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Nitro Knowledge. Your Guide to Paying for College.


One of the most important parts of choosing a college is figuring out the price tag.

As you've probably realized by now, that's not just a simple tuition number. Adding up costs and subtracting your financial aid offerings are all part of the equation.

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You may have thought your financial aid award letter would answer one burning question: how much does this school cost? But, as you may have noticed, many schools don’t include the cost of tuition in financial aid award letters. 

On top of that, your financial aid allocations can be ... confusing. Can you imagine buying anything else in life without knowing the price, or what kind of discount you might be receiving? Probably not. 

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With summer break right around the corner, you're likely gearing up for part-time work, hanging with friends, and sleeping in. But there are some things you—and your parents—should be getting a jump on now to ease the college application and selection process next year. Here's our month-by-month guide. 

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As a former high school counselor, I can tell you how emotional springtime can be for parents of seniors. If that’s you, know that it’s not uncommon to experience pride, excitement, fear, panic, and utter confusion on a daily basis.

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Are you concerned that your financial aid award doesn't reflect your current financial circumstances? If so, you're not alone. 

If that’s the position you’re in, there is something you can do about it. Let’s look at how to work with your school’s financial aid office, and then discuss the four times you should definitely appeal your financial aid award.

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Most high school counselors recommend that students apply to five to eight colleges. In 2017, US News and World Report found that the average application fee was $43, and the most common fee was $50. So yeah, those costs can add up quickly. 

But there’s good news: you can request application fee waivers if your financial situation meets certain criteria. Your first step is to meet with your high school guidance counselor. 

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