Hello September

Hello September

Leaders of many major colleges and universities announced this week, May 18th that their campuses would once again have students attending classes and living in dorms. Ithaca College, Boston College,  Notre Dame, among many, are planning to be open for business this Fall. Modifications will be part of the openings with conditions geared to protect the wellbeing of students while allowing for in-person learning.

For students and families, this is welcoming news. As recent as last week, 64% of incoming and returning college students surveyed by The Chronicle of Higher Education indicated a strong desire to be back on campus. For parents, questions remain, many associated with the health of students as well as the cost to attend. Those related to social distancing and the use of masks will need to be defined; the return to campus will likely mean that cost will remain. Adjustments associated with financial aid appeals tied to COVID-19 and a family’s ability to meet tuition costs should remain ongoing; however, students and families need to prepare for the arrival of the first-semester college bill.

Students attending institutions where online learning will continue through the fall semester should be contacting their college or university to confirm college costs.

Paying the Bill

Due to the current pandemic, students and families should be analyzing their plan to pay the college bill. Parents should investigate all concerns related to changes in employment, income, and other credit-related needs that could affect consumer borrowing.

In 2008, the last time we experienced an economic credit concern, many educational lenders pulled out of the private student loan marketplace.   Many families experienced a ripple effect causing problems over secure critical resources to assist with meeting college costs.

We do not anticipate this happening as a result of COVID-19; Credit criteria, lender access, and overall availability of resources may be subject to change in the coming months.

Students and families who may require financing resources should calculate their net educational costs, gap, and, if needed, complete education loan applications early. Federal and private education loans are common resources used by first-year and returning college students/families. Students and families should consult with their college or universities financial aid website for information on the use of educational loans

Health Insurance: Students who will continue under the family health insurance plan should sign and submit a WAIVER to avoid being charged by the school.  

 COVID-19 Community Commitment: FREE Until 2021

Whether you are a Student, Parent or Educator looking for college planning support in uncertain times, Pivotal College Years is making the College Planning Portal for Families FREE to EVERYONE. EVERYTHING you need for college planning in one place.



If college is in your cards for 2021, now’s the time to make college planning the focus. Yes, early dismissal and online learning have left a sour taste for this junior year, but letting it take over will mean regrets in the Fall.

Using this time wisely will offer huge rewards. Here are a few things that you should be doing before the real summer break begins.

Clean up FB and all social media. Colleges and universities will stop looking behind the curtain for misbehaving.

Put on your salesman hat and recruit your schools

  • Use a Gmail account to communicate with college representatives, access scholarships, and live in a college-bound world.
  • Attend virtual college fairs, and when a college reaches out, begin the networking process. BUT
  • Go beyond just asking for information and colorful viewbooks. Recruit the recruiter. Get to know your institutions of interest and help the schools get to know you!
  • Create a 90-second description of why you want to attend college, what you want to gain from experience, and, most importantly, what you will bring to the campus. Be ready to use it. Step one of selling yourself!
  • Do some number crunching, cost, aid awarded, enrollment (+ or -) & transfer out, to name a few.

Testing is to measure your academic strengths and benchmark your college readiness. While thinking of taking the test, keep in mind 1400+ institutions (as of May 18) have declared they are test-optional, not requiring the test as part of admission requirements on their campus. Many highly selective schools are also looking at implementing a trial postponement of the test for one to three years. Taking the SAT, ACT, or any other test that comes should meet the student’s goals and needs without raising stress and anxiety levels. SATs (August dates and beyond) and ACT (June 13 plus Fall).

Keep working your college list – keep your search, evaluation going https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search. Use virtual tours, connect with current students, and speak with faculty to set up YOUR list of interested institutions.

Start your Common Application www.commomapp.org, create your college list, learn guidelines and requirements, and start paying attention to the process. Check out the areas requiring information on you and your family and prep for the Questions. Leave your Essay for the Summer!

Learn more (a lot more) and paying the bill – learn what your EFC (family contribution) www.studentaid.gov will be, what a private and public college will cost https://collegecost.ed.gov/net-price  and how, ultimately to pay the bill https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. Knowing the answer will make shopping for college, real and affordable!

Look under the rocks – scholarships, large and small; those through the high school, work, and on the web. Ask us about our Kitchen Table Scholarship Guide. Sadly many scholarship providers this year have not had enough applicants. Perfect for those who did apply!  Invest the time, and rewards might pay off.

Stik to the College Plan – keep calm, keep communication open within the household, and ask questions of School Counselors, colleges, and your adviser.

If you are now feeling a wave of anxiety, were sorry. There is a lot. That’s why we do what we do. Start with a free call.