The College Solutions Blog

Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.

College Costs
Featured image for “Finding colleges offering big scholarships”
April 21, 2021

Finding colleges offering big scholarships

It’s late in the college admission season, but schools are still giving out college scholarships to those who know where to look. The pandemic caused many colleges to provide better scholarships than they would have liked. And actually, some schools, long before the pandemic hit, were giving out large merit scholarships. I wrote about one aspect of this phenomenon earlier...
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Featured image for “Use this Valuable College Admission Checklist”
December 8, 2020

Use this Valuable College Admission Checklist

Using  a college admission checklist is critical when your child is applying to colleges and universities. Allowing  a teenager to apply to any colleges without a solid game plan can be a financial and academic disaster. In fact, ignoring advance planning is one reason why ONE OUT OF THREE students who start at four-year public and private colleges and universities...
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Featured image for “During a pandemic, getting more money from a college”
June 8, 2020

During a pandemic, getting more money from a college

During the COVID-19 pandemic, plenty of colleges are worried about not only attracting enough freshmen for this fall, but also for the 2021-2022 college admission season. Many colleges have made the calculation that it’s better to pay too much to attract a new student than to lose that prospect – and the revenue he or she generates – all together....
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Featured image for “Tackling common college questions during COVID-19”
April 8, 2020

Tackling common college questions during COVID-19

This is an incredibly stressful time for families who have to navigate college admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a practical matter, this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime experience has generated a great deal of college questions from anxious students, parents, educational consultants and high school counselors. Some answers are known. We know, for instance, that the Advanced Placement tests, with a radically...
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Featured image for “Capturing a 529 tax break in just 24 hours”
March 2, 2020

Capturing a 529 tax break in just 24 hours

Here’s a super quick way to cut your college costs:  Deposit money into a 529 account for  just 24 hours. After putting money into a 529 account, you can quickly turn around and withdraw the cash to pay for your child’s college tuition and other qualified expenses. In most states, you can claim a state tax deduction – or even...
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Featured image for “Why you need to use college net price calculators”
February 14, 2020

Why you need to use college net price calculators

Before you let your teenager apply to colleges, you need to use each college’s net price calculator. Unless money is no object and you can afford to pay full price for any colleges, turning to net price calculators is critical. If you don’t know what these calculators are – and most parents don’t – here are 10 things you need...
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Featured image for “Evaluating a Financial Aid Letter: What’s Usually Missing”
January 13, 2020

Evaluating a Financial Aid Letter: What’s Usually Missing

Financial aid awards are often confusing. Plenty of colleges and universities intentionally make financial aid awards hard to decipher to trick families into thinking that their institutions are being generous even when they aren’t. Obfuscation is an effective way to keep parents from effectively evaluating a financial aid award. Since we are in the season of financial aid letters, I...
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August 16, 2019

Saying No to a Dream College: A Success Story

Should you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to send your child to his or her dream college? My answer to that dream college question has always been a resounding NO! Some of the universities that U.S. News & World Report loves to gush over now cost $300,000 or higher. And that’s for a SINGLE bachelor’s degree. If you’re really...
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Featured image for “Elite Colleges, Entitled Teens and Guilted Parents”
April 6, 2019

Elite Colleges, Entitled Teens and Guilted Parents

The college admission season is winding down at this time of year except for this part: Parents are stressing about how they’re going to pay for the college that their children want to attend. Spring is when I hear from parents who are being guilted by their children to spend dangerously more than they should for a brand name research...
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Featured image for “Expected Family Contribution: 10 Things to Know”
August 9, 2018

Expected Family Contribution: 10 Things to Know

One of the biggest questions that parents with college-bound children puzzle with is if their child has a chance for financial aid. This is more confusing than you might think because at some schools a family could qualify for need-based aid if they make $200,000 a year and at another school, the ceiling for aid could be $70,000 or much...
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