When it comes to paying for college, the process can seem overwhelming. There are so many financing options out there and you might be feeling lost about how to choose the correct ones for your family. The key is to equip yourself with information so that you can have the knowledge you need to make an informed decision, especially if taking out a student loan.
When you buy expensive things -- a TV, a car, a house --, you most likely take more and more time to carefully consider the risks, rewards, and probable outcomes associated with the purchase as the price increases. No one wants to waste hard-earned money. In addition to knowing the purchase price, you will likely have a good handle on the ultimate cost, including after-purchase expenses such as maintenance and insurance. This is true for nearly all consumer transactions -- except for purchasing an education.
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.
Wouldn’t it be great to have enough money -- whether scholarships, grants, income or savings -- to cover all the costs? Unfortunately, with sky-rocketing college costs, this is not the reality for most families. The gap filler for most is a loan. This then begs the question of which loan is best for you.
Federal and state governments, colleges, and private third-parties offer grants and scholarships to help pay for college.
Unlike other parts of the financial aid package, grants and scholarships are free money, they don’t have to be repaid like loans or earned such as a work-study award.