The dilemma for many parents of college bound students is the question of what is more important: their retirement or their kids' college education. According to a national survey conducted by Sallie Mae, families in the Northeast pay 70% more for their kids' college education than the rest of the U.S., so it seems natural that middle to upper-middle class families may expect to work 5 to 7 years longer than planned in order to pay off college loans.
Remember, you borrow for college because you can't borrow for retirement.
For some families, pre-funding their retirement using a private pension plan may help because it could increase their free scholarship money. So, two things happen when parents fund a private retirement plan: they decrease what they pay to colleges because they are now eligible for increased scholarship monies. This strategy is not for every family because not every college is generous with their free scholarship money. In addition, some colleges are more likely to meet a 100% of a family's eligibility if the student has high SAT scores and a high GPA. The second benefit is they have now pre-funded their retirement plans.
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A 2018-2019 survey of 405 non-profit colleges showed the average institutional grant for first time freshman is $20,000. According to the survey conducted by the National Association of College and University Bursar Offices 90% of freshman received some kind of grant money ranging from $1000-$50,000. Those discounts on average cover 60% of the tuition costs (not including room, board, books or fees.
The big take-away from the survey is that everyone should apply for financial aid. However, for families to maximize their free scholarship money they need to know what assets they do not have to report. The colleges will recognize if someone is misrepresenting facts on the financial aid form. There is a $20,000 fine and a felony conviction for everyone signing the forms (that would include the student) if you do misrepresent the numbers. There is no statute of limitations so honesty is the best policy.
If you would like to maximize your free scholarship money fill out the form below to contact me.
Now that the application cycle has moved up three months it requires families to start their college admissions process three months earlier. Sending a child to college is an adult research project. Because of the cost it is important not to do anything at the last minute.
In order to make your fall college admission process less strenuous, here are five tips to get you started on the process this summer:
For more info about admissions please go to my admissions section of my website:
I meet with the parents of future college students all the time and most of them share similar anxieties. As one of my clients confessed, “I feared I had saved too little, too late, and college was unaffordable.I need a college advisor.”
It’s a common concern. And it’s an understandable one, too. Afterall, being able to
afford a child’s education may mean the difference between sending your child off to college or not. But there are lots of mistakes that parents can avoid that will help increase their ability to pay for college. For example, did you know that 90 percent of the forms submitted to apply for financial aid have errors or inconsistencies? Did you realize that many parents don’t understand which colleges provide the best financial aid packages? And sadly, many parents put themselves at a disadvantage because they don’t recognize the difference between includable and non-includable assets when submitting their FAFSA or CSS Profile.
When you need medical attention, you visit a doctor. When you need legal advice, you hire an attorney. So when you need help navigating the mystifying world of college financing and application process, find a professional with the expertise to help.
That same client later said to me, “As safeguards, every family should have a doctor, dentist, lawyer and someone like you.”
It’s great fun going to a suspense flick and gripping your arm rests during the plot’s twists and turns. You want that kind of high anxiety when you watch a movie mystery. But most parents would prefer less drama when they watch the financial aid process unfold. In fact, savvy parents can save themselves much of the apprehension, worry and angst of the financial aid process by learning the truths behind the commonly-held assumptions:
“My child will get some type of merit scholarship.”
Spoiler: According to a survey by the Wall Street Journal, 92 percent of financial aid counselors say parents overestimate the availability of scholarship money. Only 1 percent of college students receive merit scholarships based on their SAT scores.
“My child will borrow the amount needed through low interest government loans.”
Spoiler: The federal government actually caps the amount undergraduates can borrow over four years to $27,000. The current interest rate for an unsubsidized Stafford Loan is 5.045%.
“Financial aid is only loan money.”
Spoiler: Between 60 to 70 percent of all financial aid packages may be free money in scholarships that don’t have to be repaid.
“We will get no financial aid.”
Spoiler: About 35 percent of parents incorrectly assume they will not get financial aid; 70% of those parents assumed incorrectly.
“With two children in college, we will have to pay twice the amount.”
Spoiler: The federal Financial Aid formula calculates the expected family contribution for the year, whether one child is enrolled in college or triplets are. That contribution is per year, not per child.
So, when it comes to financial aid, if you want less dramatic plot twists (and ultimately more money in your pocket), go behind the scenes and get the information you need. That way, there won’t be any plot surprises or spoiler
There are three types of college bound seniors. There are those who are anxious about applying and want the whole process to be over as quickly as possible. The next group wants to spend more time exploring their options and the last group parents feel they care more about their child going to college than the child does. Clearly the first group would be excellent candidates for an early admission application. The two other groups would be better candidates for regular admission.
An early admission application can't be quickly thrown together to get the process over with. The application and the college budget need to be well planned. This takes work on the parents behalf as well as the students. There are some similarities between early action and early decision. Both require applications to be submitted around November 1st and the notification date is typically around December 15th. Generally only private schools offer early application. State colleges and Universities are on a rolling admissions cycle. Financial aid forms (CSS Profile and FAFSA) must be filled out by November 15th for early decision applications and award packages are send out in writing the first two weeks of January. Early action aid form deadlines follow the regular decision time frame. Early decision is a binding application and the student is required to attend if accepted. If accepted the student is mandated to withdraw all other college applications that have been submitted. Early action is non-binding and the student applicant has until May 1st to decide. Financial aid packages will be mailed for the early action student by April 1st so there is time to appeal the package before committing May 1st.
Every college in the country will accept the SAT or ACT scores. There are now many colleges that are test optional. However, 75% of the student applicants choose to send their scores to those colleges. The major differences are too lengthy to outline here, so here's a quiz that your child can take to help sort out the best test for him or her. If your child mostly agrees to the statements, the SAT may be a match; conversely if your child mostly disagrees then the ACT may be the right match. If the quiz results are balanced equally, then either test will be suitable.
College Planning Services helps families maximize their options to help their child get accepted to their dream college while at the same time helping them maximize their free scholarship money. Please click here to set up your free phone consultation with John DeLorey.
Many tier 2 and 3 colleges will accept as many as 80% of the students who apply. Students meeting certain criteria (SAT scores and GPA) will be eligible for merit scholarship money on a first come, first served basis. If a student is willing to commit to the school with a cash deposit they have more leverage if they appeal their package to the college. A word of caution - the financial aid counselors do not react well if they feel that they are being treated like a car salesman. Colleges don't negotiate price with families,
College Planning Services not only helps students with a list of potential colleges but also has been successful in helping the parents appeal their packages in a professional way. Please click here to set up your free phone consultation with John DeLorey.
When picking a car, consumers know exactly how much they have to pay because of the federally required disclosures on window stickers. Yet no Federal or State policies require consistent information, terminology or formatting on financial aid award letters. A new car costs, on average, about $33,000. A college education costs tens of thousands of dollars more and is an investment that should last a lifetime. Surely college bound families need clarity around college costs as much as they do car pricing.
College Planning Services explains to parents how to read a financial aid award and we help families qualify for a minimum of $25,000 in free scholarship money. Click here for a free phone consultation to start saving now.