Paying for college: Here’s how

By General Education Advice
ACT: 33+
SAT: 1450+
3.50+Half to Full Tuition
$32,000–$64,000
($8,000–$16,000 Annually3)
Half to Full Tuition
$80,000–$144,000
($20,000–$36,000 Annually3)
ACT: 30-32
SAT: 1360-1440
3.50+$20,000–$48,000
($5,000–$12,000 Annually3)
$56,000–$80,000
($14,000–$20,000 Annually3)
ACT: 28-29
SAT: 1300-1350
3.50+$8,000–$32,000
($2,000–$8,000 Annually3)
$36,000–$60,000
($9,000–$15,000 Annually3)
ACT: 26-27
SAT: 1230-1290
3.50+$4,000–$12,000
($1,000–$3,000 Annually3)
$28,000–$40,000
($7,000–$10,000 Annually3)

The table above comes from Miami of Ohio’s website. I applaud this university for releasing what has been a strange “secret” about paying for college. SAT-ACT scores are the dominant means by which merit aid is awarded or essentially how most everyone from our affluent suburbs in Connecticut gets scholarship money,

Some facts for those Connecticut parents who have high school juniors and are new to the paying for college game.

Some good news: you make more money than most Americans. If you are from Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Essex, East Lyme and other New Haven, Middlesex, and New London suburbs you likely have an income that is well above the national median.

Some bad news: you likely will not receive financial aid. See above for the reason.

Some good news: the daunting sticker price for college is usually not the actual price because colleges dole out merit scholarship money in order to get those who the colleges accept to accept them. The psychological reasoning: “we” are more likely to pay $50,000 if we think the price is $60,000 and that we getting some big break – in this case, a reward for being a good student than we would be if the price was simply $50,000.

So, many colleges, knowing full well that a large percentage of their matriculating students will actually pay $50,000, still list the cost as $60,000, as some students do pay that cost but more importantly because they do not want to look like a lower ranked college with a low price (the perceived value reasoning).

Most merit money is given based on SAT and ACT scores. Examine the chart. Several remarkable points: A 3.5 GPA, which given grade inflation, is easily attainable is all that is needed. More significantly, note the GPA required DOES NOT RISE when giving out higher awards. The higher money comes purely from higher test scores.

As I have written before, I used to feel far more self-conscious about “selling” our test prep classes and individual tutoring. I no longer do as I have seen the pay off 🙂

Daryl Capuano

CEO, The Learning Consultants and Connecticut’s top private education consultant
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