Next to buying a house, planning for college expenses can be one of the biggest financial projects that parents and their children undertake. Four years of college costs tens of thousands of dollars, and it is increasingly easy to break into the hundreds-of-thousands range, especially for advanced degrees. Parents, don't make these mistakes that may keep your children from getting the education they deserve:
Believing that they will not qualify for financial aid! There is no real cut-off point or maximum income a family can have and still qualify for assistance. You may be surprised to learn that an increasing number of families with significant incomes now qualify for assistance.
Believing that they can't afford a more expensive college! It's not the college's sticker price that matters. All that really matters is the net cost of education after awards and aid. In most cases, there is a big difference between the family's out-of-pocket expense and the college's sticker price.
Not saving for college! With high cost of a college today, it's almost impossible to fund a college education, if there is zero savings! Consider, the more you save, the less you or your children will have to borrow.
Disqualifying themselves for financial Aid! Many families report more than they have to on the financial aid forms or they put money in the wrong places, thus they disqualify themselves from receiving financial Aid! Certain assets are counted much more heavily in the financial aid formulas than others.
Putting money in their child's name! Generally 35% of all the money (assets) in a child's name must go to pay college costs before receiving financial aide!
Not researching for sources of aid! Maybe, just maybe, you can find a grant to replace the loan for which you might otherwise have to apply.
Not filing for financial aid as close to January 1st as possible! Many colleges award aid on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, you may not be eligible for state aid if you wait until April to submit your FAFSA. Some states have earlier submission requirements.
Believing it is cheaper to go to a state school! While the overall cost of a state college maybe less, it's also true the have much less needs based aid available. Don't eliminate a school just because it's expensive. A great deal of assistance is available, and you may be surprised at how much you or your student receives.
Not understanding that tuition is less than 40% of the cost of a college education! Each school's "expected cost of attendance," typically covers tuition, room and board, and books as well as estimates for incidentals like transportation and laundry. Financial aid is based upon the "expected cost of attendance" .
Waiting to long before getting to information they need!!! Parents and students should work together to keep the high cost of college as low as possible. A well thought out plan combined with teamwork will increase your chances of receiving free college scholarships and college grants. You can't wait to the last minute to position yourself for financial aid.
Keep educational costs in perspective. College costs may be going up, but there's good news, too. Recent studies indicate that those who earn a bachelor's degree on average will have lifetime earnings of approximately 60 percent more than those who stop at a high school diploma. The return on investment can be extraordinary.
Positioning your assets and income properly came make a huge difference in the financial you qualify for. Our Found Money Managers™ can help you maximize your eligibility to qualify for college financial aid…
By Lew Nason
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