7 Tips On Lowering College Costs

7 Tips On Lowering College Costs

We all know that the cost of a college education is off the charts and for many families affording a college education can be a real challenge. Here are 12 tips that families can use to save money in the process:

  1. Compare housing options
  2. Don’t buy new textbooks
  3. Consider dual enrollment
  4. Get a tuition discount
  5. Attend a college with fixed-price tuition
  6. Utilize a work study program
  7. Graduate on time

Two bonus tips…

  1. Consider a community college in the first year or two
  2. Consider being a resident advisor. Many colleges will offer free or reduce room and board

Explore all of your aid options. With that said, parents need to be savvy when it comes to the financial aid process. The more they know about the process, the more likely they will retain more gift-aid. The more gift-aid, the less loans needed. Regarding loans, never turn down a subsidized loan(s) if offered and more importantly if needed.

Parents should consider retaining professional guidance. A trained expert will assure the family will retain the most financial aid possible. Also students should always pursue outside scholarships which will help to lower their out of pocket cost for a four education. Once on campus, the student should walk into the financial aid office to ask if there are any “in house” scholarships that they can apply for. Parents should set up a 529 plan early on.

If you wish more tips or information on how to lower college costs, please contact our office.

Be Wary of Scholarship Services

Be Wary of Scholarship Services

We can’t stress enough… be wary of scholarship services promising money. This is the time, many high school seniors have finished their college applications and are waiting for results. Parents and prospective students are starting to look into options and plan how the family or individual (father/mother) are going to pay for it.

Every year I hear from students and or parents who has paid a service to find scholarships, only to discover they are getting nothing but empty promises.
Some financial aid is based on need, while other scholarships may be based on merit, a special skill or even an essay on a particular topic.

Companies may offer to assist in finding aid, but I advise students to be wary of websites, seminars or other schemes that promise to find scholarships, grants or financial aid packages for a fee. The companies may promise a money-back guarantee, but they set so many conditions that it’s almost impossible to get a refund. Others tell students they have been selected as finalists but that they have to pay a fee to be eligible for the award. Advance fees often are a sign that the award is not legitimate.

Legitimate companies can help students find aid, but they will never guarantee results. However, parents and students usually can find the same awards and others on their own by searching online or going to the library. However, this will mean that one will have to invest a lot of time in the process due to the many worthless sources out there. We at College Aid Consulting Services have tracked legitimate scholarships sources over the last 25 years that are worthy of one’s time. We have testimonials from happy parents to prove it.  If you would like more information regarding outside scholarship sources, please contact our office.

Do Not Make Mistakes On The CSS Profile

This time of the year I have the opportunity to review many CSS Profile forms for parents who learn of our firm and are seeking valuable advice. In 99% of the Profiles I review, I will find mistakes that the parent made resulting in less financial aid and more importantly less grant money. For example, I just reviewed a Profile for a parent that completed but did not submit it and found five mistakes that would of cost them around $12,000 in financial aid eligibility. Needless to say, this family is now our client.

As I have stated many times in the past, the Profile is an institutional form. So with that in mind, the college(s) can and will ask for more personal information on Profile compared to FAFSA and some of the information requested on the Profile does not need to be disclosed. Another point here in regards to completing Profile and all other financial aid forms correctly is the correct interpretation of the question(s). If you would likeus to review your Profile or any other financial aid form that is required, please contact our team.

How Much College Can You Afford?

Many factors come into play when comes to how much college tutition a family can afford. What colleges is the student applying to? What is families’ liquid asset situation like? How much was saved for college. What financial aid forms are required? Many colleges require more forms than the FAFSA. Who is completing the forms? Families that utilize a trained expert in the process will historically retain more aid.

The bottom line here is the correct interpretation of the questions and know what information you do not have to disclose. The more mistakes made, the less aid offered. College Aid Consulting Services has been assisting families for 25 years to avoid the mistakes and maximize the Financial Aid available to them.  Contact us today to learn more.

The Future Of FAFSA Financial Aid

Apparently there is a move to reduce the size of the FAFSA to a postcard. I do not see this happening. However, if it does, colleges who now require only the FAFSA will create their own financial aid form or utilize the CSS Profile which will ask for more personal information than the FAFSA which will go against the family. Regarding using “prior-prior” tax data, many families will not benefit by this. The proponents of this state that it will allow families an earlier insight of what to expect for financial aid. However, this will not work for families that will have fluctuations in their situation.

Instead Of Simplifying The FAFSA, Let’s Just Get Rid Of It
News Sources: Forbes.com

Facts About Financial Aid Eligibility

The article neglects to mention a 4th type of financial aid; work-study is also available for most students and should be utilized whenever possible. Regarding the calculation of aid, the writer fails to mention that there are three ways that colleges may employ. There is the Federal Methodology, Institutional, and the Consensus Methodology which results in an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) respectfully.

15 freaky facts about financial aid eligibility
via savingforcollege.com

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