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Middle-class families can afford college. Here’s how.

"They do have the money; it's just in the wrong places," says college financial specialist, Andrew Hathaway, on middle-class families putting kids through college. Read how college name brand affects employability, Andrew's future outlook on financial aid awards, and how rearranging assets can turn a family's financial profile upside down.

Dear Socrates


Dear Socrates


The Skinny

HS students get college help from an AI chatbot

  • Which university just released to public its internal database of 3k remote jobs? Ka-ching!
  • Take a breather; sip a piña colada. This tropical island has extended app deadlines for its 7 college campuses.
  • Want to get college advice on your phone from a robot? This state offers students this service.


Financial aid officers won’t help you, says college funding expert

“Things moms and dads say: ‘We didn’t realize it was so expensive,’ or ‘We thought scholarships would be more generous,'” college funding specialist Andrew Hathaway says. “It was too late… You’ve already dipped into your IRAs, or you took a HELOC on your house.” Andrew shares the truth behind 529 plans, and why asking financial aid counselors for help is like asking the IRS for tax loopholes.

How NOT to appeal for financial aid

“‘X school gave me this amount of money. What are you going to do?’ is the absolute wrong approach,” says Leah Young, Dickinson College’s Director of Financial Aid, about appeals for more aid. Our aid insider shares why families with assets qualify for more aid than they think, how the CSS Profile lowers admissions chances if you’re high-need, special aid considerations for divorced parents, and how Dickinson’s financial aid policy can benefit international more than domestic students.

From a financial aid director: How retirement funds, home equity, and cars matter

“If you have a 2020 BMW and $10,000 a year in income, we’re going to wonder what else is going on,” says Dickinson College’s Director of Financial Aid, Leah Young. Our money expert answers reader questions: How do assets work for and against your child’s aid award? How do schools judge retirement funds, home equity, even the cars? Leah busts FAFSA myths, warns readers of aid misconceptions, and reveals little-known ways colleges determine aid, especially during Covid.


The Skinny

Move over, student loans. Grants only here.

  • A selective college voted to replace all student loans with grants a.k.a. free money. Which one?
  • This top ten liberal arts college’s acceptance rate shot up from 15% to 24%. Where is it?
  • Online college doesn’t feel like the college we’re used to. Here’s a solution from a group of Carnegie Mellon students.

A top “public Ivy” sees record ED/EA apps despite Covid

  • Want to send your kid to Harvard debt-free? Here’s how much you need to save each month in your 529 plan.
  • This “public Ivy” received a record number of Early Decision apps this year — despite Covid’s uncertainties. Which one?
  • Cash, card, check, or…coconut? This university will now accept the tropical fruit as a form of tuition payment.

Grads from this college earn on avg. $64k starting

  • This STEM school boasts a $64k starting salary and high ROI. Apply for free this year. Where is it?
  • After hundreds of layoffs, this top 10 college now has a budget surplus. Which school?
  • This “public Ivy” will now have to defend its possibly discriminatory admissions practice. Which one?

Apply to college for free before Nov. 3

  • Want to apply to college for free? This university is waiving all application fees until Nov. 3. Which one?
  • This top 10 university will allow all undergrads on campus come January. Which campus?
  • Want to know who’s eco-friendly? This top East Coast college will power 2/3 of campus using solar energy.