Archive for July, 2010

What’s In a Name?


When we started White Picket College a few months ago, one of our big goals was to help upper middle class (UMC) parents and students find college scholarship money for Ivy League schools.  But now that we’ve heard back from many frustrated UMC parents, we may be changing our game plan a bit.

Firstly, it’s time to analyze, what’s in a name?  Really, what does an Ivy League name say to people?  Let’s face the facts, saying you went to Harvard will impress friends, family, colleagues and those you meet at random parties.  But what about the value of education at a particular Ivy League institution, and what about other institutions that rank higher than the Ivies, such as Stanford and MIT that aren’t Ivies?

I’ll share my personal experience with everyone.  I went to a prestigious undergraduate school and another equally prestigious school for my Master’s degree.  In between, I took a couple graduate classes at Harvard.  They were good.  I learned a good amount.  The professors were good, including one I still stay in touch with from time to time.  I believe he wrote me a recommendation for my Master’s if I’m not mistaken.  I was happy with the overall experience.

However, to this day, I will tell anyone who asks my prestigious undergraduate school was much more challenging than Harvard.  The professors were much tougher–they demanded and expected more.  The assignments were more challenging as well.

In comparison to the school where I received my Master’s, Harvard was about equal.

I spent a lot of money on two classes at Harvard, and quite frankly, I really wasn’t blown away.  Was I satisfied?  Yes.  Could I have gone to Boston University, Boston College or Wellesley College for half the price and received an identical or better experience?  Yes.

The reason I’m telling you this is not to put down Harvard.  It is a good institution, but I’m not sure if it’s the best.  And I’m certainly not sure it’s the best value for a challenging education.  And that includes the entire Ivy League.

We’ve also heard responses from frustrated parents telling us that Harvard is unwilling to give UMC admitted applicants any money.  We’ve heard this complaint a lot,  since April 2010.  One parent even reported the financial aid officer at Harvard flat-out said they only give merit scholarships or college grant money to low-income students or lower income middle class students–and charge everyone else full price.  So, the intelligent and gifted UMC students are left behind, and must choose their second or third choice college.

The main problem with this is Harvard’s competitiveness will eventually fall.  If the school accepts high-achieving low income to middle class income students, that’s fine.  But then you mix this small number of students with upper class students who are not as talented or as gifted, the school will eventually began to decline in the rankings.

This is why I believe that second and third choice schools may start to become first choice schools over the next ten years.  There’s a reason why state schools are now graduating some of the smartest kids in the nation.  There’s a reason why schools like Swarthmore and Rice University are on the best value colleges list.

The bottom line is schools that do not give substantial college financial aid to UMC students are missing out on a huge pool of gifted young men and women.  These young adults are the future, and will become the next leaders in the US.  We need these graduates to compete against China, Russia, India and other world leaders … but the great thing is they don’t need a Harvard degree to do this.

Keep watching and listening.  You will see the state schools getting extremely competitive.  And you will see those second and third choice schools pumping out the leaders for future generations to come.

~ the WPC team

© White Picket College, 2010 – College Funding for the Upper Middle Class

Best Non-Need Based Colleges List


July 12, 2010:  Sometimes you come across a rare gem, and here at White Picket College, we present that gem to you.  We found a highly coveted list that we’re sure you’ll appreciate.  Do yourself a favor and print out this list of schools so you can read it on the beach this summer, poolside or in the comfort of your air-conditioned home.

Please click on the below link to find a list of:

Best Colleges 2010 for Non-Need Based Financial Aid

On this list, you will find the top 100 schools that give out merit scholarships as educational financial aid to their students.  In the right hand column, you will see the percentage of students who receive non-need based aid at that particular college.  Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan comes in first, since they give 100 percent of merit aid.  Well-done, Finlandia.

Some prestigious colleges that stand out on the list are Cooper Union, University of Colorado, Seton Hall University, University of Florida, Tulane University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Southern Methodist University, Baylor University and University of Rochester.  So definitely check out these colleges.

It’s not all gloom and doom here at White Picket College.  Great colleges can offer great financial aid packages for the upper middle class (UMC).  You just have to find out where to look.

Many thanks to U.S. News & World Report for providing such a great list.

~ the WPC team

© White Picket College, 2010

How to Pay for College in a Recession


Week of July 5, 2010:  We wanted to bring you some good news this week.  Some good news about college financial aid.  We searched long and hard, and finally came across a great article by famed educational financial aid writer Kim Clark.  We’ve seen Clark’s name everywhere in highly reputable newspapers and magazines, so we know she’s the real deal.

It’s no fun hearing the word “recession” over and over.  We know you’re sick of it (we certainly are), but there’s no denying the facts.  We’re in a recession, and most of you reading this blog post have to pay for college.  So we bring you some great news this week.  Click on the article name to read Clark’s article:

The 4 Rules of Paying for College in a Recession

We’re happy to report that Clark provides the same suggestions as White Picket College.  We also discuss:

Grades Matter

FAFSA Deadline for Fall 2010

As you’re enjoying the stifling heat (104 degrees in NYC!) and relaxing at the beach this summer, make sure to review the above articles so you’re prepared for the fall.  Even in a recession such as this, there are ways to prepare yourself and your family to pay for college.  Be certain to review White Picket College and the other reputable websites we recommend to find the best and most up-to-date information about how to pay for college in a recession.

~ the WPC team

© White Picket College, 2010