2018 CSS Profile Filing Is Soon Approaching, What You Need To Know

css profile 2017Like the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Families can file the CSS Profile as early as Oct. 1 for the 2018-19 academic year.

What you need to know: Like FAFSA, each college will have their own deadline which could be as early as Nov. 1 and will vary from school to school. Unfortunately some families don’t know about the Profile that is required at many colleges. Every year we talk to parents that say that they have no knowledge of the form and in some cases they have missed the deadline. If the college does require Profile, they will use it solely to determined how much institutional gift-aid (grants) the student will receive, not FAFSA.

Another important fact that parents should know is that unlike FAFSA, the CSS Profile is not mandated. Therefore the Profile will ask for considerable more personal information compared to FAFSA resulting in less financial aid for many families.

If you would like more information on how to properly deal with the Profile, please contact one of our staff.

2018 FAFSA Filing Is Approaching, What You Need To Know

2018 FAFSA Filing

The 2018 FAFSA filing is approaching here is what you need to know. Like for the current academic year, families can file the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as Oct. 1 (instead of Jan. 1 as families have done in the past) for the upcoming 2018 -19 school year.

What you need to know: Each college will have their own deadline and will vary from school to school and some deadlines can be as early as Nov. 1 and as late as of Apr. 1. The second deadline is determined by the family’s home state. Starting Oct. 1, families can check their state’s deadline here. Some states have hard deadlines and other states have suggested deadlines to make sure you get priority consideration for college money. There’s also a group of states that offer first-come, first-served financial aid.

If you would like more information on FAFSA and how to properly file your financial aid forms, please contact our office.

5 Facts Parents Need To Know About Student Loans

Here are 5 facts parents need to know about student loans.  I want to first mention the drawbacks of a private student loans that may include the interest is often variable, less flexible repayment options, the student may have to start making payments while they are still in school, there is a higher limit on lending which will mean the student will be paying more interest, the loan will be dependent on the student’s credit score, and if the lender requires a co-signer, the student may be putting that person at financial risk.

  1. Borrow only what you need.
  2. Be clear in what you are signing.
  3. Know the differences between subsidized and unsubsidized Federal loans.
  4. Never turn down a subsidized loan.
  5. Shop around at local banks and credit unions to learn what they have to offer in private loans before utilizing any unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford loan. Why? Friendly terms! Over the last 2-3 years I have been learning from some of our clients that they have secured a private loan with a lower interest rate then a Federal loan. For example, I talked to a client recently that retained a private loan at a 3% rate.

If you need more advice about student loans, financial aid, FAFSA, CSS Profile or scholarships please don’t hesitate to contact our office.  We offer a complimentary consultation to see if our service would be a fit and help your family reduce the out of pocket cost of college.

Disparity In College Financial Aid Offers

Good news! Financial aid awards are starting to arrive in student’s in boxes. The bad news, unfortunately there is a lot of disparity in college financial aid offers due to the fact that the format of awards are dictated by each school so many factors and questions come into play when reviewing and comparing offers.

First the family needs to know if the initial offer(s) is a fair one. That’s tough because generally parents doing this for the first time don’t have anything to compare to.

Second, what methodology is the college is using? There are three possible formulas. There is the Federal Methodology (FAFSA), the Institutional Methodology (CSS Profile), and the Consensus Methodology (CSS Profile). If the CSS Profile is required, the college will calculate a EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) which many times will not appear on the award. So it would be difficult for a family to know how much of the true need was met. If the college requires only the FAFSA, the family will see their EFC (Expected Family Contribution) on their Student Aid Report (SAR). In this scenario, they will have a good idea if the award is fair and will be less difficult to compare with other offers.

Third, the family needs to know what is the college including or not including in their total college cost or comprehensive fee. Every college is different in what they include or don’t include which can make an offer look good on the surface when it is not.

In conclusion some good news. Our staff with 26 years of experience are here to advise you accordingly. If you would like us to confirm and clarify if your child’s award is appropriate, please contact our office.

College Financial Aid Awards Are Starting To Arrive

Financial Aid Awards Are Starting To Arrive

College financial aid awards are starting to arrive earlier this year due to the FAFSA  timeline change. Don’t worry about this because it’s a good thing!  Immediately you should be asking yourself are these award(s) fair for my college student? The answer is unless you are awarded 100% of the total college cost you wouldn’t know.  If you filled out the FAFSA and CSS Profile you might have interpreted the question incorrectly.

The reality is that many families will simply take what is originally offered therefore will spend more for college than they need to, sometimes into the thousands of dollars more.

If you are reading this you must have questions and be looking for the best answers.  Just like a good tax accountant it pays to have a professional who knows how to accurately interpret the questions and provide the best answer based on your situation to receive more financial aid. College Aid Consulting Services brings 26 years of experience, our clients are assured, in the end, that they will receive the best aid package possible. Since we have worked with the majority of 4 year state schools and private colleges in the U.S., we know what to expect from a given college. If you would like one of our staff to review your awards letters and information that was submitted, please contact our office.

What a Trump presidency could mean for student loans?

 

Trump presidency could mean for student loans

What will a Trump presidency mean for student loans? He has rarely mentioned higher education on the campaign trail, so the future is somewhat up in air.

With so much still unknown and to be worked out during the transition over the next few months, it’s too soon to know what student loan borrowers can expect. But here are a few items that could be possible priorities in the Trump presidency and Republican-controlled Congress.

During the campaign, Trump proposed slightly modifying income-based repayment for federal student loans by allowing borrowers to pay 12.5 percent of discretionary income with any remaining balance forgiven after 15 years.
Current income-based plans allow for payments of 10 to 15 percent of discretionary income and forgiven balances after 20 to 25 years. Unless the proposal is meant only for existing borrowers, it is unclear how he would carry this out since earlier in the year his campaign said he wanted to reduce or remove the government’s role in student lending.

In May, Sam Clovis, the national co-chairman and policy director of Trump’s campaign, stated that the Trump team wanted to remove the government from student lending and restore that role to private lenders. Prior to 2010, federal student loans were either originated directly by the government or they were made by private banks with the backing of the federal government.

The Trump administration has not said it would fight to remove all federal involvement from student loans, making it a system of only private loans advocate for a federally insured program similar to the previous FFEL. Either way, student loan experts thinks it would be incredibly difficult – and likely very expensive – to walk back the transition to 100 percent direct lending that’s occurred over the past six years, given that the Republicans don’t hold a filibuster-proof majority in Congress.

It is also worth mentioning here that Republican Presidents going back to the Reagan days have stated that they would like to abolish the Department of Education which would have a major affect in education in our country.

Regardless of what happens, know that College Aid Consulting Services can help you reduce the out of pocket expense for your family utilizing our 26 years of experience.  Besides advising clients on FAFSA and the CSS Profile, we know many other ways to make college more affordable.   Contact our office today to learn more.

Amazon Prime Student Loans. What You Need To Know.

Amazon is stepping into the student-loan marketplace with Wells Fargo to offer discounts to customers of the online retailer as Amazon Prime Student Loans.  A student-loan discount will be offered to Amazon Prime Student members. The online retailer has entered into a partnership with San Francisco lender Wells Fargo& Co. in which the bank’s student-lending arm will offer interest-rate discounts to select Amazon shoppers.

Before considering private loans for college, families should always utilize all  Subsidize Federal Loans (Stafford and Perkins) offered. With that said, if a family still needs additional educational loan assistance, they should shop around at various lending institutions large and small  for the best terms.  Over 70% of families borrow less when their financial aid forms are filled out correctly. Unfortunately the majority of families who do not retain professional guidance will make mistakes. Please contact our office to lower your out of pocket cost for your child’s education.

Amazon Tiptoes Into Banking Business Through Student Loans
News Source: Wall Street Journal

Do You Know Your College Tuition Expected Family Contribution?

Do you know what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is? Most families don’t. Did you know that there are three EFCs in the financial aid process? Most families don’t.

The EFC(s) represents the families’ ability to pay for a college education. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated via The CSS Profile under one of two formulas. The Institutional Methodology or the Consensus Methodology depending on the college. Families need to know that the three EFCs could vary widely. Moreover, many families are not told what their EFC is under the Institutional and the Consensus Methodologies by the college(S).

If you would like our staff to calculate your true EFC(s) and learn how to increase your financial aid eligibility, please contact our office.

When Financial Aid Offers Doesn’t Meet Expectations

College Financial Aid Offers

Since early March our students started to receive their initial financial aid offers from various colleges. Like previous years, many of the financial aid offers are not meeting the appropriate need for the student based on one of the three formulas that colleges utilize. We review all of our student’s awards and if we feel the college can do better, we will then initiate a proven approach of communication with the college(s) to increase the amount of gift-aid originally offered. Over the last two weeks our students have been receiving their amended awards that contain more financial aid.

Families who do not utilize professional guidance are more likely not receive a magnanimous award(s). If you would like our staff to review your award letters, please contact our office. The bottom line here is, the more families know about the true aspects of the financial aid process , the less money out of their pockets for a college education.

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Parents Continue To Be Misled By High School Guidance Counselors

Tired student worried about paying for college

It continues and unfortunately will not stop. Parents are being told the wrong information regarding financial aid topics. I just talked with a new client and she stated that her daughter’s high school counselor informed her that their 2015 taxes need to be completed before they can file the FAFSA and that the deadline for FAFSA for their colleges is June 30th 2016. Not true in both cases.

First of all, parents and or students can file their FAFSA with estimated figures. Second, each college will have their own specific deadline for FAFSA and more importantly the CSS Profile if required. It is true that the Federal deadline for FAFSA is June 30th 2016 for the academic year 2016-17. However, if one goes by that deadline, the student will miss out on good aid and that is what happened to this family. The deadline for three of their colleges was in January.

Two points here. Parents need to realize that the high school guidance counselor is not a trained expert in the financial aid process and it is the parent(s) responsibility to confirm the actual deadline with the college(s) preferably by a phone call. Recently I was informed that a college had an incorrect deadline for FAFSA and the CSS Profile on their website. If you would like appropriate advice in the financial aid process, please contact our office.

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