It’s officially summer and I’m using this time to brush up on the various aspects of college financials. Of course, the biggie is FAFSA – or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s the application every family with a high school senior should plan to complete as soon as the portal opens on October 1st. And you should start prepping now! Friends may have already told you that “your family has too much income” to qualify for federal aid. And when it comes to Pell grants ($6,495/year), Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants ($4,000/year), State grants (up to $1,500/year), and work-study opportunities, that may be the case. However, by completing the FAFSA, your family gains access to federal loans. All students are eligible for Direct Student Loans ($5,500/year for freshmen, $6,500 for sophomores, $7,500 for juniors and seniors). The interest rates are low and the repayment plans are reasonable (and start six months after graduation). There are also Parent Plus loans that enable families to borrow all the funds needed to fill the gap between Cost of Attendance (COA) and Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Let me note that I am not necessarily an advocate of loans. I would much rather help your student find an ideal college setting that your family can afford with the help of institutional aid and outside scholarships. However, every family should be prepared to complete the FAFSA. In fact, many colleges require it before awarding even merit-based aid. And that’s why I’m here to help. Plus, it’s one of the reasons I am committed to sharing with you each week through my newsletter. Here you’ll find the latest news from colleges, the biggest resource you may have missed, and a glimpse at what I’m doing at SCOUT to help students find and fund their ideal college experiences. Thanks for joining me!
FAFSA changes have been delayed by one year, and will now be implemented for the 2024-2025 school year. December 2020’s COVID relief package established measures to simplify the FAFSA, taking it from 108 questions down to 36 questions. However, it now appears that a technology overhaul will be necessary to put these changes in place. To learn more, read Michael Stratford’s article in Politico HERE.
A GREAT RESOURCE YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
Is your Class of 2021 graduate still looking for a college home for the Fall 2021 term? Options are still available. The list of colleges still accepting applications is updated daily on the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) website. Find it HERE.
COMMON APP WEBINAR: I participated in a webinar this week to learn about the 2021-2022 application. Updated sections include sex/gender, citizenship, family, religious affiliations, military discharge, school discipline, and those for the recommender. There’s also a new prompt (gratitude now replaces problem-solving). Seniors can open a Common App account this summer and start working on various sections. However, not all sections roll over to the new edition on August 1st – so call me to find out more or make sure you save your work!
SENIORS: Common App. FAFSA. The college admissions process is getting real! If you need help navigating all the steps, let me know! As always, my goal is to help you find and fund the ideal college experience! My approach is individualized for your student and designed to keep all of you focused on the aspects that matter to your specific situation. Use the button below to connect with me and let’s get started today!
JUNIORS: Finding affordable college options should be high on your list of priorities. Let me help! Public. Private. In-state. Out-of-State. I can help you build a list of options that is just right for you. Use the button below to connect with me and let’s explore together!
FRESHMEN & SOPHOMORES: As with every part of the college admissions process, financial planning starts early. Let’s explore how some key financial concepts should influence your college search. And then, let’s build academic, personal development, and extracurricular strategies that will help you achieve college and life goals. Getting started now allows us to identify scholarships, internships, and summer programs. My goal is to help you plan for a variety of aspects so that your student is positioned to make the most of high school opportunities and then poised to find and fund his/her ideal college experience. If you want to learn more, use the button below to set-up a no-cost / no-obligation call with me.
BOOK OF THE WEEK: I’ve written about Ron Lieber a couple of times (see Edition 4 and Edition 6). He writes as a personal finance columnist for The New York Times, and in January of this year, he released a book entitled The Price You Pay for College. I’ve been back to Lieber’s book several times this past week. His goal is to provide clarity about financial aid and help you make informed choices. He goes beyond price to write about value. His insights on merit aid are very helpful. And his advice regarding what matters and what doesn’t is refreshing.
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