November is THE Month ….……
If you are a PARENT of college bound student who is deep into the process of searching, applying and wondering “how in earth” am I going to pay for college, November is your month. If you’re a recent COLLEGE GRADUATE, this is your month. Time to settle up and begin repayment!
Shout Out to Mom’s and Dad’s
As a parent of my own four (and working with others), turning up the November heat was not just do to the chill in the air. Planning and paying for college hit home in November as college search list narrowed, the Common Application was submitted to meet early action and Thanksgiving deadlines [this one is my own] and final campus tours were completed. Although the investigation into the “match/fit” of a college and “academic recruitment” conversations with Admissions Counselors and Coaches should continue, November turns the page from where to how! “How in earth” are we going to pay for college. Equally important as the first part, the process of determining eligibility for financial aid and other types of tuition assistance is critical to the overall selection of an affordable and right fit college for a student after high school.
Learn What You’ll Need to Contribute
On October 1, the U.S. Department of Education released its newest version of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Every student interested in federal, institutional and some scholarships need to be focused on filing the FAFSA. Why? It is the universal application for financial aid, used by every school small and large, public and private, technical/community college and traditional. Unless you were the “1” in 302,575,350 to hit the $650 million in the October MA drawing you and hundreds of other parents of college bound students need to file the FAFSA Application. The Application process is used to determine the “expected family contribution” (EFC), a calculation that determines a student’s overall “financial need” and eligibility for grants, self-help and other aid. It calculates need-based aid for Federal, State and College financial aid programs. I can hear you saying “heck, were all needy” and yes that could be true. So, to get to the conversation going on how much and from where will aid be awarded, open up your browser and type www.fafsa.gov.ed. If you already filed the FAFSA, congratulation. Now you can look deeper into affordability.
For many students and parents waiting to hear about acceptance decisions and eligibility for financial aid can be stressful. Following a simple communication plan, students should continue to engage Admissions Counselors in conversation expressing one’s interest and desire to attend. Although the final determination of whether a college is going to be truly affordable will not be learned until college recruitment and all $$$ (merit scholarships and need-based) is awarded, families using a Net Price Calculator can quickly calculate a colleges affordability. Understanding college cost and the affordability factor will make for a successful selection, the “right fit” institution for all.
May College Graduates
For the newest group of graduates November marks, the reality that student loan repayment is beginning. Managing student loan debt (federal and/or private) can be an eye-opening experience especially for the graduate who did not keep a watchful eye on how much borrowing was occurring wile in-school and the impact on one’s debt when they finished. Fortunately, there ways from recent graduates as well as current payers to address managing student loan debt. The most important begins with educating oneself on benefits and features of student loan repayment programs (www.studentaid.gov.ed) followed closely by dialing one’s cell phone and speaking with the organization (loan servicer) handling the account(s). Eligible borrowers can turn to a number of resources to help establish a repayment program that fits current financial strength and weaknesses. This might include Income contingent repayment schedules, loan consolidation and student loan refinancing. But it all begins with knowing one’s options and making the call.
Just Starting the College Planning Process – Download your free College Planning Checklist