9 Financial Aid Questions and Answers

This post is for current and future college students. It attempts to provide answers for questions that impact each and every undergraduate student seeking assistance with financing their college education.

  1. Can I know exactly how much a college education will cost before the freshman year?

Unfortunately as much as we’d like to know and be able to plan for college costs, until one completes college, one doesn’t really know how much a college will cost. Here are some reasons why one cannot know the entire cost of college on the front end.

First, financial aid eligibility. Need and/or merit based grants come with financial and/or academic requirements. If one does not meet those financial and/or academic requirements eligibility for these grants can be lost. Losing a grant means that students and/or parents need to come up with a way to cover college costs.

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9 Strategies to Ensure Successful Transfer from Community College to University

Starting at the community college and transferring to the university to complete a college degree provides several benefits, including:

• Lower overall college costs – tuition and fees are lower at the community college and community colleges are unlikely to have living on campus requirements.
• Skipping standardized testing (SAT/ACT)
• Earning a credential along the way – the Associate of Arts (AA) degree.

This post provides actionable information to ensure that the maximum number of credits transfer from community college to university. Continue reading “9 Strategies to Ensure Successful Transfer from Community College to University”

Institutional Accreditation Agencies

Accreditation agencies function under the purview of the United States Department of Education (USDOE) and ensure that certain standards are met by universities and colleges. There are two types of accreditation (1) institutional and (2) programmatic/discipline specific.

Institutional accreditation can be national or regional. Institutional accreditation is not compulsory; but institutions that don’t have it cannot access financial aid funds (Pell grants, federal loans, etc). Continue reading “Institutional Accreditation Agencies”

5 Reasons Why the Majority of Students Need More Than 4 Years to Graduate College

One of the greatest contemporary myths is that college is a 4-year experience. However, only about 19-36% of the students graduate college in 4-years. The problem is that every extra year spent in college after the 4-year mark can cost a student up to $65,000 in immediate expenses (cost of attendance and foregone income) as well as up to $150,000 over the course of a lifetime. This post focuses on five reasons why most students need more than 4-years to complete a college degree.

Remedial Education Courses. According to a recent report about 26 percent of high school graduates met all college readiness benchmarks. Continue reading “5 Reasons Why the Majority of Students Need More Than 4 Years to Graduate College”

7 Reasons Why College Credits Don’t Transfer


College transfer can provide significant benefits when done well. However, when left to chance it can be fraught with problems. Today we discuss some of the issues related to college transfer and some of the most common reasons why credits don’t transfer from one institution to another.

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The full list of public, private not-for-profit, and private for-profit institutions in the US

The full list of public, private not-for-profit, and private for-profit 2- year and 4-year institutions in the US


Data Source: IPEDS 2016

Reverse College Transfer


The third type of transfer is the reverse transfer. Reverse college transfer is defined as transferring from a university or 4-year institution to a community college or 2-year institution.

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Horizontal or Lateral College Transfer

Horizontal or lateral transfer refers to transferring credits between two similar institutions from one college to another college (2 –year to a 2–year institution) or from one university to another university (4–year to a 4–year institution). Please keep in mind that transferring credits between two institutions with different type of control (public or private) and accreditation (regional or national) can be difficult.

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Vertical College Transfer – From Community College to University


Credit transfer between a college (2-year institution) and a university (4-year institution) is referred to as vertical transfer. Credit transfer between community college and university is one of the most common types of credit transfer and one of the most efficient ones. It is the most common one because most articulation or institutional transfer agreements cover it. It is efficient because credit loss is minimal during the transfer process. Continue reading “Vertical College Transfer – From Community College to University”

Types of College Credit Transfer

Photo source: Jenkins & Fink, 2015

Out of the students that start at a community college, 80 percent intend to transfer to a 4-year institution and complete a baccalaureate degree. Of the 80 percent, 25 percent do it, and only 17% graduate with a bachelor degree six years later.

The goal of this post is to provide a brief overview of the existing types of college credit transfer. Each type described below is covered in more depth in its own post. Continue reading “Types of College Credit Transfer”