4 Ways to Get More $ For College
For students, senior year in high school is very stressful. Besides school works, sports, social events, and extracurricular activities, many of the students are also preparing for college: writing essays, reviewing college choices, getting recommendation letters, retaking SAT/ACT if necessary, registering for SAT II if necessary, and so on. If you are a parent of one of these high school seniors, I am certain your nerves are at heightened stage right about now. Not only are you nervous about your child’s college admissions, you are also pondering about how you’re going to pay for it all. If you are well to do and money is not your worries, good for you. On the other hand, many of you do have this worry. It’s not too late, but there are some steps you can take now to increase your chances of getting the most financial aid possible. If you are concerned parent, consider the following four steps:
- Reallocate Your Funds
Free Application for Federal Student Aid filing starts in January of each year. Prior to January, consider moving your child’s assets into your personal account. This is important because your child’s personal assets are assessed at a higher rate than parents’. Your child’s assets are assessed at 20%, whereas, your money will only be assessed at 5.64 percent. Parents’ assets are also protected to a certain amount and your child’s assets are not. The funds you may want to consider transferring includes savings bonds, CDs, savings and checking accounts. I recommend you consult one of the college financial aid specialists for best financial options.
- Complete FAFSA ASAP
Complete the FAFSA quickly as possible. A frequently used cliché “Early bird gets the worm,” is so true for some financial aids. Each state and colleges has its own submission deadline, but don’t wait until the last minute to complete it. You’ll increase your chances of missing the deadline. Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and quick, so there is no excuse. In addition, some colleges and states award financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis, so once the money runs out– that’s it.
- Submit All College Financial Aid Applications
Although colleges use the information from the FAFSA filing to determine how much college financial aid you will be offered; however, you still need to complete the appropriate required college financial aid forms to be considered. Do your due diligence and make sure you are aware of the deadline. Some schools also require you to complete the CSS Profile, in addition to FAFSA, in order to qualify for institutional scholarships and grants. Make sure you complete the scholarship applications and provide all the supporting documentations prior to the institution’s deadline. This is one time you don’t want to be procrastinating and leave money on the table.
- Appeal the Award Offer
Although the FAFSA allows colleges to get a good understanding of what you and your family might be able to afford for college, it doesn’t always reflect the complete picture. From the time you completed FAFSA and CSS in some cases, your financial situation may have dramatically changed. Since the schools won’t know the changes, it’s your job to inform them. Below are some examples:
- Loss of employment
- Cut in pay
- Birth of a sibling
- Death in the family
- Other events that may have drained your savings
The financial aid office can reconsider your award package, if you go through the appropriate steps and file an appeal before the deadline. Visit the college websites and download the necessary forms and/or appeal instructions. When writing the appeal letters, please be sincere. If you can’t find the words to write, remember that the story already lives in your heart. After you submit your appeal letters, don’t waste your time twiddling your thumbs. You should have Plan B and Plan C in case the appeals don’t go your way. One of the plans may be to consult with a Financial Aid Specialist. For a small fee, they can assist you with the appeal letters, re-review the FAFSA filing, CSS Profile filing, professionally review the award package, etc. For a small fee, is peace of mind important to you? Not only that, your Financial Aid Specialist may lead you to more money.
If you have questions, please call AGM College Planning @ (877) 212-0011 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.