Students find deals at private colleges; Cleveland student with good grades going to Oberlin College

CLEVELAND - It could be one of the best kept secrets from parents: You don't have to be rich to send your kids to an expensive, private college.

In fact, sometimes private colleges are more affordable than public colleges and universities, for the right student.

"Almost all of the elite, private colleges have tremendous amounts of money specifically for students from low income, diverse populations, first-generation college-goers, but with very high academic potential," said Lee Friedman, CEO of College Now.

College Now is a college access organization that helps students find the dollars they need for college.  For example, Cleveland Metropolitan School District graduate Hassan Khaled found that he could attend Oberlin College for about $900 a semester. The sticker price at Oberlin is $57,000.

Khaled is the kind of student colleges are seeking out. He received numerous honors for academic achievement at John Hay Early College High School, and he was salutatorian of his graduating class.

"I had good grades, so they pretty much gave me a full ride," Khaled said.

[WEB EXTRA: Advice from Annette Pinkard, Hassan Khaled's mother, on things parents can do to help students achieve academic success.]

Parents can get an idea of how much a college or university will cost after grants and scholarships are applied by using the net price calculator found on college websites. In some cases, the net price of a private college is almost equal to that of a state school. 

"Some of the state schools also provide aid, but their ability to do it because they have thousands and thousands of students, they don't have as much per student to offer," Friedman said.

However, for many students, state schools are still the best deal.

"The number of schools that are able to give deep dollars, private schools, it's still relatively a small number across all of the institutions in America," Friedman said. "And so state schools are still sometimes the very best deal. It's really a question of matching the individual student's profile with the best fit for that student ."

For more information on College Now, go to http://www.collegenowgc.org/ or call 216-241-5587.

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