For parents with college-bound children, finding useful information that can help them in their efforts to send their child to the right college while minimizing out-of-pocket college costs can be a daunting challenge. Where to start? The process can be overwhelming and time consuming!

This exclusive College Search and Query Tool from College Planning Partners can be a very-helpful first step in finding the right college for your child, saving you potentially thousands of dollars on your out-of-pocket college costs, keeping your retirement savings on track and avoiding crippling amounts of student loan debt.

There are two different prices for a college education, one for the informed and one for the uninformed. This tool will help you become an informed buyer of a college education!

Want or need personalized help with your particular situation? Connect with College Planning Partners by completing the request for consultation form.

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Four Year Graduation Report

Why this information is important and helpful

A poor 4-year graduation rate can significantly increase college costs due to extended time in school. Why is the graduation rate so low? The answer may determine whether or not the school is a viable option for consideration.

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

When evaluating colleges for your student, out-of-pocket costs should be an important consideration. Sadly, for many families it's not and that is why student loan debt is such problem nationally. Consider getting some expert help in learning how college planning can help you send your child to the right college and at the right price!

College Costs

Why this this information is important and helpful

The first question you'll want an answer to is "How much are we going to have to pay for college?" This report shows the published annual Cost of Attendance (COA) for colleges in your state - public (in-state and out-of-state) and private. Don't get depressed. Informed buyers of a college education generally pay much less than the school's sticker price. And, the more you know and the more specialzed expertise you can tap to help you, the less you'll likely pay. Don't rule out a school because you think the sticker price is too high, especially a private college. Parents often are able to send their child to a private college for comparable or less than an in-state public university, even when the private school sticker price is thousands more.

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

There are many college-admissions and college planning strategies that can help bring your out-of-pocket costs down considerably - irrespective of your finances. Schedule a college planning consult with advisor name to learn how they can help you save considerably on a school's sticker price.

Most Expensive Room and Board

Why this information is important and helpful

A high room and board cost can make purchase/resale of rental property in the college town, during the college years an attractive alternative, especially for high income/net worth parents. The rent from roommates will provide some if not all the mortgage expense, while the property will provide interest expense, depreciation, utilities, taxes, common expenses and appreciation for resale or charitable donation after your college student graduates. The tax savings and any profit incurred will help offset the total costs of college. The savings on the cost of room and board can be significant.

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

Consider scheduling a college planning consult to learn how a college condo strategy may not only save you considerably on college costs at selected schools but may yield signficant financial benefits as well!

Best schools for financial aid

Why this information is important and helpful

Need-based financial aid can significantly reduce the out-of-pocket college costs for middle and upper-middle-income families.

All schools don’t offer the same financial aid packages. Therefore it can actually end up costing you more to send your child to a school with a lower cost of attendance than another option with a higher cost if the lower-cost school offers an inferior financial aid package. You should know each school’s history of giving money before applying, so you are not disappointed when you get a bad financial aid package from your child’s top school choice.

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

Use the information provided in this query to springboard into deeper college planning to learn if you are likely to be a financial aid candidate as well as identify any strategies that can help enhance your financial aid eligibility

Best schools for tuition discounts

Why this information is imporant and helpful:

Even in cases where the family is not a candidate for need-based financial aid, there is another little-known form of financial aid often given to these families. It is the tuition discount in the form of scholarships or grants (free money). This query shows that average amount/% of tuition discount (scholarships) that the named school reported giving to incoming freshman that did not qualify for need-based financial aid. High-performing students from families, especially affluent ones, are in great demand by colleges - especially expensive private colleges. In order to entice these families to send their student to their particular institution, the colleges will often offer a tuition discount which comes in the form of a grant or scholarship. The more desirable the student is to the school the greater the discount may be. Schools where a student is a candidate for preferential packaging or tuition discounting are great candidates for applying - either because of high interest in the school or possibly as a leveraging candidate which may cause the first choice school to sweeten the pot to match a better offer.

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

Tuition discounts are one way that a family can save on college costs. There are many other ways, besides need-based financial aid, that can reduce out-of-pocked college costs. A deeper college planning analysis, in light of your personal circumstances, may reveal additional ways to reduce your out-of-pocket college costs

Schools that Require Filing of CSS Profile

Why this information is important and helpful

Knowing what type of financial aid forms a particular school requires is very significant for a family. Schools that require the CSS Profile use a different methodology to determine a family’s financial aid eligibility. For families considering these schools, admissions strategies as well as financial aid planning take on even more importance since Profile schools are generally more expensive than schools that only require the FAFSA.

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

Use the results of this query to springboard into a deeper college planning analysis. The deeper analysis will take into consideration the Profile requirement when determining EFC, financial aid estimates as well as financial aid planning opportunities and strategies.

For divorced families the query will reveal whether or not a non-custodial parent will be required to contribute to the family EFC calculations which could significantly increase EFC and decrease aid eligibility. The answer to this may be an important consideration for college planning and school selection.

This information can also provide the rationale to engage a college admissions and financial aid service provider due to the high cost of attendance at most of these schools as well as the complexity of the financial aid forms.

Top 20% of Applicant Pool

Why this information is important and helpful:

Students who are in the top 20% of the incoming freshman applicant pool are more likely to be accepted by the college. These students are also likely to receive a more generous financial aid package. For families that won’t qualify for need-based financial aid, they may receive a generous tuition discount in the form of scholarships.

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

A deeper college planning analysis may reveal a list of candidate schools across the country where the student is at the top of the applicant pool and may compete with other similar schools for the student by offering superior financial aid or scholarships as inducements. In this way, school's "sweeten the pot" to attract students they are in competition for.

Unlimited Availability

Why this information is important and helpful:

Unlimited availability means that, provided the student has fulfilled the requirements to obtain the scholarship, the student will receive it and there is no limit to the number of recipients! Every student that meets the eligibility criteria receives this free money!

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

Families can use this information to identify candidate schools for application. The family can also use this information to put the right schools into the application list. One of the most effective ways to get a favored school to offer more scholarships/grants (free money) is to have a better offer from a competing school. A college admissions service can help validate the suitability of schools with unlimited scholarships for the student. Some of these may be a perfect fit for the student.

Schools with Merit Based Scholarships Based on SAT Score

Why this information is important and helpful:

This query returns the list of colleges in the state along with school-based merit scholarships (free money) the student is eligible for based on SAT score. Merit-based scholarships are the #1 source of free money for a family and are independent of financial need - whether your income is $80,000 or $800,000!

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

A deeper analysis can reveal all the requirements necessary for a student to obtain the merit-based (based on academic performance) scholarships (free money) from the school and reduce family out-of-pocket costs! Many families miss out on thousands of dollars of scholarship money because they don't know what's available to them at colleges across the country and exactly what the requirements are to obtain them.

Potential Scholarships with increased SAT

Why this information is important and helpful

In addition to revealing the scholarships that the student may already qualify for, this query returns additional scholarships that the student may qualify for by increasing test scores, GPA, etc. This additional information can help the family decide if investing in test preparation courses may be a prudent decision.

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

Contact the advisor for a referral to a recommended test prep provider. In addition, a deeper college planning analysis may reveal candidate schools that would offer more generous financial aid awards or scholarships based on a nominal increase in test scores. This may reveal great colleges that might have been considered unaffordable

Scholarships at Selected School

How this information is important and helpful:

This query returns the list of school-based merit scholarships the student may be eligible for at a named school. A deeper college-planning analysis for for selected schools will yeild all the relevant details related to the scholarship

Please select a state to continue.

Average Net Price for a Selected School

How this information is important and helpful:

Use this information to provide a starting point for estimating actual college costs based on your income level and school(s) of interest. The prices shown are averages and do not reflect the benefits of proactive college planning, which may further reduce your actual out-of-pocket college costs.

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

A deeper college planning analysis may help you achieve not just an average outcome but an superior outcome which could save you considerably more money at selected schools!

Please select a state to continue.

Best school value based on income level

Why this information is important and helpful:

This is a great value-added query for helping families identify a starting point list of schools to consider based on value. Value in this query is based on the % amount of the discount. The higher the discount percentage, the greater the school value (only with respect to cost!). The best value may end up being a high priced private college that was thought to be unaffordable!

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

The values shown are averages. A deeper college-planning analysis may help you exceed the results of average parents and pay the minimum amount possible for your child at a selected school. Your goal is to achieve a BEST outcome, not just an AVERAGE outcome!

Lowest Net Price in state based on Income Range

Tip: How to use this information:

This query is differentiated from the query above because whereas the above query is based on % of discount amount off of the stated Cost of Attendance (COA), this query ranks orders the schools in the state starting with the “cheapest” school. This query yields the schools with lowest average out-of-pocket costs based on income range. A low priced school may be a lessor value than a higher priced school when the higher priced school offers a greater discount amount off its COA.

How to use this information to save ON college costs:

The values shown are averages. A deeper college-planning analysis may help you exceed the results of average parents and pay the minimum amount possible for your child at a selected school. In addition, college-planning may be able to help you pay a comparable or less price at a desired school (not just the lowest cost school), possibly including a private college.

Save on College Costs. Avoid Student Loan Debt. Improve Retirement Savings Outook