Affording College

Look Beyond Price, Investigate True Cost, and Choose Value

In these uncertain times, concerns about college affordability have never been more pronounced. People from across the economic spectrum are more worried about how to help their children attain a college experience. At The Sage Colleges, we are committed to supporting sustained affordability:  financial aid is our partnership investment with families in student access and success.

The Myth of Un-Affordability

Now more than ever, it is critical to understand the difference between a college’s price tag and its cost to you.

A college’s price is its stated cost of attendance, its “sticker price.” That is the amount someone pays if they don’t receive financial aid and, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, most students do receive financial aid. At private four-year colleges, 89 percent of students received an average of $16,265, and at public
four-year colleges 76 percent of students received an average of $8,735, according to NCES.

And recently while the PRICE of college has risen by an average of 4.5%, financial aid has risen by 7%.

So most students don’t pay full price; their cost — what the family pays — is substantially lower. And more students receive substantially more financial aid at private colleges than publics.

In fact, most undergraduate students at Sage pay less than they would at a SUNY college!

Rule One: Explore Financial Aid

The majority of financial aid is awarded based on a family’s “need,” which is based on their financial resources. Each family fills out a financial aid form, which estimates what that family can reasonably be expected to pay for a child’s college education that year.

A family’s resources, not any college’s sticker price, determine each family’s cost. That is why we see more students receiving more financial aid from the “expensive” private colleges: They are paying less.

At The Sage Colleges, for example, most students receive financial aid. And well over half the students’ assistance comes in the form of grant aid, thus reducing cost as a barrier to a quality private education.

Rule Two: Understand Value

Value is the relationship between cost and quality. As legendary investor Warren Buffet says, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Value questions to ask NOW:

1 – Can I afford this college?
Sage is affordable and predictable: We meet financial need and have a 0% tuition increase.

2 – Will my professors know me?
At Sage our student-faculty ratio is 12-1.

3 – What about opportunities out of class?
As a small university, Sage offers excellent access to libraries, labs, studios, and athletic facilities. You can get involved freshman year.

4 – Can I graduate in four years?
You can graduate in four years and you can “fast track” to a master’s degree!
And Russell Sage has introduced a three year degree program.

5 – Will I get a job?
98% of Sage grads are employed or in graduate school within months!

Rule Three: Settle for Nothing Less

A college education is an investment in a student’s future. The right college program —not just the right price — is what will make a difference in the long run. Start by finding colleges that are the right match and then investigate the bottom line affordability. Ask questions, you will be glad you did. The most important things are worth finding
a way to do -- and Sage is prepared to help you.