Is The College You Want to Attend Within Your Financial Means?

Affordability is key in securing a post-secondary education. As you know, the price of a college education is continuing to rise, as household and personal incomes remain constant. Everyone wants to enroll in the school with the biggest name without considering if attending is financially feasible.

Never underestimate the quality of an education you can get from more affordable colleges and universities. There are many affordable educational institutions across the world that will provide you with the tools, experiences, and knowledge important to your future endeavors. Many of the professors that teach at prominent schools are also adjunct professors at other institutions. As a result, the name and price of the school do not define the education that it can provide you.

Pride will make you feel as if you can afford everything, when in reality you can’t. Do not feel like you have to impress others with the name of your and/or your child’s college. An education is an education; it is not where you go but what you make out of it.

So be realistic with yourself and your situation and ask yourself, ‘Is the college or university within my means so that I can graduate without an exorbitant amount of debt?’  In short, is it affordable?

Below are some tips to help you determine how to choose a college within your financial means.

Tip 1: Research prospective schools costs of attendance (COA) and location.

  • Look at more than tuition and books. Consider the costs for living, meals, fees, travel, and entertainment.

Tip 2: Look into schools that may not be your first choice.

Tip 3: Complete the FAFSA early, so you can begin to see which options are affordable.

Tip 4: Do not heavily depend on the prospective institution to provide more funds because of your current situation, as it is not guaranteed they have additional funds to award.

Tip 5: Look into work study programs offered by your prospective schools

Tip 6: Review all awards awarded to see if they are renewable or contingent upon meeting certain criteria.

Tip 7: Compare financial aid offers.

Once you complete your research, you will be able to see which option is more affordable for you and/or your family. Moreover, planning for the total cost of paying for college will help to ensure that the institution you want to attend is the right one for you educationally and financially.

For more information on how to make the best-informed decisions around financing a post-secondary education, please visit