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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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
college searching

College Searching: Where Do You Start?

college searching

College Searching: Where Do You Start?

 

The fall part of the semester for seniors can be a pressure pot. You have your school load, your personal life, and college stuff. College stuff like: What schools should I be looking at? When are the applications due? Do I need an entrance essay and what should I write about? What are my chances of being accepted at my top choices? How much are they going to cost? Where will my family get the money?
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If you aren’t a senior yet, see what you have to look forward to?!
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So, I would suggest you think about this stuff earlier, a lot earlier, say as a sophomore. If you lay the groundwork for all these decisions, as a senior, the basic thing you will need to do is just the application process; the decisions will have been made.
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So what is the process?
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Well, I would first start with figuring out what you might like to do as a career. That is one of the most fulfilling and cost effective things to do. The stats say that some 60% of the students that have a general ideal as to a career path stay in the major they start and have a good chance of graduating in 4 to 5 years. For those who have no clue, some 90% change majors at least once in during their college career. Not a very good set up. It takes longer to graduate, costs more money, delays starting out your career and the experience you would get, class credits don’t transfer, etc. Did I mention it costs more money? Yea, I did but you need to hear it again. That stuff, money I mean, don’t grow on trees.
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Action Time!

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So what’s a kid to do?
A first item of business is to take some kind of personality-values-skills test. There are a number of options available. Talk to your guidance counselor as to what your school offers. Often, schools have a platform that allows their students to take a career guidance test. Naviance is probably the best-known platform that many schools offer.
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Some other public sites are:
Checkoutacollege.com
Education.com
Educationplanner.org
Yourfreecareertest.com
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These tests take 15 to 30 minutes to take and will generate a broad spectrum of results. Before you take one, check out their privacy policy and how they will communicate with you after you take the survey. Last thing you want is a bunch of unwanted emails from now until….
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Having taken the survey, print out the results, and then put each career on a card. Next, make up 5 more cards. They are: Won’t ever find me there; I might do that but maybe not; getting warmer; very interesting; I would do that even if they didn’t pay me!

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If you are really into this, take two different surveys from two different sites, put the results on separate cards and do separate sorts. Now, see what groups of occupations consistently fit in the “I would do that even if they didn’t pay me” category again and again.
Got the picture?
The ones in this group are probably something you should look into further! Give it a try. By the way, this is the first part of the process I help students work through before they even think about looking at any colleges. If that makes sense, you will probably be pleased with the rest of what we do. I would look forward to hearing from you.
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

 

How to Become More Creative & Innovative

The Secret to Becoming More Creative and Innovative

How to Become More Creative & Innovative

How to Become More Creative and Innovative

The battle is a small skirmish between two neighboring tribes.  One tribe fought with spears, the other with bows and arrows. The tribe with arrows had discovered a potion that if placed on the tip of the arrow, would decommission the victim.  This potion came from vegetation they fed to their goats.  While it made humans sick, the goats enjoyed the roughage. The enemy tribe knew the potion wasn’t fatal if dealt with quickly.  
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The battling issue was relatively insignificant yet people are launching deadly spearsand arrows at one another. One of the great warriors was shot with an arrow laced with potion.  As he stands with the arrow in his leg, his loud curses halt the skirmish.  The numbing pain of the potion streamed through the strong body of this great warrior. Believing the wound to be fatal, he demands to look the enemy who shot this deadly arrow in the eye. A weak puny warrior steps forward as the perpetrator. The great warrior wails his condition and villianizes his opponent, demanding to know how and why he could do such a horrific act and especially to this great warrior.  Don’t they know who he is?  As he lay dying, cursing his fate, in his last breath, he demands an apology from the perpetrator. He is gone. His fellow warriors wail their loss.  The enemy goes back home, mocking the foolishness of their enemy, lifting this meager warrior on their shoulders; they take pride in the success of the battle. (How is that for drama?)
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In the same skirmish, a few bushes down, another of the tribesmen suffers a similar wound.  In all the commotion surrounding the great warrior, this warrior quickly pulled the arrow from his side. Having witnessed the effects of this potion in a skirmish between different tribes, this warrior had discovered a neutralizing remedy.  It was madeof some other vegetation and saliva from a goat. (He read tea leaves a lot and discovered the answer one day while relaxing, sipping tea and reading the leaves.) This observant warrior quickly retreats to his remedy stash in the pouch he cared just incase and treats the wound.  He survived.  His fellow warriors are amazed at his recovery.  They are willing to pay any amount to buy this mysterious solution.  Our survivor starts to mass produce the potion, builds a pharmaceutical company,employees his fellow tribesman to positions of great responsibility and industry, disarms the enemy and hires them at minimum wage to swab the throats of goats.
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Action Time.

Well, not all the pieces of the story fit perfectly.  It was fun making it up. Two types of warriors.  Ones who bemoan their state, minor or major that it may be, fall victim to some action and are decommissioned from the joys of life.  Others deal with the circumstances.  They see and come to know the problem.  They disarm it and use their experience to benefit themselves and others.  What is your problem?  What experiences or relationships do you have that can help develop a solution?  What actions are you going to take to resolve it?  How might those actions benefit you or others around you in the future? When are you going to deal with it?  I would look forward to hearing about your potions and the arrows you pull out.   

 

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

 

FAFSA college tuition, college fees

Preparing for the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA)

FAFSA college tuition, college fees

Preparing for the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA)

Some years ago, the Federal Government put together a process to try to level the tuition playing field for families of differing incomes and assets. They devised a Worksheet for the student/parent to complete and thus determine what the family, in theory, should afford in putting a student through college. It’s this thing called the Free Application for Student Aid or FAFSA form. Parents and students divulge their income and resources and the government calculates some number called the Effective Family Contribution or EFC. The number goes to all the schools that you list on the form. The schools use the EFC number and their “List Price’ and their own financial aid formula to determine how much if any they might be willing to give you in the form of Student Aid. So, they usually send you an offer in the spring as to what you will need to spend and what they are willing to offer in the form of Aid. That is the quick and dirty. The FAFSA can be sent in as early as January 2nd for the following school year and it is important to get it in on the 2nd as the results quickly go out to schools and the schools start their budgeting process. Late filers seldom obtain school grants as the “early bird catches the worm!” (How does it feel being called a “worm?”)

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Well, one important process is to get the EFC down as low as you can and that can take some preparation. First you need to know what assets and income are reportable and counted toward the EFC. Some assets that aren’t counted are: home equity, 401k/IRA/403B values, annuity values, life insurance cash values, values of business with less than 100 employees, family farms, restricted bank accounts and some other unexpected financial aid. So, those are all the things off the radar scene. Now, EFC calculating guys don’t take into consideration your cash flow. They are just interested in how much your family makes and how much cash or reserves you have. So, one thing to consider is if your family has some cash and you have some existing debt and the interest on the debt is more than what you are getting on the account, pay down the debt. For some, they can put more into their retirement accounts and live off savings to draw down the savings account prior to completing the FAFSA form. You need to be careful here as there can be a look back period as to how much you contribute to your retirement accounts and that will be added back into your income. This whole FAFSA thing can be challenging as the rules get convoluted very quickly.

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Action Time.

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 The process can be challenging and somewhat frustrating. I know you won’t consider fudging the books as you are too honest to do that. Besides, many of the FAFSA applications are audited and it is considered a crime to cook the books. One helpful website is www. bigfuturecollegeboard.org it offers a variety of useful resources and some valuable answers to some questions for the do it yourself. On the other hand, you can go to a pro. We work with you to prepare the FAFSA. Check out our site at www.lifeprecollegeplanning.com. You will find a button called “Data Form” you will find a Fact Finder that organizes your information. Then, we work with you to determine your current EFC and potential ways to reduce it. Advanced preparation is really important. Be the Early Bird.

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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
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photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images via photopin cc

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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
 

 

How to Start Healthy and Productive Relationships

happy relationships
One benefit of going to college is the relationships that one develops with peers and instructors. The roles one takes on campus and in their personal life are often indicative of the paths they will take in relationships and careers. Some of the people you meet in high school and college will be friends and acquaintances for the rest of your life.   These relationships can be uplifting or debilitating.
Dr. John Gottman has developed a variety of measurements on marital relationships and does so from a few interesting angles, including Game Theory. If you know anything about Game Theory, you may be wondering how or why a psychologist would use this math concept to deal with relationships. I will let you figure that out. Now this isn’t a blog about marriage so don’t worry, I’m not going there. Dr. Gottman does offer some important characteristics to consider in people that you would want to develop lasting relationships with. His big 5 are: Honesty, transparency, accountability, ethical actions and proof of alliance.
Honesty is self-explanatory. For Gottman, transparency is sharing details with you and introducing you to things and people that are important to the person. If they are unwilling to offer this basic information, what else may be going on that you may not be comfortable with? Accountability is not requesting that you just trust the person but he or she is willing to give details of important stuff. Ethical action speaks for itself. Proof of alliance is demonstrating that the person is on your side even in small ways and not only acting in their own self-interest.
If a person consistently fails on these basic issues, they probably aren’t people you want to develop a close and lasting relationship with. They may be good acquaintances, but may not be a good fit as a trusted friend.

Action Time

Consider going through Gottman’s big 5 in some of the relationships you currently have.
First off, how do you personally rate? Oops!   How can you improve? What steps can you take to become a more trustworthy acquaintance? How are you going to do that? Who will you hold yourself accountable to in following up? Having looked in the mirror first? How would you use this list to develop friendships in the future?
In the acquaintances you now have, how can you use these to strengthen good relationships and lessen poorer acquaintances? Now, don’t prejudge people but also don’t look through rose-colored glasses. Hey, let me know what you come up with and the steps you take.
Want to learn more? 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

 

 

 

 

Padres, tony-gwynn, field of dreams

Batting to Your Strengths

Padres, tony-gwynn, field of dreams

Batting to Your Strengths

 

One of my favorite baseball players has been Tony Gwynn. I had the privilege to live in San Diego and watch the career of Tony Gwyn with the San Diego Padres through the 80s, 90s and shortly into the 2000s. Tony recently passed away at a relatively young age due to cancer. I will have fond memories of his skill with a bat and the ability to place a line drive between the short baseman and third, a place he called the 5.5 hole, at some of the most opportune times. Tony’s strength was getting on base and hitting for the batting averages. His life time record was an amazing 338, placing him number 16 on the career highest batting average list. In 1994, he hit an amazing 394, the closest run to hitting 400, since the great Ted Williams in 1941. Tony wasn’t known as the long ball hitter yet he hit over 100 home runs in his career. He could sure put the ball into play and do so with consistency. He was and will be known as Mr. Padre. He was an icon in San Diego and will be fondly remembered and greatly missed to all who love baseball.

Action Time!

Many times, when talking or observing people, if you pay close attention and observe their actions, you can pick up an area where someone is exhibiting strength. There may be a quickening in speech, an improvement in posture or some basic rise in energy or enthusiasm.  When you catch this, offer the friend or acquaintance a label of honor, embracing that as their strength and encouraging them to make use of it. In interacting with some of your friends, ask about what accomplishments they are most proud of and see if you can’t pin a strengths label on it. Practice that skill and see how many strength labels you can create for your friends and acquaintances. You never know, some day you may become known as Mr. or Ms. Strength.
Want to learn more? 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