18
Jan
2016
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Top 5 Things To Consider When Choosing A College or University

Top 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a College or University

Choosing a College

The top colleges and universities recommended by major publications; most American students can’t afford. There for you must consider several factors when choosing a college, to make the best choice possible.

Several national magazines publish the top colleges and universities in the U.S. yearly. All of the top colleges listed have one thing in common, extreme high cost. Because the cost are so high, most Americans cannot afford to attend these so-called “top colleges” unless they acquire an uncontrollable school loan debt or a full 4 year scholarship. My number one consideration for choosing a top college or university, and what should be your number one
consideration, is simply put, cost. Not considering cost, can cost you misery later in life, for years to come.

If a poor or middle-income student choose one of the “top colleges”, their school loan balance after graduation would be outrages. Because, even after amortizing it over 20 years, the monthly payment would not be possible with the vast majority of entry level jobs in the U.S. You read that right, I said 20 years. Many students find that they have to amortize their school loans over 20 years to get a somewhat manageable payment option. Many graduates have payments more like mortgages than school loan payments, but this does not have to be the case.

Furthermore, if one of these students choose to defer school loans for graduate school, their existing outrageous balance could easily double. Interest payments are charged to the balance of the account even if the loan is in deferral.

With this being the case, what should you consider first in choosing a college for yourself or your child?
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1. Cost

If the school does not have a reasonable and affordable cost for your income, don’t even think about attending, unless you can get a full scholarship. Keeping a full scholarship usually requires you maintain a B+ grade point average.

Why burden yourself or your child with debt you or they can’t repay? The burden would be so high their life would be miserable trying to make the monthly payment. Figuring out the cost of a college includes a detailed analysis of tuition(for in-state and out of state residents), room and board, books, registration fees, plane fair or auto expense to get to and from school 3 times a year. Add an extra 2% to that total to cover hidden cost. Some students who choose schools they cannot afford, graduate with a college degree only to find their credit score fizzles so low they are no longer a candidate for employment, as a result of non-payment of school loans.

Most financial aide packages include a combination of large school loans, small grants, work study, and parents or students contribution. The financial aide package usually includes only about 70-80% of total cost for the poorest students, unless you are lucky enough to get one of the rare full scholarships.

Choosing a college without the consideration of debt can cause you and your child a lifelong drama of financial misery and unbearable stress. Don’t burden yourself with unsustainable debt and a low credit score, to get a college education.

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2. Culture

Is the culture conducive to your upbringing? If not, can you assimilate into the culture? The culture includes kids from similar communities, things to do that you enjoy, your religious facilities to attend, and acclimating to severe weather you are not used too. Some straight A
students attend colleges that are so culturally different to their upbringing that they have a difficult time adjusting, hence, their grades suffer as a result.

3. Academic Standing

Is the school certified by the local, state and federal academic boards?

4. Major Fields

Does the school have a large variety of major fields, so you can choose a second or third choice if you discover you don’t like your first choice?

5. Type of School

Understand the different types of schools available. Is your school choice an in-state public college, a private college, or a for-profit college?

The best value for your education is an in-state public college. Public schools are subsidized by taxpayers dollars so children within the state can get a quality education at an affordable cost.

Private colleges and universities are usually owned by organizations and churches. For-profit colleges and universities are usually owned by corporations. Both of these choices can be outrageously expensive with a lot of hidden cost. Do your research well before you consider a college or university. Understand that most colleges have tuition increases each year, this must be figured into the ongoing yearly cost. Because school cost is being subsidized with school loans for many students, getting the lowest loan amount it imperative. Your income right out of college is not guaranteed, neither is a job. Because of this it is wise to focus on low or no school loan debt for college or trade school. The debt must be repaid, the lower your debt the better your chance of repaying your debt easily and on time.

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Lois Center-Shabazz 
Personal Finance Author | Blogger | Course Creator | Money Strategist

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