The bottom line on college tuition is that there is no bottom line.

At most four-year institutions, admitted students are quoted all sorts of different prices. Often masquerading as “merit aid” or “scholarships,” the discounts are aimed at persuading students to attend, much like online retailers dangle coupons to persuade you to purchase the items in your shopping cart.

The college coupons are a lot larger than what you might get at Target –  sometimes knocking off $30,000 or more from the published “sticker” price. The discounts are tailored by commercial algorithms that use each prospective family’s circumstances to find the right number that will tempt a student to enroll. That’s why college students on today’s campuses are paying different prices for their degrees, just like we pay different prices for our airplane seats.

Tuition discounts have been escalating in recent years, according to Department of Education data released in July 2023.  More students are getting even more money knocked off their college bills. At the same time, colleges are distributing these tuition discounts unequally. White and Asian students were much more likely to receive this institutional aid than Black and Hispanic students, the data shows.

At private, nonprofit colleges and universities, where discounting is most prevalent, a whopping 57 percent of undergraduates received institutional aid in 2019-20, unchanged from the previous financial aid survey data in 2015-16. But the average tuition discount that each student received grew to $20,800 from $16,200 during this time period. At public four-year institutions, more than a third of all undergraduate students received institutional aid in 2019, up 3 percentage points from 30 percent in 2015. And the average discount grew to $5,200 from $4,900…CLICK TO READ MORE

Story Author: JILL BARSHAY

This story about tuition discounts was written by Jill Barshay and produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for Proof Points and other Hechinger newsletters.

We‘ve helped people just like you achieve peace of mind and a financial plan…

We’re Going To College!

”When it came time for my daughter to attend college it was a frightening time for us as parents.

Thank GOD we came in contact with Lea. She gave us so much comfort knowing she would do everything in her power to get us as a family in a positive position where my daughter would get as much financial help as possible and still be able for us as parents to afford college.

We are so happy with Lea, that we have our second daughter that will start college next year and we are working with Lea once again.

Lea would always answer her phone and always responded quickly to all concerns throughout the process and then after.

If you’re considering joining a college preparation company, it’s one of the most important choices you will make, you will be in safe hands with Lea…”

Oscar S.
Proud parent of a USC student and future freshman in college

We Could Not Be Happier!

I am so pleased that I was able to work with Lea as we prepared for my daughter to select and go to college. I definitely needed the support, guidance and assistance and that is what I received; actually, I am still depending on it!

Lea and her team have always been available for my many calls and questions. She has been patient and was able to meet me and my daughter’s individual needs. My daughter is now a sophomore at a small private college for the same cost as an in-state public college cost after the financial assistance we received.

She could not be happier with her college choice, it was exactly what she wanted; rigorous curriculum with a supportive community in a beautiful setting-and I’m so happy that after the grants and scholarships we received that I’m able to send her there.

Evelyn A.
Proud parent of a Reed College student

Today a 4-year undergraduate costs range from 100k to over 300k- that’s Cost of Attendance x 4 years, before any financial assistance, depending on what colleges your student is considering.  Many parents, just like you, are wondering how are we going to afford this and retire? Some families even have more than one child they wish to send to college!  Where and how do you even begin to financially plan for this?  This is where our team can help!

We believe that college planning is truly a partnership between students and parents.  Students should choose colleges to apply to that make sense for them academically and socially, AND also make sense for their parents financially.  With our guidance, knowledge, and resources, we can certainly make this partnership work and help families through this challenging and stressful process and hopefully turn it into an exciting experience!

Start your planning today and request to attend one of our free college planning webinars!


Complete the form below and we will contact you shortly. For faster service, please call 949.420.4509

By providing your phone number, you agree to receive informational, reply, reminder, confirmation text messages. Please note message and data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. You may opt out of receiving text SMS at any time by replying STOP.