College is expensive, but that's not news to you! In fact, 85 percent of respondents to our College Hopes & Worries survey estimated that their total college cost will be more than $50,000. Unfortunately, you won't know how much financial aid you'll get before you have to choose your prospective schools. One thing you will know is the sticker price (although students rarely pay that exact amount), but that leaves determining what aid package a school will offer to reduce that cost as the $64,000-a-year question.
Just because you're unsure what financial aid number you'll be working with doesn't mean you have to choose your schools blindly, though. There are a few tips I offer to students searching for that best-fit school, including ways to pick colleges with financial aid in mind.