Looking for Safety Schools? Think About Cost

We’ve all heard the term “safety school.” The idea is that you want a mix of schools on your college list: a couple that would be tough for you to get into, most that seem like a good fit – and then a couple that are “safe.” You are confident that you will get in.

Good strategy. But how many of your schools will be financially safe for you? It is important to think about this as well. Here’s our advice and a video to get you started.


Think About Safety Differently

First, the term “safety school” is a bit dated. In this day and age, it can be hard to tell which schools you will get into and which schools are more competitive than you expected. Your first goal is to find schools that seem to be a good fit for your academic abilities and interests.

Then take a second look. Are there schools on this list that are truly affordable?

This can be a bit tricky to know. Many expensive schools may give you grants and scholarships that will bring down their cost substantially. And many lower-cost public schools may not give you any help at all.

Two strategies to use:

  • Compile a list with a variety of schools – public and private – that are a good fit.
  • Include at least two or three schools within your reach that you like and that you are sure you can afford.


What Are Financially Safe Schools?

It depends on your circumstances and preferences. City and state colleges will likely offer manageable tuition to local residents – and there may be scholarships you qualify for on top of that. And there are private schools that may be particularly eager to recruit you if you have special academic, artistic, or athletic talents.

Looking for good advice and a strategy? College Money Matters and TuitionFit.org teamed up last month to provide families with a game plan to help you compile your list and figure out which schools are “financially smart from the start.” This one-hour webinar will help you find some great schools at a good price.

Also, be sure to check out a few of our favorite articles below. Get tips on compiling your college list, along with some of our favorite mavens to follow on social media.



Video Show Notes

College Money Matters
Where You Apply Matters: Six Ways to be Financially Smart from the Start


Why Paying for College is Different from Other Things We Buy (Minute 2:09)

What is Financial Aid? (Minute 12:06 )

Have the Money Conversation Early (Minute 15:27)

College Types and Relative Costs (Minute 17:11)

Scholarships: How, Where, and When to Apply (Minute 22:54)

Figuring Out Which Colleges May Be Within Your Budget (Minute 28:30)


How TikTok Can Help You Create Your College List

Creating Your College List? Many Colleges Offer Big Discounts

Sticker vs. Net Price: Finding Colleges You Can Afford