Picking a Financial Safety School (FSS)

  Dave Bergman   Jun 20, 2013   College Search/Knowledge, Costs & Financial Aid   0 Comment

Most college-bound students are aware of the importance of having a “safety school,” an institution where obtaining admission is pretty darn close to a statistical guarantee. However, for anyone without unlimited funds, selecting a “Financial Safety School” may be of equal importance.

No one likes to consider doomsday scenarios, but if you thoughtfully selected an FSS, you can breathe a little easier as you await financial and merit aid notifications from you top-choice schools.

Here’s the bottom line…Unless your parents have handed you a blank check for college, make sure you apply to at least one affordable school  that you can actually envision happily attending for 4 years. Affordable, in this case, means that you/your family have a plan for covering 100% of the total cost, even if no aid whatsoever was granted.

Don’t just pick a random school that happens to be relatively inexpensive to serve as your FSS. Target a school that you would genuinely like to attend, considering for location, availability of majors of interest, extracurricular activities, etc. Your FSS shouldn’t be an afterthought, even if you feel confident it is, in the end, unlikely to be your postsecondary home.

Having your FSS secured allows you to apply away to the pricier schools of your dreams, without fear that you will be left without a viable destination should the aid process not go exactly as planned.

Dave Bergman
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent education consultant. He is a co-author of the book The Enlightened College Applicant: A New Approach to the Search and Admissions Process (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).

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