Public Colleges: A Low-Cost Option

Paying for College

Public Colleges: A Low-Cost Option

Is it time to ask your college kid to transfer to a less expensive school?

If you're really up against it, you might ask your student to make a last-minute application to a more affordable college. Public schools, especially flagship institutions, have been inundated with applications, but a regional public college or a community college might still have a slot.


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Apply now, but keep talking to the financial-aid office of the first-choice school, advises Barmak Nassirian, of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Pursuing both strategies simultaneously covers your bases.

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If your upperclassman is considering transferring, keep in mind that he or she will likely lose credits in the process. The longer it takes to earn a degree, the more you pay. For their part, colleges have good reason to bump up financial aid to students who would otherwise transfer, says Deborah Fox, a college financial planner in San Diego. "They are very concerned about graduation rates. They don't want to lose a student at the end for financial reasons."