NGPF Podcast: NY Times Columnist Ron Lieber on his new book, The Price You Pay for College

Feb 12, 2021
Podcasts, Paying for College, Student Loans

Ron Lieber returns to the NGPF Podcast to discuss his latest book. This podcast is a must-listen for educators and counselors helping young people navigate the college and financial aid maze. Ron shares his insights into the current "merit aid" system, the emotional baggage many bring into the college decision-making process and also what to look for in a college. His advice will educate, empower and provide listeners with key questions they should be asking. Enjoy! 
  • 0:00~1:23 Introduction
  • 1:23~2:07 On the new book, The Price You Pay for College
  • 2:07~7:56 Ron’s own college experience
  • 7:56~10:54 Appearing on the NYT while in college
  • 10:54~18:30 The current financial aid system
  • 18:30~23:13 Changes with the FAFSA and the effects of COVID
  • 23:13~28:00 Asking for a merit aid pre-read 
  • 28:00~30:47 Finding the common data set
  • 30:47~31:14 A word from NGPF
  • 31:14~33:53 Overcoming the emotional aspect of paying for college
  • 33:53~42:05 The Varsity Blues scandal and what it tells us
  • 42:05~45:25 Getting the most out of college
  • 45:25~48:51 Shopping for schools with good mental healthcare
  • 48:51~52:01 The Lasagna Test
  • 52:01~54:57 Assessing college value
  • 54:57~57:26 College price hacks
  • 57:26~61:30 One family’s experience paying for college
  • 61:30~63:08 Conclusion 



  • “If you’re going to be paying upwards or more than three hundred thousand dollars for four years, I want people to feel entitled and empowered to ask questions.”


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About the Authors

Ren Makino

Ren has been working part-time at NGPF since 2014, interning through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, after graduating from college in 2020, he joined the team to work full time with a focus on teacher onboarding. He is also the editor of the NGPF podcast and makes sure it is accessible to teachers on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play Music. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world and try out new brewing methods, even though personal finance gurus tend to caution against buying a cup of joe.

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.