college aid- negotiation- college- prep

How to Appeal a College’s Financial Aid to Receive More

college aid- negotiation- college- prep

How to Appeal a College’s Financial Aid to Receive More

Dealing with a Low Ball Offer

This month, we have been going over various types of grants. The last part of this series is perhaps the most important. It has to do with getting schools to compete for you after they have sent a formal offer. The bottom line is you can appeal to the school for more money. This can happen in a couple of different ways. The first is due to hardship. If your family has experienced some financial hardship in the last year that makes the Free Application for Student AID (FAFSA) unrepresentative of your current circumstances, you can appeal to the financial aid officer and present your case. Bear in mind that these have to be legitimate family issues; a parent that was recently laid off their job, a sickness in the family, or some other valid reason. Vet bills for your favorite horse probably don’t apply. Financial officers have the ability and discression to adjust expenses due to out of the ordinary new circumstances. They are people too and have a heart.
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The second appeal is to simply ask for more dollars. Schools can and do low ball their first offers. There is information available that estimates the average percentage of “need” that a college will provide. If the figure you receive is significantly below that average for you as a student, the school is attempting to low ball you. In this case, you can go back to the college and indicate that their offer is below what you believe you can afford and thus ask them to sweeten the pot. If you are a student they want to fill their seats, they are often willing to do so. It never hurts to ask.
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The last appeal is based on competition. If you have a school that wants you and you want to go there but another school is offering a better package, tell the lower bidder. Explain the situation. Express the fact that you would like to go to their school but have other offers from other quality schools that are more cost effective. Provide the low bidder the details of the offer and ask them to meet it. If they want you and the offer is truly competitive, you may be surprised to see how the low bidder will work to get you into their school. Worst case is they won’t do it. Best case is they can up the grant and save you significant dollars.
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Action time.

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College education is a business, a big one. It works like a business in its dealings. While not quite the same as the corner used car lot, there are issues to be considered in reducing your costs and trying to obtain the best deal and still receive a quality education. I would look forward to working with you to help you receive the best value for your education dollar. Feel free to email me of give my office a call for an initial consultation.
Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto

 

 

 

 

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX

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college entrance

Financial Aid: Figuring out What you are Actually Paying for College

college entrance

Financial Aid: Figuring out What You are Actually Paying for College

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This month, we have talked about College Financial AID and how the numbers are worked up. We have been dealing with what is called “Need” and what kind of aid is available to fill this gap. Last week, we talked about government aid. This week, we will briefly discuss grants available from the colleges themselves.
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Grants usually come in the form of “Merit” based aid. Merit aid goes to students that the colleges or universities are targeting to add to their student body. This typically goes to students that work on positioning the 5 different college entrance requirements: high school grades, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and the college entrance essay. For the students that meet these entrance hurdles, colleges can target certain students in the upper qualification echelon with a percentage of aid to meet their “Need.” (Bear in mind that the family still has to pay the Effective Family Contribution (EFC)). So, when you receive offers from the universities or colleges, their grants will be working on this perceived “Need.”
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Here is where you have to be careful regarding the award letters. As mentioned earlier, some letters do not have very accurate Cost of Attendance figures, making the real cost higher then what they send you. Other offers with wrap in various student loans as part of the offer so it becomes important to read the fine print to see exactly what real money is coming out of the schools’ pocket and what will ultimately come out of your pocket and then make a comparison between the schools you are looking at. You may find that one offer that appears to look equal to another has a bottom line that actually has you paying more dollars due to various loans and work programs. Next week we will mention some ways to attempt to get the schools to up the grant.
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 Action Time.

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As you receive offers from schools, make a spread sheet that deals with what you believe is the real cost of attendance, your EFC, the perceived need, the actual grant from the college, the loans that need to be taken out, the contributions based on work-study programs and any other values that you believe you may experience and then calculate how much the real cost for each school. Now you will have a valid cost comparison. I would be glad to review the offers you receive and see how they compare.

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Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto

 

 

 

 

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX

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Figuring out the Maze of College Financial Aid

Sorting out the Maze of College Financial Aid

Figuring out the Maze of College Financial Aid

Sorting out the Maze of College Financial Aid

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Last week we talked about actual college costs and the equation that calculates the Family Need. Just as a refresher, here is the equation:
Cost of Attendance (COA) – (Effective Family Contribution (EFC) + Scholarships) = Need
We mentioned that not all COAs are created equal and to do your research to make sure you know what the final bottom line is. So, to clarify, the equation for the potential out of pocket to the family is:
                                    Out of Pocket = EFC + Need
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For lower income families, the perceived “need” can be covered by various government grants. PELL Grants come from the Federal Government and make up a fairly large portion of grants provided. Most of the PELL Grant dollars go to families with $50,000 of income or less. Information for the PELL grant program can be obtained on the Federal site. One other program is the Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Information about the FSEOG dollars can be obtained on the Government site. These dollars are usually limited to families with EFCs of $0. They are used up very quickly so it is important to file the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form on Jan 1 as the dollars can be gone just that quick. The next source of “need” based aid comes from the states. Some states are more generous than others when dealing out aid to the financial needy. Again, it is important to file the FAFSA early as state dollars also run out quickly as well. Other programs that assist families are related to subsidized and unsubsidized federal loans. These loans, offer interest rates that are typically lower then convention student loans and have some other benefits as well. Do remember that we are talking about the “Need” part of the equation. The family is still responsible for the EFC part of the equation. Loans can fund the “Need” and the EFC.
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Action Time.

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Looking at these two financial aid equations, you can see that it is important to have the lowest possible EFC value. It becomes important to have your college education financial aid house in order to minimize your EFC. That is the first step in working through the process. I work with families to first estimate their current EFC and then, where ever possible, reposition resources to minimize the EFC during the four years of college. That’s right. You have to redo the EFC each year the student is in college. The first step to help me calculate your EFC is to go to my website http://lifeprepcollegeplanning.com and complete the Data Form from the tool bar at the top of the page. Know that I look forward to working with you in the maze of college financial aid.
Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto

 

 

 

 

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX
college tuition

Figuring out Actual College Costs

college tuition

Figuring out Actual College Costs

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This is an exciting time for High School Seniors. The end is in sight. Many are going to be receiving their acceptance offers from the colleges they have applied to. For the next few weeks, lets focus on some math and cost of attendance examples that go along with acceptance letters.
First, it is important to know that not all acceptance letters are equal. Some colleges are in the habit of making their offers look, well, perhaps better then they are. So, lets go over the deal. First off, you should have completed and sent in the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). If you have all the correct financial information for the calculation, the government will send to you and the colleges you put on the form your Effective Family Contribution (EFC). That is the number the government says you can afford to pay for college. You may not agree with them but that is the number! So, what is the first equation?
            Cost of Attendance minus Effective Family Contribution equals Need
Short hand for all of this is:
                                                            COA – EFC = Need
So let’s pick this apart for a few sentences. What is the Cost of Attendance?
Well, that is a good question. Seems apparent but sometimes some things get left out and families face more expenses than the letters state.
Bottom line, Cost of Attendance should include:
                                                Tuition
                                                Room & Board
                                                Texts books
                                                Necessary travel
It would be nice to also have estimates of the following included in the cost of attending:
                                                Lab fees
                                                Personal Expenses
                                                Student Activities
If any of these expenses are left out of the equation, well, the actual cost of attending the school will be misquoted.

Action Time.

Having applied to the colleges of your choice, go to their sites and check out their estimates of their Cost of Attendance or their Net Price calculators. This will give you the ability to compare their Cost of Attendance and Net Price to the cost associated with their offer letters. The differences may be significant. All this takes time and effort but will keep you from having any surprises. We will be covering more about this throughout the month of March. I would be glad to work through the letters with you to help you fully understand the bottom line. Keep in mind that every person’s circumstance will vary and each school has its own format.

 

 

 

 

Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto

 

 

 

 

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX
road map, personal statement, personal vision statement

Create Your Personal Vision Statement

road map, personal statement, personal vision statement

How to Create Your Vision Statement

Last week, we went through a process of figuring out and prioritizing your values. May not be perfect but it is well within the ball park and a reasonable starting point. Agreed?
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Next step is to come up with a “Value Statement” that is unique to you which incorporates the values that are most important you. So take the values and come up with a short, concise statement that really rings your bell loud and clear. Only put down the values and their uses that you can’t live without. Try and make the statement as concise as possible. Often, the shorter it is, the easier it is to remember and the more powerful it is in your life.
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Here is what I came up with for myself.
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The values I determined that were most important to me are Independence/Freedom, Service/Trust, Honest/Integrity, Accomplishment/Production/Zest, Growth, Humor, and Adventure. My value statement in its current form is: Free to serve, grow & laugh through trust, integrity and zest, all for the glory of God. I am trying to hone it down further but each of those values are things I personally find important and want to use in various parts of my life. So, I would challenge you to have some fun with it. Wrestle with it until it is as sharp and meaningful as you can get then live by it. That is the challenging part!

Action Time.

Developing a “Value Statement” can be one of the central parts of a person’s life or the life of a business. If taken to heart, it can keep us on our personal track when making decisions and reviewing actions that we have taken. When you have come up with your own personal “Vision Statement,” you can choose to share it with others or keep it very personal. Steven Covey, a professional who was very respected during his lifetime, had a Value Statement that was very personal and he chose not to share it with the general public. Others are more willing to do so and ask their friends to hold them accountable to this statement of their closely held values. I would look forward to hearing about your processes and what you come up with. By the way, this is part of the process I would use in helping people work through their career and college planning. If you would like some help and encouragement in working through the process, I would look forward to being your coach!

 

 

Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX
core values

What Matters Most: Discovering your Core Values

core values

Getting to the CORE of your VALUES: Discovering your Core Values

Last week I mentioned some personal goals for the year. Over the next few weeks I would like you to consider a process that many have found beneficial in structuring lives, purpose and goals. So, with your permission, we’ll start the process. Here we go. While writing this blog, I have written about values a few times. So here is the exercise.
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Google the phrase “Personal values List.” You will find numerous sites listing values. One of the sites offers some 418 personal values. One site, www.akpsi.org, has a more generic list with some 60+ values. So here is what I would suggest, take the list that rings your bell and write each one down on a 3×5 card. I would choose the one with 60 as I am somewhat lazy! Now, on 5 ‘3×5” cards, write one of the following terms on a card: “Never valued,” “ Seldom valued,” “ Sometimes valued,” “ Often valued,” and “Always valued.”
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Then sort out the values that you have put on 3×5’s based on those 5 cards. Now, take the ones in the “Often” and “Always” valued sort and prioritize them, putting the most valued at the top and the least at the bottom. At the end of the day, you will have listed and prioritized the values that are most important to you. Probably a good exercise. These are the values that are most important to you and hopefully the things that others recognize in you.
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Action Time.

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When you have come up with the top 10 to 15 values, make a list of them. Now here comes the hard part. Mentally go through the list of good friends and relatives. The goal is to ask them if they feel these values represent you well and which ones rise up to the top as seen through their eyes. When they offer their opinions, just say, “That is really interesting” and “Thank you for your input.” No need for discussion here. The goal is to refine the list based on your personal judgment and the judgment of others around you. Multiple opinions from quality people provide input, additional insight and refinement. Take their thoughts into consideration. Now, do your best to come up with your top 5 to 10 values based on this process. I would look forward to hearing from you and the results you come up with.

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Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX
in the clouds, thrive in life, goal setting, achieving goals, mindset

Upgrade Your Life: Achieve More in 2015 with this Mindset

in the clouds, thrive in life, goal setting, achieving goals, mindset

Upgrade Your Life: Achieve More in 2015 with this Mindset

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In preparing to write the blogs for this month, I looked back at the blog for January of 2014. As we are starting a New Year, dealing with the years goals is often appropriate and looking back on the goals from last year as well. So here is reporting time. Last year, there were goals set in the spiritual, mental, relational, physical and recreational side.
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 So here goes.

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 On the spiritual side, I focused on reading one book of the Bible at least once a month and from different versions as well as reading a commentary on that book. I can boast that I achieved my goal. The book I chose was the book of Matthew. I have read it multiple times and am finishing a commentary today by an author who lived in the 1800s. There are a variety of things that have jumped out at me regarding my faith and I have found this very rewarding. I hope to focus on one book again in 2015 and continue the study of the person of Jesus.
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On the mental side, my goal was to read one book a week. Success again. I have had the opportunity of going through some 55 books in a fairly broad range of topics and hopefully have learned and put into practice some of the things I have read. The goal for this year is the same. I am also taking courses to become certified as a Life and Academic Coach and should be finished mid year.
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On the relational side, I will admit falling down. I had a goal to observe the body language of those around me so as to be more sensitive to their needs. I didn’t do well on this one and am going to pursue it again this year.

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On the physical side, my goal was to maintain an exercise routine and lose a few pounds. Partial success. I have maintained the routine and added to it by riding my bike 2 hours each Saturday morning before the rest of my family gets up. I failed to lose the pounds. Goal is to maintain that routine.

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On the recreational side, I had hoped to become familiar with Bach. No go. Had good intentions but failed to follow through by reviewing the goal and setting up times to do it. Goal for 2015 on the recreation side is to go paragliding at least once and start to learn about this fantastic sport. (I have a secret desire to fly and this is as close as I think I will get to it!) So off we go.

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Action Time.

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What about your goals? If you are considering setting goals for the year, consider the areas I have mentioned. I would have you consider goals that are dependent solely on your activity. For example, if you are a student, consider setting goals for progressing in how you learn and not on the grades you earn. Grades are dependent on your efforts and the input of your teacher. You can control your efforts. Your grade may be dependent on a teacher’s opinion. That is something you can’t control. If you are in business, set your goals on activities and adjust the activities to meet the employers’ requirements and/or your personal career goals. If you are a parent, set goals for the activities you want to do and the lessons you desire to teach.

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The mindset is to do your part. Your personal identity or achievement shouldn’t be dependent on the results.   Write them down, carry them with you and review regularly. I would look forward to hearing some of the goals you set and working with you to be accountable toward reaching them.
Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto
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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX