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Mary Piccioli

Sticker Price in a Net Price Calculator World - Monday Musings
As a former financial aid professional I conducted dozens of financial aid nights at local high schools to assist families in completing the FAFSA. I wish I had a nickel for each time I uttered the phrase “don’t rule out a college based on cost alone. You would be surprised at how affordable a private college may be.” One would think that the opportunity to find out an estimated net price, now that colleges and universities are beginning the fourth year of the required net price calculator (NPC), would be enough to cause students and families to do a little more homework before ruling out a school based on cost. Maybe it’s lack of consistency – the fact that there are numerous types of NPCs may turn people off. Some institutions using…Read more

Review of Documentary "Ivory Tower" - Monday Musings
During the Aligning Experts conference in Chicago, a sneak preview was held of the documentary Ivory Tower. A quick-take review concludes that the movie generally sensationalized a number of topics and spent too much time focusing on outlier institutions. Allow me to explain: The opening spent significant time discussing Harvard. The mainstream media love to write and talk about the Ivies; however, that’s not the reality of higher education for 99% of students and families. There was also significant time devoted to Cooper Union and the school’s recent decision to begin charging tuition, which sparked campus protests and the occupation of the president’s office for about 2 months. Again, what percentage of the college-going population…Read more

Distance From Home - Monday Musings
Distance from home. It’s an important part of the college decision-making process for many families. I was reminded of the importance recently when dear friends were visiting campuses with their second oldest. Her older brother attended a college about 7 hours from home. Their third, much younger child named Colin, missed his brother in a big way while he was away at college. When Colin accompanied his sister and family on the college visit circuit, he was worried his sister would also choose a college far from home. He was known to regularly remark after a visit: “Too far, Meg, pick another.” It remains a secret whether or not Meg’s younger brother influenced her college choice, however, she did attend a college less than an hour away. Distance…Read more