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September 28, 2016

The British publication Times Higher Education (THE) ranks the world’s universities by their reputations and the impact of their research. We checked to see which of the top American research universities on its recently released list also provide high-quality and affordable educations to their undergraduates.

Turns out there are some surprising bargains. UCLA, for example, ranks in the top 20 of both the THE research and MONEY’s value rankings. More than half of the students at UCLA receive financial aid. The average net price paid by in-staters who receive aid at UCLA is less than $14,000 a year. And while it is selective, you’ve got a better shot there than at, say CalTech, ranked by THE as the No. 2 university in the world, where half the students got perfect math test scores. The typical admitted student at UCLA scored a 31 on the ACT, putting him or her in the top 4% nationally.

Best wishes,

Money-Saving Advice for College Parents and Students

Get ready to FAFSA!
If you’re the parent of a high school senior, you can start filling out the federal aid application as early as Oct. 1 this year to get a better sense of how much financial aid you’ll be getting. Here’s everything you’ll need for the FAFSA. MONEY

How to write an admissions essay without sounding like a braggart
Great advice from essay coach Stacey Brook. MONEY

Never fear: Your kid will get in somewhere
A new survey of college admissions officers found that more than 60% of them didn’t enroll as many students as they had hoped for last year, which means there are plenty of colleges eager for your student. That’s partly due to a decline in the number of 18-year-olds in the U.S. But it’s also because families are becoming smarter consumers and demanding lower costs and higher value from their colleges. So many of the colleges with openings are expensive or don’t have great reputations. Inside Higher Ed

Did you hear the one about the comedian who majored in business?
An improv comedian explains how getting a bachelor’s in business made him funnier—and helped him make a good living in a notoriously tough line of work. MONEY

How to teach your kids to be financially smart
These three life skills can make all the difference. MONEY

This Week's Deadlines and Scholarships

Featured Scholarship
The Coca-Cola Foundation each year awards 150 students scholarships of $20,000 ($5,000 a year for four years). The competition is stiff because this is one of the most prestigious and lucrative national contests. You’ll need a GPA of at least 3.0 and to have been active in volunteer or other extracurricular activities. Deadline is Oct. 31. More information 

Bonus scholarship
Eagle Scouts can compete for 200 different scholarships—some for more than $10,000 a year for four years. The application deadline is Oct. 31. More information

Important upcoming deadlines
Sept. 30 is the last day you can register late for the Oct. 22 sitting of the ACTs.

Oct. 1 will be the opening date of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If your student is a high school senior, you can—but don’t have to—start filling out the FAFSA as early as Oct. 1. The earlier you file it, the sooner you’ll find out how much federal aid you’ll qualify for.

Oct. 1 is a reasonable target date for high school seniors to ask teachers for recommendations. That gives the teachers time to craft something personal and meaningful if you’re applying early.

Oct. 7 is the last regular registration date for the Nov. 5 sitting of the SATs.

ABOUT KIM: Kim Clark, a senior writer for MONEY, paid for classes at four colleges—and degrees from two of them—with jobs, loans, scholarships, and lots of generous financial help from her parents and grandparents. She’s been covering the ins and outs of paying for college for almost 10 years.

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