Category Archives for Financial Planning

Are There “Insider Secrets” That Will Get More Money For College?

Families That Work Together And Start Early Get Much More Money For College!

Having parents involved in the admissions process can save your family thousands of dollars.  Doing your research and choosing the colleges that historically award tuition discounts may result in a HUGE DISCOUNT.  That means you get to save thousands of dollars for college.

Most People Don’t Realize That They Need To Look For More Solid Information.

As a parent who went through this process, I wish there was more information other than the water cooler buddy where I received much of my information from.  As a ten year professional, I’ve seen horror stories from families across the country.  What frequently happens is families apply assume all schools are the same when it comes to financial aid & scholarships.

Letting Your Student Choose and Plan For College Without Help Can Lead To A Much Harder Situation.

Students are usually in charge of choosing prospective colleges. They get accepted and then boom.  Mom & dad realize they will need to spend $100,000.00 to $200,000.00 for the school kid’s college education.  Many students base their prospective schools on information from classmates.  Parents get involved at the last moment.  The kid is excited to go to their dream school without taking into consideration the financial nightmare that is about to become reality. Why?

Many highly rated schools understand the Golden Rule, “He who has the gold makes the rules”.  And the rules say, “At our college we want our applicants to have 3.8 unweighted grade point average and a 2150 on their SAT’s and/or a 32 on their ACT”. That’s when they consider giving you a “tuition discount”. If you do your research you will find there are many lesser known schools with less restrictive rules when meeting out merit scholarships.

Many in the science field who are “brain experts” suggest that most people don’t reach full maturity until the age 25.  Why would you allow a 17 year old immature mind decide what is for many, the most costly expenditure or “investment” a parent will ever make?

i was reading an article that stated that 80% of students go to the college without exploring the overall cost. 

Many parents will jeopardize their economic future just so they can make their child’s dream come true.  Parents need to learn the true meaning of the word NO.  How about being involved and setting some ground rules?

There are tons of schools out there in the $40,000-49,000 range that will offer $15-20k in free tuition discounts. If you include student loans you could be looking at $28,000 net cost per year (based on a income of over $100,000). This is equivalent to many state public schools with low graduation rates and even worse 20 year returns on investment.
The bottom line, if you take the time and use a professional who can educate and navigate your family through this complicated maze, you will avoid many sleepless nights.

Understanding Your College Financial Aid Options – It’s Complicated.

Understanding the endless possible options in college financial aid data can be a daunting task.

Are you hiring a college funding planner? Here are some things to look for:

Work with someone who can walk you through the options, after carefully researching and gathering financial aid data on your behalf. Then work together to uncover the best options available for your specific needs and goals. Look for someone comprehensive and reliable.
•    College Planning Checklist With All Timelines & Deadlines That Is Updated Electronically & E-Mailed Every Time Something Is Completed &/Or Missing
•    Free Bonus – Complete Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
•    Register Your Student For The CSS PROFILE
•    Complete CSS PROFILE & Walk Families Through All Supporting Documentation
•    Complete Any Additional Forms Required By The Individual Schools
•    Confirm The Accuracy Of The Student Aid Report (SAR)
•    Make Any Necessary Adjustments To The SAR
•    Advise and Counsel on Stafford and PLUS Loan Applications
•    Provide Protection From Being Overlooked For Grants, Scholarships Or Loans Due To Mistakes In Your Financial Aid Data Forms

Will You Be Able To Afford A College Education?

Every family has to find ways to pay for college. Is getting enough money to pay for a full degree without going into massive debt a pipe dream or reality?piggybankanddollars

Let’s face it. College is expensive. Most parents cringe at the thought of paying for four (if you are lucky, five is average) years’ worth of tuition and expenses.  Most students haven’t even given thought to how they are going to pay for college or pay off student/parent loans once they have finished. Planning ahead can mean the difference between attending college or not going at all.  Many parents are wondering if the ROI (Return on Investment) is worth it.  Let’s assume the positive, below are steps you need to start in order to be successful with this process.

How soon should you begin planning?

The sooner the better. Of course, many families do not have the finances available to begin planning as soon as their kids are born.  Proactive parents can get a head start on the process by setting aside just $100.00 per month in a safe investment with steady growth that can make a huge dent in your future college bill.   The cost of college increases 5% to 7% yearly.  Starting early and establishing a good college savings and funding plan  is essential for your child’s future college education.
As time progresses, you should begin exploring college options as early as middle school.  This will give you time to prepare your student to understand the complexity of this complicated process.

Staying focused during the crucial four years of high school.

As your student enters high school, they should focus time on study habits and good grades;  Your family should familiarize yourselves with ACT and SAT prep as early as middle school. You should check college admission and scholarships requirements to get a grasp on test scores and GPA’s requirements.  There is one more piece of the puzzle that many students and their parents may not be aware of.  Drum roll, community service and leadership qualities can make the difference whether your student is accepted to their school of choice.  Most highly rated schools want well rounded students that will give back to society.

Families with a college funding plan get more financial aid and get into better schools.

By having a plan, you and your student will be able to stay motivated to the task at hand and make sure the tools are in place when it’ time to apply to college.  You will also be able to make an educated decision that fit their student’s criteria as well as their parent’s financial guidelines.
You should be involved and assist your student when they are attempting to make huge life decisions. It is important that they understand exactly what will be expected of them, but also have the tools that they need to reach their goals in life.

Will early applications save you money?

Early applications have benefits and drawbacks.

Students entering their Senior year are able to start completing the  2015-16 Common Application and University of California system  officially opened August 1.  There are more than 500 schools that accept the Common Application for Admissions.  This marks the official beginning of the ‘College Application Season’ for the Class of 2016.
I often say int the world of college admissions, the early bird catches the most worms.  When it comes to your student’s Admissions options, parents need to look at their savings options as well.  Starting the entire process is the one thing I try to drill into students and parents heads.  Many schools have rolling and/or priority deadlines for admission AND for merit scholarship consideration: Indiana, Tulane, Gettysburg, Michigan, Wake, UNF, FSU to name a few. In fact, some schools will be doing their first reviews as we speak.

Many schools provide early scholarships to students who impress on a first-come, first-served basis.

The process is similar for parents as well.   There is a real significant) difference between what a college costs (on paper) and what percentage of that cost you will actually have to pay.   It is possible that the pricey private school that you’re ruling out might be the same or less than the public university you’re insisting stay on the list.  Colleges have two main instruments when it comes to their discounting strategies:  1) need-based Aid and  2) merit-based (or non-need based) Aid.  Schools utilize both tools to induce students to attend their institution.
The reality is that  2/3 of first-time, full-time undergraduates will receive some type of grant (that’s free money) in the form of a ‘discount’ when they matriculate.    Financial aid and  merit based on GPA, SAT/ACT scores and community service and talent) are available to middle class families, but the rules are complicated and most families leave thousands on the table because they don’t understand the inner working of those rules.

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Don’t leave thousands on the table. Do the work and plan your financial aid strategy before applying.

For most families, regardless of income, there are many strategies that can reduce the amount of money that you will be expected to pay for college. But if you are the parent of a Senior, that window is closing.  If you want to avoid frustration in the spring, you need to take control of the Admissions process before your student finalizes their applications.   Understanding how the colleges on your child’s wish list administers financial aid and merit scholarships is critical and will endure.  You need to have a clear picture how much your family can afford to pay for your kid’s education.

Starting early gives you a huge advantage!

As for parents with younger high school children, I highly recommend that your college funding strategy be in place as early as middle school.  Parents who are proactive and commit to preparing a college funding plan will bring peace of mind.  The gold at the end of the road will become clearer and clearer as your child progresses through high school and enters college.

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