...Why Should You Give Them Yours?

We all know that college is expensive (some more expensive than others), with tuition and related costs rising nearly every year (this past year, by about 3% on average). As for college debt -- as they say in Brooklyn, fuggetaboutit!

Recently, Princeton Review came out with a list of the ten schools with the worst financial aid packages. On the flip side of the proverbial coin are colleges that are said to offer the best financial aid awards, which, by the way, can include scholarships, grants, loans and work-study.

As with almost everything else in life, your personal mileage, and the corresponding hit on your wallet, may vary from school to school and is often based upon a variety of factors ranging from "need" (whatever that may mean, given that, at some colleges, families with six-figure incomes receive need-based awards) to your scores on the SAT.

For those who are deemed ineligible for need-based aid, which, again, varies from college to college (use the school's Net Price Calculator, as well as the FAFSA4Caster, to estimate out of pocket costs), there arises the pressing question of how much, if any, merit aid colleges will dole out. [See, How Much Merit Aid Will Your College Offer? on The Choice, the college admissions blog of The New York Times.]

Check out a comprehensive list of more than 600 colleges that offer merit aid.

Deciding which college to go to isn't only a matter of cost. Course offerings, academic programs, location, rah, rah factor, size, and so on, all go into the mix.

Still, for most Americans, the college price tag weighs heavily in the decision-making process, and to know before you go is, well, like money in the bank!

Plan. Prepare. Prevail!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.

Who knows what peril lurks in the college application and admissions process? The College Whisperer knows. . .

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