enrollment strategy (taking AP, PSEO, IB, CIS or PLTW coursework in high school) is one of my favorite strategies to save families money on the cost of college.
Shaving one semester or even one year off a college degree is easier than you think – if you know what you are doing. 

 

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After a workshop recently, a family came up and asked, “Can you help us get our son more credits for his PSEO classes”. As a former registrar, I knew the answer would be no. 
As a cost-saving strategy, their son enrolled in a Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program at a local community college. The hope – he would graduate in 2 to 2 1/2 years with his four-year degree.
The reality – his first choice school was only awarding him nine credits towards his degree requirements for the two years worth of PSEO classes he completed. Sadly, he had taken the wrong courses. Many mistakenly believe all college credit is created and awarded equally. 
There is a BIG BIG BIG difference between a course being accepted in transfer and how it will be used to satisfy a degree requirement. Did I mention BIG?
Many colleges will “transfer” in all your courses with a grade of “C” or better, but the critical question you need to ask yourself  – which courses will count toward my degree program? 
How colleges accept dual enrollment credit (or any transfer credit for that matter) is highly variable from school to school and even program to program within individual schools. 
Let’s assume you took AP Chemistry in high school with the goal of satisfying a lab science requirement in college. Let’s further assume you scored a 4 on the exam. If you enroll at Hamline University your AP Chemistry course will only count as an elective.  

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Hamline University AP Credit Chart – https://www.hamline.edu/undergraduate/admission/transfer-credits.html#Advanced_Placement

 

At the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire the same result means you will be awarded 5 credits for their CHEM 105/106 course (satisfying a general education lab science requirement). Whallah – you are five credits closer toward your degree!

 

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UWEC AP Chart – https://uwhelp.wisconsin.edu/prep-for-college/credits/testing-ap-ib/#results

 

Why the difference? The reasons are nuanced and too numerous to discuss on this post, but the basic reality is the same – there is no universal standard for how an institution will accept college-level credits in transfer into their degree programs. Each school independently determines how a course will transfer. 
What are the keys to employing a successful Dual Enrollment Cost Saving Strategy?
  • sdrowkcaB gnikroW – research and understand Degree Requirements
  • Understand this will not work at highly selective schools (schools which enroll < 25-30% of students who apply). 
You need to be strategic and work backward. Start by determining which courses are required to graduate from a specific degree program

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then research which dual enrollment courses you can take to pluck off degree requirements. In this University of North Dakota (UND) example, taking AP Calculus AB (and scoring 3 or greater on the exam) is equivalent to UND’s MATH 165 Calc I course. One course down.
Taking POLS 1031 as a Century College PSEO student and getting a grade of “C” or higher is equivalent to taking UND’s POLS 115 course thus satisfying their Essential Studies Social Science requirementTwo courses down.
And so on!
Will this strategy work for everyone? No – you need to successfully complete college-level coursework. But plenty of students can and do.
Does it take time and effort to research? Yes. Is the research easy? No – you must meticulously determine how each course will transfer to multiple good match schools.
Simple strategy? I think so. 
Knocking off time and credits to complete your college degree by taking the “right” dual enrollment courses is an extremely effective way to save time and money.

 

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*Approximate Fall 2018 COA

Enrolling in and completing dual enrollment coursework is one of my favorite college cost-saving strategies.  
Seem like a great idea, but too much for you to handle. Contact me… I have helped numerous families shave thousand’s of $$ off a college degree, by counseling them on the “right” dual enrollment classes to take.
You have plenty of good fit options!

Jeff has spent 30+ years working in higher education as a Registrar and Director of Student/Academic Services. As an educational college planning consultant, he uses his experience and insights to save you $$$ by helping you in identify “good match” colleges to fit your academic, social and financial needs.

Strategies to Decrease the Cost of College #7 – Chase the Right Scholarships

Scholarships $$ sign
What is the #1 source of scholarship money? Many believe national organizations or competitions are the routes to go?
Nope.
On the surface becoming a Coca Cola Scholar sounds great. Who wouldn’t want $20,000 grand? Yet if you dig into the numbers…
In 2018, approximately 96,000 students applied and 400 were awarded scholarships, so your odds of winning that $20,000 are less than 1/2%. Minnesota had a whopping four winners in 2018.
What about the National Merit Scholarship Contest?
Nada.
Annually, approximately 1.6 million students participate.
  • Of these 1.6 million entrants, roughly 50,000 qualify to compete.
  • Of the 50,000, 15,000 become semifinalists.
  • In the end, only 7,500 finalists receive $2,500. 
Again your odds are less than 1%… There is no arguing being recognized as a National Merit Scholar can unlock additional merit awards at certain colleges and universities, yet for 1.5+ million students, is it really worth your time and effort?
Rule of thumb. For every 100 national scholarships you identify, you “might” qualify for 10. If you apply, you will be lucky to receive one.
For the vast majority of students, there is very little ROI versus the time and effort required to compete for national scholarships. 
Local?  Getting warmer.    college-fund

 

Roughly 8-10% of students will win a locally sourced scholarship – those available to students at your school or in your district (local chamber of commerce, businesses, organizations, endowed exclusively at your school, etc.).
Apply for these scholarships. Your odds of winning are greater and even though most fall in the $500 to $1,000 range many students are able to cobble together $2,000 – $2,500 towards the cost of college. Less $$ out of your pocket is never a bad thing. 
The #1 source of scholarship money?  Drum roll. 
The colleges themselves!
Stop chasing the wrong scholarships. There is money to be saved by strategically identifying good fit schools where your credentials can garner a significant discount on tuition, often greater than 50%.
Maybe Simpson College is a good fit. Advertised tuition for Fall 2019 = $39,910.

 

Simpson College

 

I hope you didn’t read the Sticker Price for Simpson and immediately say, “too expensive”. 
Based on the chart below, your tuition bill may be as little as $12,190 – an approximate 70% tuition discount.

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Simpson College 1st Year Scholarship Chart – https://simpson.edu/admission-aid/tuition-aid/scholarships-grants-awards/first-year-scholarships-and-awards

You can find great values. How? One strategy is to “Chase the Right Scholarships” by strategically expanding your circle of safety. 
I help you identify fit good schools to match your unique academic, social and financial needs. Below is a small sample of scholarship monies I helped students find as they begin their Fall 2019 college journeys:
You have more choices than you think. Chase the “right” scholarships and you can significantly reduce your college costs.
Contact me today to learn how I will save you $$ on the cost of a college education.

Jeff has spent 30+ years working in higher education as a Registrar and Director of Student/Academic Services. As an educational college planning consultant, he uses his experience and insights to save you $$$ by helping you in identify “good match” colleges to fit your academic, social and financial needs.

 

Strategies to Decrease the Cost of College #8 – Sticker Shock

What do mattresses, new cars, and college tuition have in common?
You rarely pay full price.

Sticker Shock Tuition

When I do college planning workshops, I frequently hear – “that college is too expensive to attend”. 
Too many families mistakenly eliminate a school as soon as they see the “Sticker Price”. The result – paying more than necessary for a college education. Why?
Colleges (especially private schools) need to discount tuition from advertised prices to compete with other colleges and universities.
Many families I work with are surprised to learn in many instances a so-called “more expensive” college will cost them less out of pocket than schools with cheaper advertised prices. 
How can this be? First, you need to understand how colleges calculate a financial aid package. The primary consideration is demonstrated need. At it’s most basic this is the financial aid formula all colleges use:

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EFC is the amount of money you are expected to contribute for one academic year. It is calculated by completing the FAFSA and/or the CSS Profile (not required by every college). 
Your EFC is the same regardless of how much a school charges, thus your need varies based on the cost of attendance (COA). 

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To illustrate, let’s assume your family EFC is $5,000 and you are considering the University of Minnesota (UMTC), the University of North Dakota (UND) and St. Olaf College.
In addition to understanding how EFC is used in financial aid calculations, it is also critical to research (understand) what % of need a college historically meets.
Historically, the UMTC meets 76% of demonstrated need.
UND 64%.
St. Olaf 100%.
Why is this so important? Since your EFC is constant ($5,000), your financial aid offer from these schools will vary considerably. 

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UMTC will likely offer you $17,657 in aid. UND $10,924. St. Olaf $55,990.
In the right circumstance the “more expensive” St. Olaf will cost you less out of pocket than the “less expensive” UMTC or UND. 

 

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Will this calculation work exactly the same for every family. No!
Many factors are used to determine a financial aid award, such as how much they want your son or daughter to attend (called preferential packaging – a topic for another day). Preferential packaging determines how much “free” money they will offer in the form of scholarships and grants versus loans.
Yet, the reality in today’s admissions environment – most colleges and universities need to “compete” to enroll your son or daughter. 
Ask yourself, can Gustavus Adolphus College really attract all the students it needs to meet its enrollment goals if they charge every student $57,280 (Fall 2018 published COA) versus the UMTC which charged $28,233? 
No like, most colleges Gustavus will “discount” tuition from their published sticker price for many many students. 
Thus, it is really is not uncommon to receive a financial aid award which makes a “more expensive” college if not the less costly alternative, then comparable to a school with a low sticker price. Use this knowledge to your advantage to save $$$ on the cost of a college education. 
The best time to eliminate a school is at the end of this process after you have learned what a school is willing to offer you. Not at the beginning, when you see the advertised price!
You have choices.
Contact me today to learn how I will save you $$ on the cost of a college education.

Jeff has spent 30+ years working in higher education as a Registrar and Director of Student/Academic Services. As an educational college planning consultant, he uses his experience and insights to save you $$$ by helping you in identify “good match” colleges to fit your academic, social and financial needs.

Strategies to Decrease the Cost of College #9 Tuition Banding

#9 – Tuition Banding – Rule of 120/126

Successful businesses leverage the 80/20 rule. Investors the rule of 72. You can use the rule of 120/126 to save on college costs.

What is the significance of 120 and 126? To graduate with a four-year college degree generally requires 120 to 126 completed credits.

Back when I went to school the majority of colleges charged tuition by the credit. The current trend – a banded (flat rate) tuition model. The most common model is to charge the same rate of tuition for between 12 – 18 credit hours.

At the University of Minnesota (UMTC), for example, you are charged the same tuition if you take 13 or 15 or 19 or 25 credits in an academic term. You don’t need to be a Math major to leverage the rule of 120/126!

U. Minnesota

U. Minnesota Twin Cities

Anyone can save $15,000 on the cost of a UMTC degree How? Simple math. Multiple 18 by 7. You get 126. Enroll in 18 credits per semester at the UMTC (or many other colleges) and you can graduate in 7 semesters. Savings = $15,000 (based on estimated Fall 2019 cost of attendance). 

Today, it takes the average student 5.2 years (basically 11 semesters) to graduate. Is it any wonder so many students leave college with huge amounts of student debt. Every semester beyond the fourth year is typically funded by student loans…

Failing to follow the basic Rule of 120 = more $$$ for your degree. 

UW Eau Claire

UW Eau Claire

It’s not hard to graduate in four years. 15 credits represent a typical academic load. 8 * 15 = 120.

Never, never, never fall below 15 credits per term – you would be surprised by the number of students who do and end up paying more for a college education than necessary. 

Fall 2018 Cost of Attendance at UW – Eau Claire for an MN resident taking between 12 – 18 credits is $20,289. Don’t pay an extra 20+ grand for your degree, i.e., 8 * 15 = 120.

I know, I know. Not every student is equipped to handle 18 credits per term. And you have to sequence courses correctly to graduate in 7 semesters. And life does happen, so sometimes 15 credits a term is not feasible, but…

Sprinkle in a summer class at a local community college (at lower tuition rates). A dash of AP or PSEO in high school. A J-Term course. A planned transfer. Etc. Anyone can cook up savings using my rule of 120/126.

You have choices!

Contact me today to learn how I will save you $$ on the cost of a college education.

Jeff has spent 30+ years working in higher education as a Registrar and Director of Student/Academic Services. As an educational college planning consultant, he uses his experience and insights to save you $$$ by helping you in identify “good match” colleges to fit your academic, social and financial needs.

 

 

College Admissions – Is a Deadline Really a Deadline?

I got a panicky call from a family yesterday. The college bound daughter became interested in applying to a certain public university but missed the last admissions deadline – published on the school’s admission page as December 1, 2016.  “Do we have options?”

Having worked in this environment for many years, I understood that often a published “Deadline” isn’t exactly a hard and true “deadline”. Why? One word. Yield.

I contacted said admissions office, and received this quick reply, “Although our deadline was December 1, our application is currently still available on our website. I would encourage your student to apply as soon as possible, as the application may close at any time. I hope this information is helpful. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions”

This response didn’t surprised me. Why? One word. Yield.

What is yield? #1 – Yield is the magic metric that keeps college admissions officers up at night. #2 – Yield in college admissions is simply the % of students who enroll after having been offered admission.

What did this response show me? The school hadn’t reached the magic number of applications it believes it needs to hit targeted yield numbers for the upcoming academic year. They were still open for business. The published deadline wasn’t really the DEADLINE.

I am in no way implying you should roll the dice in the college application deadline game. I would never counsel families I work with to do so. Missing published deadlines for certain institutions (highly selective) or admission statuses (early decision, early actions) means you are SOL.

Predicting yield at the majority of colleges or universities from year to year is a fools errand at best. Missing deadlines has real consequences – you end up at the back of the line for aid distribution (merit and need), housing, registration priority, etc. But…

Your college bound son or daughter is really really really interested but they “”ran out of gas, had a flat tire. didn’t have enough money for cab fare, an old friend came in from out-of-town, someone stole their car, there was an earthquake, terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN’T their FAULT, they SWEAR TO GOD!” and missed the published application deadline.

Or in the case of the family who called me, the daughter simply became infatuated with a school late and was willing to accept the low priority consequences, then…

There is no harm in asking.

The answer you receive from many institutions will be predicated more by reaching the requisite number of applications to yield the number of incoming students the institution has budgeted for than by any calendar declaration as published on the web site.

The answer will be a polite “NO” or more often than you think, “Yes, you still have time to apply”.

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