College affordability is a complex issue determined by tuition, housing costs, financial aid, scholarships and personal financial resources, and whether a college student and their family can afford the costs associated with attending a particular college.
The Zenie Foundation believes that affordability, as defined by us as the capability to completely pay off your college loans plus interest within 10 years of graduation, is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a college. Because of the issue’s importance, ZF curates articles and resources on this topic for you to use to inform yourself further on this important topic.
As mentioned above, ZF's definition of affordability is the capacity to completely pay off your college loans plus interest within 10 years of graduation based on realistic income and living expenses. The choice of school and academic major must be consistent with projected financial resources. There are many affordable paths to excellent educational opportunities and we coach our applicants to understand the potential financial ramifications of their options before making a choice. We are not financial advisors and we do not have all the answers. We share not only our own experiences but also what we have learned from our students and their experiences.
College Affordability Toolkit (Zenie Foundation)
College Affordability Toolkit (CAT) can help guide you in your affordability determination. The culmination of conversations with our students over the years, the CAT is designed to provide a snapshot of your financial situation and the potential impact of your college and career choices. It allows you to test a variety of scenarios and "estimate" the impact. We recommend you save various scenarios to compare.
Please note: this workbook is currently available as an Excel document (best displayed on laptop or desktop computer). Numbers and Google Sheets versions are in development. The CAT is not intended to be used, nor should it be, as the sole decision making tool when making your college choice.
Build Your Own College Rankings (New York Times)
What’s the best way to choose the right college? Most published rankings are one-size-fits-all, based on formulas that don’t factor in a student’s individual priorities, goals and needs.
The New York Times has created a tool to help in the college search that factors in features that ZF finds important such as low net price, earnings potential and low sticker price along with others such as racial diversity, economic mobility, athletics, campus safety etc. and includes filters for location, size and other attributes… Students can use sliders to indicate the importance of each feature. It certainly will expose students to a range of institutions they likely hadn’t considered before.
The main drawback is that the tool cannot be used to search for particular academic programs or majors.
How to Make College More Affordable (Parents Magazine)
College costs can feel insurmountable. The good news is there are many
resources available that can make higher education more accessible for
Money & Finance Check out resources we have developed.