Posted by Julia Wasson

Nov 25, 2014 8:03:00 AM

Even with the high price tag of many colleges and universities today, your student should not be discouraged from applying to the schools she wishes to attend. Affording college may actually be more attainable than you once thought.
A variety of tuition assistance programs are available, from scholarships to financial aid packets. However, the latest trend in helping a college freshman afford tuition is that many schools are now offering discounts in the form of college grants.

The reason for this new college tuition “buyer’s market” is a discernable lack of freshman applicants, which corresponds directly with the most recent U.S. economic downturn.

Subsequently, at these “space-available” schools, behind-the-scenes, free-market pricing is taking place. Many schools are now responding to the lack-of-applicants problem by offering significant freshman college grants and rebates to fill empty classroom seats. Savvy students and parents are even waiting until the last minute to leverage college grant offers against one another.

Out of the more than 50 outstanding colleges with space available, 90% of their incoming freshman class were offered grants, and those grants frequently averaged more than $20,000.

Taken from a list compiled by Forbes magazine, the following are just a few examples of schools offering college grants to incoming freshmen.

Note: SAT scores given are combined scores for Critical Reading and Math.

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL
Undergraduates: 2,714
75th percentile SAT: 1,350
2011–2012 freshmen receiving grants: 100%
Average grant: $21,726
2013 cost of attendance: $51,265

Beloit College, Beloit, WI
Undergraduates: 1,385
75th percentile SAT: 1,340
2011–2012 freshmen receiving grants: 97%
Average grant: $19,276
2013 cost of attendance: $52,660

Mills College, Oakland, CA
Undergraduates: 936
75th percentile SAT: 1,280
2011-2012 freshman getting grants: 95%
Average grant: $19,401
2013 cost of attendance: $61,187

Knox College, Galesburg, IL
Undergraduates: 1,420
75th percentile SAT: 1,380
2011–2012 freshmen receiving grants: 99%
Average grant: $17,111
2013 cost of attendance: $47,352

St. John’s College, Santa Fe, NM
Undergraduates: 365
75th percentile SAT: 1,400
2011–2012 freshmen receiving grants: 82%
Average grant: $28,798
2013 cost of attendance: $58,539

St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD
Undergraduates: 490
75th percentile SAT: 1,410
2011–2012 freshmen receiving grants: 52%
Average grant: $26,956
2013 cost of attendance: $58,909

The above listings show the schools' 75th percentile SAT test scores for math and critical reading. This means that 75% of students at these schools scored at or below the SAT score shown. What this demonstrates is that if your student has a great SAT score, he opens up new bargain-hunting opportunities at excellent colleges and universities.

With the right college test prep, your student may be able to raise her score enough to give her buying power when it comes to college tuition. Having solid test-taking strategies, an efficient practice plan, and increased confidence going into college entrance exams can help your teen perform to her ability.

With the recent trend of colleges offering discounts in the tens of thousands of dollars, there’s no reason for your student not to be thoroughly prepared to take the PSAT/SAT or ACT. Strong test scores, combined with good grades and a well-prepared application, can help your student afford the college he desires.

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