PrepWell Podcast


Ep. 11 | Everything you Need to Know About College Affordability

In this episode, I break down the financial terminology and buzzwords that you’ve heard for years about college affordability. Unlike most generic reviews, however, I try to explain how these terms actually fit into our lives.

In this episode, I break down the financial terminology and buzzwords surrounding college affordability. Unlike most generic overviews, however, I explain how these terms actually affect our lives. How much will college actually cost? At what income level does need-based aid disappear? And other difficult questions...

Show Notes:

In this episode, I advise parents on what they need to know about paying for college - before it’s too late. If parents put their heads in the proverbial sand until junior or senior year of high school, their financial flexibility may be severely limited. Listen to this podcast to orient yourself to the timing, relevance, and potential risks associated with today’s college costs and what you can do about them. 

In this Episode:

0:00:51 Why is it hard to get straight answers from parents about financial aid?
0:02:00 What matters when it comes to paying for college?
0:03:15 The importance of early planning 
0:03:23 A critical date to know if you have a sophomore in high school
0:05:44 Families fall into 3 buckets
0:05:50 Bucket #1 - You’re “rich"
0:06:19 Bucket #2 - You’re not rich - or poor!
0:06:38 Bucket #3 - You’re “poor"
0:07:55 What does “rich” mean according to colleges?
0:08:56 What is the EFC and why is it the starting point?
0:10:10 What happens if your EFC is $50K?
0:11:31 What are the components of college expenses?
0:11:51 How much does it cost to attend Columbia University?
0:12:21 What do small/medium liberal arts colleges cost to attend?
0:12:55 How much do state colleges and universities cost?
0:13:45 Where are all the schools in the middle of the price range?
0:15:00 Bucket #1: You’re Rich (EFC = $120K)
0:16:22 Bucket #2: You’re not rich or poor (EFC = $80K)
0:16:50 What are your options if you’re in Bucket #2? 
0:17:24 Strategy #1: Re-evaluate your target list of colleges
0:18:48 What are merit-based scholarships and who gives them?
0:19:53 Merit scholarships sound too good to be true. What’s the catch?
0:22:50 Bucket #3: You’re “poor" (EFC = $5K)
0:23:41 You mean I can go to Harvard for free?
0:24:41 Do state colleges and universities offer need-based aid?
0:25:15 How will my home equity be treated?
0:26:10 What levers (if any) will move the EFC needle?
0:26:18 Current income will make or break your financial need profile
0:27:41 How much income puts me in Bucket 1, 2, and 3?
0:28:04 If AGI = $120K
0:28:31 If AGI < $65K
0:29:00 If $120K < AGI < $400K “Dead Zone"
0:29:38 If AGI > $400K

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Podcast Host: PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank, etc.

Inside PrepWell Academy, Black teaches students everything they need to know about the college admissions process in a series of expertly-timed, 3-5-minute, weekly training videos starting in 9thgrade and continuing through 12th grade [Note: this program can only be joined in 9th or 10th grade]. My specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League, and student-athletes.

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