FAFSA Deadline Is Decided By School Not January 1st 2016

FAFSA Financia Aid

Contrary to what you may hear, the FAFSA deadline for student financial aid is not January 1st 2016. I spoke with a new client earlier today and she stated that her daughter was told by the high school that the FAFSA needed to be filed on January 1st. Wrong!  

Each college will have their own specific deadline for FAFSA. More importantly, if the high school counselor wanted to share some valuable advice, he or she should have elaborated on the CSS Profile which is required for this student. For many families the FAFSA will not play a part in receiving need based gift-aid. If a college requires the CSS Profile, they will use that information to determine any grant money from the college’s endowments.

So with that in mind, the family needs to focus on the Profile deadline at each school. In addition, advice for parents and students, do not rely on the high school guidance counselor for the correct information regarding the financial aid process. They are not trained experts in this area. For more specific needed information on Profile and the FAFSA, please contact our office.  

Fund A MBA With Financial Aid

We get questions is it possible to fund a MBA with Financial Aid? The short answer is yes. Below are 5 of our best tips to understand your options for making that Masters In Business degree possible and more affordable.

  1. Research, research, and research. The more time a student invests into their search, the more options they will have to make an appropriate decision based on cost and other factors. Because financial aid availability will vary from school to school, they should not rule out an institution that has a higher cost. The good news, there are some decent inexpensive online programs available to fall back on due to lack of money.
  2. Schools will charge a higher price because they can. MBA degrees are more popular than other masters programs because of the downright demand for them and can quote the higher cost. Even though a lot of institutions offer the program, it’s still in high demand. Also, additional fees will vary from school to school.
  3. There are many good value colleges that are AACSB-accredited. Degrees from schools with AACSB-accredited programs offer graduates a return on their investment by providing them with the professional competencies required to compete and advance in their careers.
  4. The student needs to be proactive. Make ample time to search out scholarships. They are many out there to be had. Also check with the college for any “in-house” scholarships. Also check out Company scholarships. Regarding textbooks, check to see if you can borrow them for each semester or see if they can be downloaded. Check out to see if there are tax deductions they can utilize relating to higher education. A student should consider living with their parents which would be a great amount on rent. Regarding student loans, check with local banks first before utilizing Federal Loans. They may have better interest rates and terms which will save you in in the long run.
  5. Last tip and the big one, start saving early!

If you would like personalized help from Financial Aid experts please contact our office for a complimentary consultation.

Careful The Information You Provide On The CSS Profile & FAFSA?

The CSS Profile ( College Scholarship Service Profile) unlike FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid) is an institutional form. So with that in mind, the article is right in that the Profile will ask for much more personal information than the FAFSA. However, the article also states you’ll have to report more information. Incorrect, you do not have to disclose certain information on Profile or any other Institutional form for that matter. I have been saying this for years, the Profile (FAF in previous years) was created by the system not to hand out financial aid. The more information one discloses to the college, the less financial aid. If you would like more valuable information regarding how to correctly complete financial aid forms, please contact us for a complimentary consultation.

What Is the CSS Profile and Will You Need It to Get Financial Aid?
News Source: Money Magazine Online

Financial Assets & How They Affect Financial Aid

The article elaborates on assets and how financial assets affect financial aid eligibility. First of all, many who are completing the required financial aid forms do not know that certain assets do not have to be reported. Second, families with certain assets can implement appropriate strategies to increase their financial aid eligibility. If you desire valuable advice from a trained professional with over 25 years of experience, please contact our office.

5 Reasons Why You Won’t Get Free Money for College
Source: gobankingrates.com

Fordham University Success Story

Our client wanted my thoughts on their son’s initial award from Fordham. Based on the numbers and knowing what the school is capable of,  we felt they could do better and recommended to negotiate. After the college received a letter we drafted, they increase the 2nd award by $3,500 of a Fordham Grant for the first year.  Contact our offices if we can give you a complimentary review of your financial aid offer.

Fordham-Updated-Offer Fordham-Original-Offer

Multiple 529 Plans For College Financial Planning

I was recently ask a question regarding multiple 529 plans.

As a general rule, I don’t recommend parents should utilize multiple plans. However there are occasions that call for multiple 529 plans:

  • If your children are more than a couple of years apart in age, you will most likely have different investment objectives for their college savings. You may decide that one particular 529 plan has better equity-weighted investments (suitable for a young child) while a different 529 plan is more attractive for its conservative options (suitable for an older child).
  • If you have a sense of which particular schools, or types of school, your children are likely to attend, the choice of institution may influence your selection of a 529 plan. This is especially true if your state offers a prepaid tuition plan, or if you are considering the private-college Independent 529 Plan. A few of the 529 savings plans also offer extra benefits for students attending certain schools.
  • If you’re simply not sure about your choice of 529 plan, you can hedge your bets by spreading your contributions among two or more 529 plans. You might also achieve some more diversification in your investments by doing so, at least in regard to the fund managers handling your college savings.

When shopping for a 529 plan, you should always consider your own state’s 529 plan, even if you ultimately decide to go with an out-of-state 529 plan. Special tax or other benefits may be available for using your in-state plan.

In some states, you may be able to take full advantage of a state tax deduction by enrolling just one of your children in the state’s 529 plan, giving you more freedom to search outside your state for a 529 plan for your other child. In other states, however, the full state tax benefit is obtained only when both of your children are enrolled in the in-state 529 plan.

Contact us right now for a no obligation assessment to understand if we can increase your financial aid and reduce the stress of sending your child to college.

Pell Grant Changes Affect Students

Congress wants to weaken the Pell Grant program that helps parents and student afford college tuition.  The Pell is important form of financial aid that allows millions of low income students to pursue their college education. What about  the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)? The author does not elaborate on this Grant. Many students who are Pell Grant recipients will qualify for FSEOG. Many critics claim that  programs like Pell increase the cost of college. Not true. What has increase the cost of college over the years is the vast availability of Federal  Loans especially the Parent Plus Loan which parents can borrow as much as they want minus the aid originally offered each year.

If you are looking to maximize the financial assistance for your student to attend college, please contact our office today to learn how we can help.

Congress Wants to Weaken the Pell Program. Here’s Why They Shouldn’t.
News Source: huffingtonpost.com

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.

529 Plans Are Good For Parents

Many families do save for college but do not do it correctly for a variety of reasons. One is that they don’t save enough for the appropriate school that the child deserves to attend (private schools). They underestimate the true cost of education. Another mistake, saving the wrong way, a general savings account. Parents should utilize 529 plans. Also, many parents are saving in the child’s name, BIG MISTAKE.

Another reason many parents are exhausting their assets for education is that they are being shortchanged by the financial aid process. Unfortunately the process is convoluted and not user friendly. Less financial aid, more money out of the parents pockets. Contact our office if you like more advice on funding your student(s) education.

Tips For Students On How To Pay For College

Through the years we have seen a number of things students can do to lower their out of pocket cost for their education. First students should always walk into the financial aid office the first day they are on campus and ask if there are any “in house” scholarships they can apply for. Many times there are and students are not aware that they exist.

Other tips include: pursue outside scholarships keeping in mind that they should never pay for a scholarship service. Set up a 529 plan. Whenever possible purchase used textbooks and sell them when they are finished with them. Utilize work study on campus whenever possible. Keep credit card debt at a minimum and always pay it down on time. Choose the right meal plan. Set up a student checking account. Most of them are free. Keep organized regarding their spending habits. Get the right cell phone plan. Utilize alternative transportation. Consider being a resident advisor. Many colleges will offer free or reduce room and board.

If possible, retain a trained expert in the financial aid process. These people can save families thousands of dollars in their 4 year education. Contact us if you would like to learn more.

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