I get excited every year in March with the onset of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I love it when Dick Vitale loses his voice on the first day of the tournament. I love the way the game times are staggered, beginning at noon on Thursday, so that we can view the endings of each contest without missing any excitement. And I absolutely love it when Cinderella makes her guest appearance last well into the later rounds.
I’m a big college basketball fan, but I cannot possibly keep track of all these teams. Like most people, I have no clue who will win between Cincinnati and Texas, or Purdue vs. St. Mary’s. Even the so-called experts get many of the games wildly wrong.
That’s why I’m proud to release my 5th Annual University Generosity Bracketology, where the winner is the school with the best ‘tuition discounting’ policies and graduation rates. If your college basketball knowledge is somewhat limited, and choosing a winning team (or the right college, for that matter) based on its mascot or its weather seems trivial, here’s an alternative approach. It may not be a formula for bracket success at the office, but it’s certainly a solid strategy when researching colleges with your child…and it’s a creative way to discern between two teams you have absolutely no clue about. As a side benefit, you may actually sound intelligent (from a non-basketball standpoint) when explaining your reasoning to your colleagues.
This year, Loyola (MD) is my favorite dark horse. The Greyhounds (great name for an underdog!), seeded 15th in the East, are making their first NCAA appearance since 1994, having won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. They face a perennial powerhouse and number 2 seed Ohio State in the first round. Most give Loyola absolutely no chance to win this game. But off the court, Loyola students are big winners because the school, beautifully situated in suburban Baltimore and offering great programs in business and communications, meets 100% of demonstrated need, 72% of which is grants and scholarships (read: Cash Money). Ohio State cannot touch that, meeting only 59% of need.
Last year I suggested taking Bucknell over UConn in the first round because Bucknell is a more generous school, meeting 95% need. UConn then went on to win the National Championship. So much for my basketball predictions (Ohio State fans, including President Obama, are now drooling).
If you are the parent of a high school student, you need to understand the concept of University Generosity. Because when March Madness ends, college bills begin. Come April, parents of 12th graders will start to receive financial aid offers. Some will be happy. Others, not so much. If you are a 12th grade parent, I hope you will be happy.
For those with underclassmen, the time to learn how colleges ‘set’ and ‘discount’ their prices, and to take action on a college plan is now, well before your child’s 12th grade year. I’m starting to see more families with younger children in 8th, 9th, and 10th grade get started on a college plan for all of their children. They’re smart to start early. Not only do they find that they have more options, but also their decisions are made with less pressure, less panic, and with better results. Five figure results.
I’m holding a workshop next Wednesday, March 21 in Weston, where I’ll discuss University Generosity and How to Pay for College in Today’s Economy. There is no cost to attend, but missing this info could be very expensive. I invite you to attend. Click here to register – you’ll be doing yourself, your student and your family a huge favor.
Dedicated to Cinderella and Buzzer Beaters,