Homeschoolers and College: Private or Public University?

Your student may be interested in both the local public university and the expensive private one across the country -- which one is actually cheaper?! When it comes to comparing colleges, it's important to remember that the financial differences between attending a private school and a public school are negligible. Most public schools are tied to their state's money, and because of the current economic crisis, the cost of public university is going up while the number of scholarships is going down. Meanwhile, many private schools are doing fairly well and tend to have huge scholarships. Even though their sticker price may be overwhelmingly large, the amount that students actually pay to attend is significantly smaller.

When comparing colleges, use reference books like the US News and World Report College Guide to determine real costs. After you've decided which colleges you think you might want to visit, get out the college guide and look at each college. Start by looking up the average SAT score for each college.

Usually it will say something like "25% have test scores of this, and the average score is between here and here." Look for colleges where your student's test score is on the high-end of average, so that they are one of the smartest students the colleges see and the colleges will want to offer them scholarships.

The "college cost as affected by the average number of scholarships awarded" is another piece of information you can find in these books. Some colleges will state that the average student gets a scholarship award of a certain amount. Others will state the average student will graduate with a certain amount of college debt. This information will help you determine how much an average student has to pay for that school. In addition, make sure to check the graduation rate, because that will have a huge impact on the long-term cost of college. For example, at a local university it takes six years on average to graduate. But at the school my sons attended, almost everybody graduates in four years on average. If you had to pay six years of school, it would be much more expensive than just paying for four years.

Lastly, evaluate what percent of students at each school are employed immediately after they graduate. If your child takes on college debt, they want to have a very good chance of getting a job so that they can pay off that debt. The employment rate is a good indication of their likelihood to get a job immediately after graduation.

Of course, selecting a college won't make any difference if your student isn't prepared for college. Failing to prepare for college is one of "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When Homeschooling High School." Learn how to avoid all 5 mistakes in my free e-mail mini-course.

Article Source: Lee Binz

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