#099 – Navigating College Financial Decisions: An Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Ron Lieber

Vicki and Lynn spent this episode in conversation with Ron Lieber author of The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make. Ron helped us unpack how complicated the financial aid system is and how crucial it is to understand how it works. The Price You Pay for College examines how our feelings and our ideas about success affect the choices we make about what we are willing to pay for college. Ron also shared information about his new course for families that helps them understand and navigate college Merit Aid.

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We were honored today to be joined by Ron Lieber, personal finance columnist for The New York Times and author of The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make. Ron shared information in this episode that will make a difference in how families make decisions about college financing. He told us what surprised him as he researched this book, how to look at financial aid as a marketplace, when to start having money conversations with your student, and he helped us unpack some of the “secrets” of Merit Aid.

We often think of college finances being mostly about the numbers, but one of the ideas that Ron shared was the impact that emotions and values affects the financial decisions we make about college. Getting in touch with your feelings about paying is a difficult task, but can make the difference. He recommends working with someone (a partner or good friend) who is willing to ask you some “difficult, inconvenient questions.”

By the end of this episode you’ll have a much better understanding of how the financial aid system works – for colleges and for parents. You’ll be in a better position to ask the right questions of the right people and navigate your way through this mysterious subject.

“I always want my customers, I want my readers, in the New York Times, I want my readers of my books, and I want the people who take my Merit Aid course, to be customers of below average profitability for any company or institution that they are dealing with. That’s what I was put on the earth to do.” 

Ron’s book and his new Merit Aid course can help you, as consumer, accomplish this goal.

If you’d like to read Ron’s book (and you should) you can find it here. The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make.

Find out more about Ron’s new Merit Aid course at meritaidcourse.com and find out more about Ron Lieber and his other books at ronlieber.com

We also asked Ron whether there were any additional books that he would recommend to families as they navigate the admission and financial aid process.

Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions by Jeffrey Selingo. (Find out more in our review of the book.)

The Black Family’s Guide to College Admission: A Conversation About Education, Parenting and Race by Timothy L. Fields

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni

The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way Into Elite Colleges – And Who Gets Left Outside the Gates by Dan Golden

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott Haims (Find out more in our review of the book.)

Don’t forget that you can listen to all of our previous podcast episodes here or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also go to followthepodcast.com/collegeparentcentral to add our podcast (it’s free!) so that you’ll receive each new episode as we release it.

Let us know what you’d like to hear about on future podcasts! Leave a comment below or email us at podcast@collegeparentcentral.com.

And finally, a request for your help. Podcast ratings and reviews are important to help our podcast become visible to more people who might want or need the information we share. We’ve made it even easier for you to leave us a review! Simply go to lovethepodcast.com/collegeparentcentral and leave us rating or review. We appreciate it – and so will the people who will find it easier to find us.

Note: Some links in our post are for affiliate products. If you use our links, College Parent Central receives a small percentage of your purchase price. This does not change the cost to you.  We think it’s only fair to let you know that.

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