How DecidED looks at affordability for students

  • Updated

There are three levels of college affordability in DecidED: Affordable, Somewhat Affordable, and Not Affordable. The college profile page will show a pie chart with the amount filled in that is covered by a student's free grants and scholarships, and how much of a gap there is left over. It will also be color coded based on the affordability rating. Advisors can see the same affordability ratings that students can see.

Affordable colleges:

We define a college as affordable if students can afford to pay their tuition and housing with a healthy mix of work, loans, and/or family contributions.

  • Taking no more than $5,500 in Federal Loans and 
  • Working 0-10 hours a week while in school.

Somewhat Affordable colleges:

There are some schools that could still be an option for students, but in order to afford them they would need to stretch their work, loans, and family contribution to potentially high amounts. We believe that makes these schools only somewhat affordable if in order to pay for them, students will likely need to break one of our recommendations by:

  • Taking out more than $5,500 in loans
  • And/or working 15-20 hours a week while in school.

Not Affordable colleges: 

We define a college "Not Affordable" if attending that school puts the student in a position where they are going to struggle to cover their college bill and housing even if they are working, have support from family, and are taking out federal and/or private loans. In order to pay for school they might be forced to take actions we don’t recommend, such as:

  • Taking out a risky amount in loans, potentially requiring higher interest Parent PLUS or Private loans 
  • And/or working 20+ hours a week.

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