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6 ways parents can cut college costs

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3. Look at graduation rate data

Parents are often amazed to learn that of the 2 million students who begin at four-year colleges every year, 800,000, or 40 percent, will never graduate. 

In controlling for cost and risk, the most important thing you can do is to choose a university that supports students' success and enables them to graduate.

Continuing with the previous example, you're surprised to learn that College A's graduation rate is significantly lower than College B's, although they are about equally competitive.

You're now getting a picture of College A and College B that goes beyond what you see in a campus visit and enables you to ask deeper questions about the student experience at each university.

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