What Counts as a Financial Safety School?


It's important to reach for your dreams when it comes to choosing colleges, but one area in which you can't afford —sometimes literally! — to reach too far is when it comes to the cost of your education. Although you might get into your top choice school despite your academic concerns (maybe you had lower test scores than the school's average or you wanted your GPA to be a little higher), one important question remains: Will you be able to pay that school's tuition?

Just as you should select one or two safety schools in terms of admission requirements, it is also important to select what I call a “financial safety school" — one that's affordable in the event that the more expensive schools you applied to don't provide enough aid for you to attend. To determine your financial safety school, you must find schools where you would be:

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