Seniors- The college application season is winding down yet don’t forget to consider investment value as you finalize your college list. Yes, this is a message that I repeat over and over. With the cost of tuition and the level of student debt at all time highs, college applicants can’t afford to be careless about the investment return of their education. I can’t stress this enough. Many factors should contribute to the “right fit” including financial criteria. How to evaluate value? Go to sites such as www.collegedata.com and learn about how generous schools are with scholarships, financial and merit aid. Take a look at the average student debt after graduation. Combine this info with the strength of a school’s academic reputation such as selectivity levels, student-faculty collaboration, retention/graduation rates and the not to be forgotten, job placement. Another great resource: Kiplinger and its recently released 2011-2012 list of best value liberal arts colleges, private universities and public colleges/universities.http://www.kiplinger.com/reports/best-college-values/.

With my current college visits on the radar, University of Nebraska-Lincoln is ranked #67 for a Best Value Public College, as reported by Kiplinger. And, see below stats on how generous Nebraska was toward the recent freshman class, as reported by CollegeData.

Quick Value Facts
•More than $5.2 million in scholarships are awarded to freshman students every year.
•77% of UNL’s new freshmen receive scholarships and/or gift aid toward payment of their tuition.
•35% of full-time UNL students receive financial gift aid equal to or greater than the cost of tuition.
•49% of new freshmen in 2010-2011 received a scholarship from the University (excluding athletic, ROTC and outside scholarships).
•Nearly all are awarded on a rolling basis (periodically as students are admitted)

Repeat after me, “My final college list reflects investment value”.

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