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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 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
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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