Rhode Island Monthly Higher Learning 2015 : Page 7

grants, loans, work study and other forms of aid have been factored in. Many Rhode Island students tend to focus on colleges in the Northeast where sticker prices are high. If you are willing to think outside the region and venture a little farther away, you can find some affordable top notch colleges. At about $37,000 a year (total cost) for out-of-state students, the University of Wisconsin in the fabulous city of Madison is ranked nineteenth in the world among public universities. If a warmer climate entices you, there are a plethora of low-cost options at public universities in the south. From Virginia Tech to the College of Charleston, good buys abound in the $35,000 to $40,000 range for out-of-state students. For those students willing to go north of the border, Canadian universities are a true bargain. McGill will cost you as little as $28,000 a year for tuition, room and board. Closer to home, the State University of New York (SUNY) system offers several low price options. At Binghamton University, the shining star of the SUNY group, your total costs per year average about $34,000 as an out-of-state student. And of course, there is always the cost effective option of starting out at a local community college and then transferring to a four-year university after a year or two. However, it is important to remember that colleges will expect any income or assets in a child’s name to be used for college at 25 percent per year, whereas the calculation on parent income and assets is much lower (usually in the 5 to 10 percent range). Obviously, the best college financing strategy is to start saving early and be consistent about it. 529 savings plans and 529 pre-paid tuition plans are a great way to save for college, tax free. Some families may also opt to save for college via a variety of investments including savings bonds, stocks and even real estate. 529 PLANS Aside from a home, this is probably the second largest investment any family will make in its lifetime. Too many parents and students start late and miss out on great options for colleges or funding. Since many college applications are now filed in the fall of senior year, families should have a college list in place no later than January of eleventh grade. They should complete all their campus visits by September of senior year and understand their financing options and paperwork obligations before applications are filed. When financial aid offers come in, families need to carefully evaluate the amount of loans versus money that does not have to be repaid in order to avoid saddling students with hefty payments after graduation. Having an honest discussion with your child about how much you can afford is also extremely important. With more than 3,200 colleges in the United States, there are options for every type of student and budget. It just takes careful planning and research in order to have the best outcome. PLANNING IS CRITICAL 2076NC14_RI-Montly_Ad.qxp_Nichols College 12/23/14 11:13 AM Page 1 Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed., is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC, a Providence-based educational consulting firm which provides strategic, individual counseling for college-bound students. HL The value of a great education. . . you’ll find it at Nichols College Are you looking to make the most of your tuition dollars and graduate with a degree that opens doors? Then consider Nichols. Nichols offers: Education focused on teaching you business and leadership skills for success Over 98% of classes with 30 or fewer students Signature Professional Development Seminar that prepares you for internships, the job search, and interviewing Division III athletics, club sports, organizations and activities to provide you with a well-rounded college experience Take advantage of all that Nichols offers, and you will leave college with the confidence and leadership expertise you need to compete – and succeed – in today’s job market. Dudley, Massachusetts Proven results — Nichols is ranked 9th by U.S. News and World Report as a “Best Value School” among regional colleges in the north. Payscale.com rates Nichols the 7th best college for return on investment (ROI) among business schools nationally. Nichols College was selected “Best College for Business” in the Worcester Business Journal readers’ poll. Learn more: go.nichols.edu RHODE ISL AND MONTHLY I HIGHER LE ARNING I 2015 7

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