Beth Pinsker: $90,000 for a year of college? Big data may help you pay less.

by | Oct 20, 2023 | Stock Market

In my day, applying to college meant thumbing through a big paperback encyclopedia of college listings and then pulling out the typewriter and filling in applications. Thirty-some years later as my kid prepares to apply, I need a spreadsheet and access to reams of data that I’m not sure how to process. 

I’ve tried doing it the old-fashioned way, by searching through the websites of all the schools my high-school senior is interested in applying to. For each school, you need to find the common data set, a multipage PDF that lists seemingly unrelated stats. Then you need to run the net-price calculator, which attempts to give you a price tag based on the financial information you input. Then you put everything together to try to get some sense of your kid’s chances of getting in and what it might cost you so you can compare the schools to each other.  Of course, there’s an app for that. Well, not so much one app, but several different programs that purport to sort college data in a useful way — some of them free, some by subscriptio …

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