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

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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
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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

 

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
 

 

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Stop Making Financial Flops. Start Taking Charge of Your Finances

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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