Submitted by Paul S. Statt

A few simple steps and some tough questions can help families ...
U.S. News & World Report, April 8
"When Joe Paul Case, director of financial aid at Amherst College, helps friends decide which college to choose, he says the first step is to figure out just how much each college is going to cost. So he sits down with all the student's financial aid award letters, a big pad of paper, and a pencil. He draws a grid, writes the name of each school at the top of a column, and then starts to tear his hair out. The very first and most important number-the total cost of a year at the school, including tuition, fees, room, board, books, travel, and other reasonable expenses-is often left off award letters and college websites. Many schools reveal their total costs only upon request, so that their high prices don't scare applicants away. "They don't want to have confrontations with families" about costs but instead want students to get excited and say, "Oh, look how much scholarship there was," Case says."

Amherst College Office of Admission