To gauge the affordability of a college or university, the sticker price is a good place to start. But savvy students should dig deeper.
One data point to unearth is the average percent of financial need met. As universities cover more of the tuition bill than ever before, they’re devoting most of that money to helping students without the resources to pay full price.
Schools that meet 100 percent of need can use a combination of loans, scholarships, grants and work-study to fill the gap between the cost of attendance – tuition, fees, room, board and other expenses – and the expected family contribution, a number determined by the information you provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, including tax data, assets and family size.