A TuitionFit Success Story – Simple yet Profound

By now, I think we’ve described what TuitionFit does at least a thousand times (if for some reason you’ve been hiding under a rock, check out my TED talk here). But no matter how excited I get  with my big hand gestures and wide-eyed expressions, none of it compares to just seeing an example of how using TuitionFit changed one student’s sense of possibility, and ultimately her financial trajectory.

This student – let’s call her Mindy – was a member of that dreaded in-between group: too much income to qualify for Pell, but nowhere close to affluent.  She qualified for one of the worse consolation prizes of all time, the unsubsidized federal student loan.  She shared two awards that she had received with TuitionFit.  Although she received decent financial aid packages, she was still looking at direct costs (tuition, fees, room, and board) of about 33K and 39K for her first year of college. Historically, she would have probably thought that this was the sum total of her choices, Both offers meant borrowing a lot to go to college, since both offers gapped her considerably. (“Gapping” is a common practice among most colleges and universities where the financial aid offer awarded to the student asks the student to pay more, sometimes far more, than the expected family contribution (EFC) dollar amount that comes from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This difference produces the aforementioned “gap.”)

But when she shared her awards to TuitionFit, something amazing happened. These are the prices shared by other students like her (with a very similar need and merit profile). I’ve added the size and type of college or university that offered that price. I’ve omitted the names of the schools because I want you to concentrate on the sheer size of the price range and, given the number of offers within that range, realize that there has got to be at least one or two worthy candidates that charged less than the offers she received.

$  6,471.00         large public
$12,350.00         small private
$14,564.00         small private
$14,667.00         very large public
$14,794.00         very large public
$15,520.00         medium private
$17,068.00         medium private
$17,600.00         small private
$19,259.00         very small private
$19,340.00         very large public
$19,420.00         very large public
$20,340.00        small private
$20,360.00        small private
$20,430.00        large private
$21,992.00         very large private
$22,625.00        medium private
$24,220.00        very large private
$24,493.00        small private
$24,720.00        medium public
$28,432.00        very large public
$30,150.00        small private
$33,036.00        large private
$33,174.00        very large public
$36,487.00        medium public
$37,470.00        very large public
$37,676.00        very large public
$51,988.00        large public

With the new information, Mindy could approach her college search very differently. Instead of assuming that she had become a hapless victim of the student debt curse, Mindy was able to explore the schools that had offered others like her a lower price.  Because – and this is a critical piece of the puzzle that every student and family needs to remember – the demographics have shifted so that there are fewer and fewer high school graduates every year and colleges now have more seats than there are students to fill them.  As a result, Mindy wasn’t under any kind of time crunch to decide (even though the college letters she had received implied otherwise).  She had plenty of time to shop around and find a price that was a better financial fit.

In the end, Mindy paid thousands of dollars less for college because of the information and context she gleaned from TuitionFit.

Please help spread the word!  The benefits of TuitionFit grow exponentially as more people use it.  If you know of someone who would want to stand up for transparency in college pricing with us – please send them our way. They (or you) can contact me, Mark Salisbury (CEO and co-founder of TuitionFit) at:

email: mark@tuitionfit.org
phone: (563) 293-6941

Now go out there and make it a good day!

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