Be Strategic When Filing FAFSA For Financial Aid

The article entices you to file the FAFSA immediately. As I have stated countless times, this is not so good advice for many families applying for student financial aid. There is one main reason here. Contact our office for more information.

New Year’s is the best day to apply for college financial aid
News Source: CNN Money

Financial Aid, FAFSA & Undocumented Parents

It was a pleasure to talk with Emily for USA Today and offer important advice for students with undocumented parents. Their pursuit to achieve the best for their education is praiseworthy. As the article states, these students should always file FAFSA if possible. Even though as a non-citizen, the student will not qualify for Federal aid, the FAFSA may stimulate other forms of aid. The student should always ask the financial aid staff for assistance when needed; they are happy to assist in any way possible.

The FAFSA requires Social Security numbers for the student and parents. Ron Ramsdell, founder of Minneapolis-based College Aid Consulting Services, says if your parents are undocumented, you should enter all zeroes for their numbers.

FAFSA application tips for students with undocumented parents
News Source: USA Today

Grandparents, Grandchildren & College

If grandparents are going to financially assist their grandchildren for college, they need to know that student’s assets are assess much higher than the parent’s assets. So, a 529 plan in the student’s name may not be such a good idea. In addition, parents and grandparents should shy away from UTMA’s and UGMA’s for the student. There better ways to save for children that are college bound. Contact our office for more information.

How grandparents can save for their grandchildren’s college
News Source: Deseret News

Chances Are You Can Afford Private College

Students with high academics should always apply to prestigious private colleges. Many students who deserve to attend these schools never apply to them due to “sticker shock”. We have found over the years that many of our students end up attending a private school for around the same price as a state institution. Why? Two reasons; first, private schools have more endowments to tap into. Second, professional guidance. Our clients go through the financial aid process in the most efficient way possible. Knowing how to play the financial aid game is key. Contact us today to learn more.

When you should apply to a college regardless of the cost
News Source: USA TODAY College

Good Question: Can You Borrow Too Much Money For College?

It’s always a pleasure to talk to the WCCO team. I would like to share a couple of things that we did not have a chance to cover.

  1. Students should always utilize subsidize Federal loans (Stafford or Perkins). Why? There is no accruing of interest during the duration of their education and the first payment is not due until 3-6 months after graduation.
  2. Regarding private loans, they should be used as a last resort. If they need to utilize one, always shop around. There could be some good terms out there.

Ron Ramsdell, the founder of College Aid Consulting Services, says every student’s situation is different, but you can certainly borrow too much. “The key is families need to plan ahead.” He said families need to consider a few things like the real cost of college, how much money a student can get in scholarships and gifts, how much parents can and will help, the amount of assets from other family members like grandparents and a student’s starting salary upon graduation.

Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency Act

I definitely don’t see this bill dubbed the Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency Act (FAST) passing for many reasons. Regarding loans, parents need to be more savvy in the financial aid process to retain more gift-aid resulting in less debt with loans. In addition, they need to choose a college based on what they really can afford. The best advice I can give parents is to plan ahead!

What reauthorizing the Higher Education Act means for students
via USA Today

Cost Of College Education To Parents

I found this article worth posting because it states that there are proposed changes in the financial aid process. One of them would allow parents and students to complete the FAFSA using information from two years earlier so they can file it in the fall which would allow them to see how much they would have to pay in the following year earlier. I don’t see this happening for many reasons. I always advise my clients to apply to lower price schools as a backup. I do concur with the author that parents should discuss as much as possible with the student regarding the true cost of their education and the debt they will incur.

Cost of student loans can haunt parents, too
Des Moines Register