Paying For College Without Going Broke: 2018 Edition

A college education is a wise investment. College degree-holders on average have greater lifetime earnings, lower unemployment rates, and even longer lives than people with only a high school diploma. But paying for college is tough. The average sticker price (tuition, fees, room and board) at public four-year colleges for 2016-17* was $20,090 (for in-state students)—a 2.7% increase over 2015-16. At private four-year colleges, it was $45,370—a 3.4% increase over 2015-16. For more than 25 years, average college costs have annually risen higher than the rate of inflation. Now more than 60 colleges have a sticker price that’s over $60,000 a year.

Not surprisingly, the need for financial aid (and also the competition for it) is commensurately higher than ever. Among 10,519 college applicants and parents The Princeton Review surveyed** in 2017, 86% said financial aid would be very necessary to them to pay for college. Within that cohort, 62% deemed it extremely necessary. Unfortunately, most students and parents know little about how the aid application process works, how aid awards are determined, or how to maximize their eligibility for aid.

Only one financial aid guide—PAYING FOR COLLEGE WITHOUT GOING BROKE, now out in its 2018 edition (Penguin Random House / Princeton Review Books, $21.99, September 19, 2017)— offers updated guidance on changes in the upcoming year’s FAFSA (the complex 100+ question Free Application for Federal Student Aid form that all aid applicants must submit) along with detailed line-by-line strategies for completing it to one’s maximal advantage as well as the even more complex CSS PROFILE form (which many selective schools require as well). Authored by Kalman A. Chany with Geoff Martz, and with a foreword by former President Bill Clinton, the book also covers how to plan long-term for college costs and find the best education loans. Simply put: it is a guide to paying less for college.

Chany is one of the country’s most widely sourced experts on college funding. An independent financial aid consultant for more than 30 years, he has helped thousands of parents cut tens of thousands of dollars off the cost of their child’s college education. He applies strategic planning techniques used by tax accountants to the world of financial aid. Chany urges parents to become educated consumers and to remember that “the relationship between a parent and the college financial aid office is akin to that between a taxpayer and the IRS.” His recommendations—all legal—take into account year-to-year changes in the formulas and forms used to determine aid awards.

PAYING FOR COLLEGE WITHOUT GOING BROKE is the only annually updated book offering:

  • worksheets to calculate one’s “Expected Family Contribution.” These enable families to get an advance “guestimate” on what the colleges will expect them to ante up. More importantly, Chany points out specific, legal ways to lower that figure and boost aid eligibility.
  • line-by-line strategies for completing the 2018-2019 standardized aid application forms to one’s best advantage. These include the FAFSA and the even more detailed CSS PROFILE application. Sample copies of the FAFSA, plus the federal Stafford and PLUS loan application forms are in the book.
  • updates on education tax breaks and financial aid legislation. Chany explains the pros and cons of 529 plans and other funding options – including the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit and other tax breaks – and how they affect aid eligibility.

Chany also discusses:

  • what the parent and the student should—and shouldn’t—do to get the most aid
  • what single, separated or divorced parents need to know about aid eligibility
  • how to appeal for more aid if the college’s initial offer isn’t enough
  • how to find the best education loans and handle repayment issues

About the Author
Kalman Chany is founder and president of Campus Consultants Inc. a Manhattan-based firm that has guided parents and students through the financial aid process since 1984. He has guested on ABC “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight,” CBS “Evening News,” NBC “Nightly News,” and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation.” He has also authored articles for Parade, and been sourced in publications from Money to The Wall Street Journal.

By Kalman A. Chany with Geoff Martz.
Foreword by former President Bill Clinton 
Penguin Random House / Princeton Review Books
$21.99 (Canada $28.99) • 330 pages • Sept. 19, 2017 • ISBN 978-1-5247-1069-9

*According to the College Board’s 2016 “Trends in College Pricing”
** According to The Princeton Review’s 2017 “College Hopes & Worries” survey