PAYING FOR COLLEGE IS AN INTERESTING MAZE TO NAVIGATE.
The MOST money you will ever get toward a college degree is from the institution itself in the form of financial aid (based on need) and merit aid (based on your application and attributes). Our goal is to help you put forth your best self in your applications so that you will be irresistible to the appropriate schools where you apply. But we also focus on finding the best fit for you, and if the price is a leading part of the equation, we will help you discover universities that offer financial need-based grants and scholarships.
Financial need is determined by the FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This opens on October 1st. The sooner you apply, the better. The FAFSA is to be filled out from the point of view of the student, but there is quite a bit financial info that will be required by the parent and you need to know that it is a 2-year look-back on finances. So for the class of 2022, income from 2020 will be used for the application. Soon after filling it out, you will get an EFC-Expected Family Contribution- and this is an important number. There is a full video on the FAFSA, CSS Profile (some private schools may require this), EFC and more on our YouTube channel as well as a few videos on how to fill the FAFSA out correctly. Here is our Video link on paying for college- ABC’s OF PAYING FOR COLLEGE – featuring our financial partner Ann Alsina.
The FAFSA provides info and qualification for different things. Pell Grants that are offered by the government, based on your FAFSA and finances, do not need to be paid back and are often only available for families with very low incomes. Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans are loans offered to your student, in their name, and are paid back by the student (interest differs on each one) and usually cannot accumulate to more than $27,000 over 4 years. Work-study is paid to the student when they work at approved work-study jobs, usually provided by the college and with a priority on student studies over work. Additional loans may be obtained outside of the Pell Grant, Govt Loans and Work Study. These loans require the parent cosigning on the loan for the student and come from a bank. We do suggest that you look closely at any front-loaded fees, accumulated interest etc. when looking at the Parent Plus Loan– it sounds great at first, but your bank may offer a better solution.
One of our colleagues in California, Jeff Levy with Big J Consulting, recently contributed this article on the 15 biggest mistakes families make when filling out the FAFSA. It is worth the read. READ HERE
Beyond what the government can offer you based on your EFC, colleges often have scholarships and grants that they can offer your student. This is institutional need-based aid. Every university handles this differently, has different amounts available, and is usually tied into their endowments. Institutional need-based aid can be offered at the time of acceptance or in the Spring after the initial acceptance letter. We are fortunate to have a deep understanding of the need-based aid offered at most colleges.
Lee Norwood is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, Higher Education Consultants Association, NACAC Charactor Collaborative and she is on faculty with the CounselMore Business Development Academy. She speaks at industry conferences on topics like “Meeting Gen Z Where They Are” and “Growing Your Business” and she has been featured on podcasts with CollegeScoops, ThirdFloor Views, Tests And The Rest, and others.If you are interested in our process, our team, reviews and outcomes, just look at our website www.annapoliscollegeconsulting.com