3. The Colleges with the Best Financial Aid

Higher education in America is a big business. The college is trying to get you to pay the most money: you are trying to pay the least amount. It can be very costly to assume that the college is going to show you how to get the most aid.

—Kalman A. Chany, financial aid consultant and author of Paying for College Without Going Broke

An easy way to get a sense of whether a school is going to be generous to families who require financial aid is to look at the institution’s US News & World Report rankings.

I’m not kidding. High rankings and gold-plated financial aid practices are the higher-ed industry’s equivalent of pancakes and syrup. You won’t find one without the other nearby. The schools at or near ...

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