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

How to Know What Your Major Should be

college planning

How to Know What Your Major Should Be: Creating a College Plan

A contest was held at a local county fair. The goal of the contest was to guess out the weight of a dressed out ox. A local statistician took the guesses and using simple math found the average of all the guesses provided by the contestants. It was within a few pounds of the actual weight of the ox, some 1800 pounds. No single guess came as close as the average of all the guesses. A similar finding was made when a submarine sank of the east coast. The location of the last radio signal provided the last known location. Time and effort to locate the sub went for naught. Again, a local statistician went to a variety of sources familiar with different aspects of ocean navigation, current strength, submarine fuel conception, etc, and asked them for their best guess. Processing their best guesses, he offered a location for the lost submarine. It was found some 200 yards from the place recommended by our local statistician. Again, this point was better than the closest estimate from any of the best of class professionals helping to find the lost vessel.
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So what’s the deal?
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Obtaining a variety of opinions from various sources and in some fashion blending them together can provide the potential for more reliable results and can lead to viable solutions. I would suggest that it can be a confidence builder when seeking out direction in many of life’s challenges.
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Action Time.
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One of the challenges of going to college is what career path should you go after. Here is what I believe offers a reasonable starting point and is a service we provide. First, you list all the efforts that you would do for free and get a buzz after doing them. Next, we have a sorting process that has the seeker sort out occupations based on most desirable to least desirable. Lastly, we obtain the results from a computer generated career profiling service and list the jobs that the client is most qualified for and is most interested it. There is usually some overlap between the three results. That’s the sweet spot of careers to consider. Next step is to job shadow professionals in those careers. That’s like going on a date! Some you want to see again and again. Others, well not so much.
After going through these steps, you can research what majors support the career and then seek colleges that best fit your career and personal aspirations. Reasonable starting point wouldn’t you say? With college and time being of great value, it makes sense to have a game plan. This is part of the college planning process we make available. I would look forward to hearing from you and helping further your career and college search.
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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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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 Your Brain Perceives Time

Brain-and-time

We celebrated my oldest daughter’s birthday a few weeks back. The gathering was at our home and her in-laws were some of the guests that came to celebrate. Her father-in-law was speaking with our 9-year-old daughter and I was part of the conversation. He was recalling that as a child, time seemed to drag on an on. The days seemed to take forever to go by. He further commented that, now, the days seem to fly by and tomorrow is yesterday before you realize that it was today.
As you think about that, I would suggest that it is the means our brain perceives things. The movement of time is a fixed entity for most realized intents and purposes. Yet we perceive otherwise. Often when you are driving to a new location, it seems like it takes far longer to get there then the return trip, even though the time interval may be exactly the same. This has to do with the new path your brain is recording as you traverse the new course. Once you have been there, the path is old news and your brain adjusts more rapidly to it on the return trip. This is the same concept as muscle memory in sports or other physical activity.
If you have been following this blog, you will recognize this theme so why bring it up again? Well, in some of the coaching I do with students, I encourage them in the process of reading. The process is to read the table of contents, then the major topic headings of a chapter, then the first and last paragraph of the topic and then quickly scan more thoroughly through the chapter to gather the information it has to offer. You will be able to do this in considerably less time than the standard reading word for word process and in the end, often absorb more information than the standard reading process. This is the same concept as preparing to go to a new location and in parallel to how your brain perceives the gathering of information.
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Action Time.

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A course that I make use of to increase my speed of reading is “7 Speed Reading”. You can google it to find the course and if you choose, buy it to enhance your own reading. The course offers a variety of eye exercises that expand your vision path and how you look over the page while reading. Just like swinging a bat, it uses the process over and over to retrain your brain in the way you read. The site offers some tests to check the speed at which you read as well as your comprehension. In using the course, I have increased my reading speed as well as my comprehension. This gives me more time to do other things yet still gather information to improve my knowledge base. Think about what you might be able to do if you could get through your reading assignments in half the time! Check it out. Let me know what you experience.
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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: josemanuelerre 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
 

 

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