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Making a College Visit Pay-Off

Oct 17, 2019

A visit to a college campus is a very important part of the process of finding a college that is a great academic, social and financial fit.  The very first point: make sure your son or daughter is enthusiastically on-board and engaged in making the plans.


That sounds odd, doesn’t it, “to win the financial aid game.”  You don’t have to stretch very far to see that the financial aid process has characteristics of a game: there is a rulebook, a referee (the U.S. Department of Education), a defined time period and rewards at the end for the winners.  Unfortunately, as we’ve recently learned, there are cheaters too.


On October 1, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”) will be available. High school seniors and college students continuing into Academic Year 2020-21 will need to file a new form to be eligible for aid in the 2020-21 Academic Year. FASFA allows students to participate in federal student aid programs, including the Direct Student Loan Program, the Pell Grant Program, Work-Study, and other federal aid programs. Without filing, students will not be eligible for these programs. 





Paying for college can be one of the most stressful parts of the college experience.  It’s essential to know all of the options to chip away at a big bill.  Financial Aid Award letters include grants and scholarships (free money with few strings attached), loans (need to be repaid) and earned-aid (usually work-study) – a guaranteed part-time job.  Part-time jobs, either under the work-study program or not, offer valuable opportunities for students to earn money, reduce debt, and gain valuable experience.



Credit is the ability to use debt to purchase goods or services based on the trust that the individual can repay the debt. Lenders such as credit unions and banks evaluate borrowers credit to make student loans, home mortgages and credit cards.



There are many types of bank accounts that students will find useful in the coming years. We’ve already discussed savings plans specifically for college in another article, so this is an overview of some other basic financial accounts. Keep in mind, most of these accounts are Government-insured, meaning the first $250,000 of an individual’s total deposits are protected against a bank/credit union failure through the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) for banks or NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) for credit unions.