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
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Paying for College: Plan for Success

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Paying for College: Which College is Your Best Fit?

Sometimes in the stock market, the closing price on a stock one day is significantly different then the opening price the following day. It can be up or down and is called gapping up or gapping down. Now this isn’t a blog for investment advice so don’t think I am giving it to you. We do talk about life issues and college planning so I thought I’d add that random comment to set you up for a concept in the cost of college called “Gapping.”
So, here it is.
Let’s say you have been a diligent camper and searched out the cost of your dream school. The cost for classes, room, board and other expenses is $47,532. You have gone to a Cost Calculator and estimated your Effective Family Contribution to be $14,532. That’s the amount the government says your family can afford. You have great grades and know that you are potentially eligible for $20,000 of merit based aid. You qualify for government loans of $6,000 and you are willing to participate in a work study program that will generate another $4000. So here’s the math: $47,532 – ($14,532+$20,000+$6000+$4000) =$3000. The $3000 is the gap that you have to come up with on top of the $14,352 of EFC and the $6000 of government loans and the $4000 of work study. This school is gonna cost some $27,000 of out the pocket of somebody close to you. And that is each year!
Well, there are some schools that can be more generous. (They are also harder to get into!) They will, through merit and need based grants, and your families’ EFC eliminate the Gap.
There is a great site, www.collegeboard.com that allows you to search for information about college costs. One of the outputs is the percentage of students that have their full need met. If this number is fairly high, you can be fairly assured that you won’t get “Gapped.” If it is low, you might look elsewhere for a better deal.

 Action Time.

Paying for college is a daunting thing. Like anything else, it’s important to have a process and put in the effort. At least two things can happen. You’ll be satisfied in the deal you find and if you work hard while in college you will get a good education and feel good success. Now, ain’t that brilliant!
We have a process and I would look forward to sharing it with you. Check out our website at www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com for more information. Let me know how I can be of service.
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

 

The One Thing You Should Do Before Heading out to College

The One Thing You Should Do Before Heading out to College

Preparing to Leave for College, Do this One thing First

The day has come or at least it is coming soon. You have been accepted to one of the colleges you have applied to and your travel date is just around the corner or you have been in school for a few years and will shortly be leaving for the last year or two of school. For most of the readers of this blog, you have reached the age of majority and are considered adults. While you may yet be on your parents health insurance plan, decisions about your health are considered your own and you may be the one making decisions for your own care. That sounds really cool and is part of the road to adulthood. Congratulations!!
There is a small issue.
There may be some situations where important medical decisions need to be made and you are not physically able to make them. You may be a few hundred or thousands of miles from home and in a different state with different rules as to the age of majority and therefore the release of medical information.
Ouch (literally!). What are you to do?

Action Time.

This isn’t a pleasant thought but an ounce of preparation can be worth a pound of cure. Now, don’t think this is legal advice, cause I can’t give that. What I do know is that due to a law abbreviated as HIPPA, if a student goes into the campus health clinic, you most likely will be asked to sign a form so the medical office can release medical information to anyone requesting it, including mom or dad.
Now, to keep your parents from major grief and lots of yelling over the phone at someone who really can’t do anything (they can hang up!), you can be a thoughtful kid. Contact your College Health Clinic and ask them to email you a medical release form. This may be specific to that school or a more general form that can be used anywhere. Read the thing and if appropriate, sign it and have an adult or notary witness you doing so. Make a copy and give it to the responsible adult.
 An alternative is to go to a site, www.caringinfo.org. This site provides state specific Advanced Directive forms that you can print and complete. It is a heavy-duty legal document and therefore, really serious stuff, so be sure to treat it that way. After discussing it with your parents or guardian, take the appropriate actions and measures to deal with the topic. Once done, you shouldn’t have to worry about it. I don’t like being heavy but, well, that is the world we live in. If you have any thoughts, I would look forward to hearing from you.
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
 

How to Negotiate With Colleges. Yes! It’s Possible.

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Get Colleges to Compete for You & Learn How to Handle Their Financial Negotiations

This is an exciting time of year for high school seniors.  Lots of once in a life time memories are happening.  For some student athletes, they will be participating in the last game of its kind.  The Senior Prom is on the books.  The process of applying to colleges has passed for most (or at least it should have!) and offers from various colleges either have been received or will be in the very near future.  On the college attendance issue, it is decision time… or is it?  One of the services we offer to students is helping them get to a point where colleges compete for the student and equipping the student to obtain additional funding where at all possible.  College is a business and the colleges that offer grants approach the distribution as a business.
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Now what do I mean by that?

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Well, sometimes the first offer that you get isn’t the best offer and there is room for negotiation.  One basis is that your family has had a change of circumstances financially and the information on the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) does not reflect the new ongoing position of the student or their family.  In this case, you have the ability to communicate to the college your new circumstances and appeal to the college for additional grant money.  Here a letter acknowledging the current offer, explaining the new circumstances and the students desire to attend that particular college with a reasonable basis for additional funds can often open the purse of the college for additional thousands of dollars.  All for the cost of a post stamp and a few hours constructing the letter.  Another option is using the offers from different colleges as leverage to the school of choice stating that the cost of their school is not competitive with these other offers and if a better offer is made that puts the school more in line with other offers and costs, the student will gladly sign on the dotted line.  Now the issue becomes how badly the college wants the student and how far they are willing to open their purse to attract the student.

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Action Time!

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If you have applied to at least 6 different colleges and the offers put them all in the same ball park, both financially or academically, it is now a matter of personal choice.  On the other hand, if the offers are significantly different, negotiations are in order.  As a student, consider communicating to the college of choice your desire to attend but you have other offers that are more financially appealing.  A letter with a copy of the other offers and a request for additional funds might reduce the amount you otherwise have to finance.  Give it a shot and see what happens.  The worst that can happen is they rescind the first offer, which if your letter is respectful, is unlikely.  What may happen is that the offer gets sweeter.  I would look forward to hearing about your offers and what happens when you bargain.
Don’t miss out on all the tips, tricks, and articles  I share on “Coach Rossitto”  to help you thrive in Life!

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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

 

What do Colleges look for in an Applicant?

What Makes for an Interesting College Applicant?

Joy in your Teenager can make the Difference

happy girl, smile, laughter, confident
As a teen growing up, I worked in a gas station.  Being around cars and discovering how they worked became a hobby and something that help me save money and avoid making wrong car related decisions over the years. I purchased and partially restored a 1955 Ford pickup. I did much of the process myself.  I rebuilt and installed a custom engine and transmission.  I rewired all the electronics and made a new instrument cluster.  I had to have the drive shaft re-engineered.  I made a mistake in measuring the length and had to have the drive shaft redone.  I knew all about that truck and would gladly tell you about it then and do so again today.  I enjoyed that truck in a greater fashion then someone else that simply drove it and experienced some of its features (it was really fast!). Now, you might think this is just a favorite story of some guy.  Yea, you’re right!  In telling the story, I get excited because that experience was one that I was intricately involved in every part of.  The more involved in the process, the further down in detail one becomes, the more in the flow you will become. Flow is a term coined by M. Csikszentmihalyi (how would you like to be a kid and have to write that every day?), on gratification. It is here we experience what some call “Joy.”   That “Joy” is something that enhances our life experience.  It takes effort and observation and time and more effort and closer observation and more time and  … I think you get the picture.  It is worth the pursuit.

Action Time

One part of my financial services practice is working with families of high school students.  I help the families position their finances in appropriate places to help reduce the Expected Family Contributions.  More importantly, I enjoy working with the student to help them become an interesting student.  Interesting students are ones who are good academically but also are deep into some extra circular activity in which they find “Joy.”  “Joy” comes out in a college entrance application and catches the eye of the admissions officers and committees. What activities are you involved in and how can you get deeper into that item or event?  I look forward to hearing about your interest and ways you dive into it.
Did you like this article?  ”Like” it or “Share” it to motivate others. And don’t forget to like me on Facebook>> “Coach Rossitto

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To Your Success!

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 Representatives associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX