The New Normal: Cost is the No. 1 factor when choosing a college. Here are tips for families.

Cost is now the No. 1 factor when it comes to choosing a college.
As a new application season gets underway, families are increasingly concerned about the rising price of tuition and whether a four-year degree is worth it.
News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen was joined by Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's editor-in-chief and author of "The Best 388 Colleges," to talk about financial aid, internships and top tips for students going into college.
Franek says that it's never too early to start discussing college. Parents and students should look into the academic, campus culture, financial and career services fit.
We have some great schools in the tri state. The schools below are in The Princeton Review book:
Columbia University (New York) - Great Financial Aid (No. 20)
Marist College (Poughkeepsie) - Best College Dorms (No.10)
Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville) - Most Politically Active Students (No. 8)
Drew University (Madison) - Best College Theater (No. 10)
Princeton University (Princeton) - Students Study the Most (No.18)
Seton Hall University (South Orange) - Best College Radio Station (No. 11)
Fairfield University (Fairfield) - Best-Run Colleges (No. 23)
U.S. Coast Guard Academy (New London) - Most Accessible Professors (No. 14)
Wesleyan University (Middletown) - Green Matters: Everyone Cares About Conservation (No. 25)
For the 2021-2022 academic year, annual tuition and fees plus room and board at in-state public institutions averaged $22,690, while at four-year private universities, it reached $51,690 on average, according to the College Board. This year, some colleges are hiking tuition as much as 5%, citing inflation and other concerns.
The Princeton Review ranked colleges by how much financial aid is awarded and how satisfied students are with their packages. The Princeton Review's "Best Colleges for 2023" report is based on data collected from 160,000 student surveys.
In the tri-state, there are three tuition-free schools: Webb Institute in Glen Cove, the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. Cooper Union in Manhattan gives all students needing financial aid half-scholarships.