2021-2022 – Over

We congratulate our graduating seniors, high school and college, as the school year ends. The Class of 2022 and their younger classmates have overcome unprecedented personal and academic challenges. They have championed through and demonstrated resilience and determination. Parents, educators, and members of the family support network, we thank you for the gifts you provide to the lives of your children and students.

Special shout out to Mariana, Hannah, Michael, Franklin, Brooke, Derek, Celeste, Jack, Cameron, Sofia, and Valerie. You are all going to be very successful in September and throughout your four years of college.

Spoiler Alert
The journey is still underway. Take time to break, relax and recharge, but don’t lose the momentum from the spring. Here is my summer 360-degree FAMILY planning checklist:

College Graduates

  • If you do not have a job lined up, look to your resources and network for introductions and help to schedule informational meetings. Relationships and contacts created through the likes of LinkedIn, friends, and relatives can make your job searching process quicker and easier.
  • Leaving college with educational debt means repayment begins in November. Use the early summer months to learn the rules of repayment and your loan benefits to effectively prepare to manage your loan obligations. Don’t forget to create your new financial and lifestyle budget.
  • If the following steps are a graduate school, find your path and start the application process (again).

Returning College Students

  • Take a minute or two to investigate your financing plan for years two, three, or four. Is it set in stone, or are modifications and changes needed? If needed, schedule a meeting with financial aid to discuss changes to your family’s picture and the potential need for more assistance.
  • Spend time researching scholarships. Yes, private philanthropic donors set aside funds for returning college students. Not hundreds, but maybe for you. Sign up for Pivotal College Years and download a copy of their Scholarship Workbook – www.pivotalcollegeyears.com
  • Need help academically? Hire a tutor/coach to boost your academics

Incoming First-Year College Students

  • Complete the tasks and assignments required by your college or university. Many of these responsibilities are explained at the orientation or found in the student portal. Final transcript, immunization records, course selection, and resolving tuition bill payments are some of your to do’s
  • Find a job or continue to work where you were during high school. Spending money will be needed during the years.
  • Tuition bills are coming – step back and review your financing strategy to ensure the resources you plan to use are still possible.
  • Keep reading and learning – especially for young men

High School Students

  • Rising seniors, you should be focused on perfecting your college list, kick-starting your Common Application, continuing your communications with your schools, and brainstorming for your essay.
  • New 8th to 11th-grade students, your focus varies but should include frank and realistic conversations regarding setting goals and expectations, the ability to finance college, and the type of education path ahead.
  • These are challenging discussions but a must. The rules for admissions and financial aid have changed. Understanding the rules and how they apply to a student and a family’s needs is critical.
  • Visit Pivotal College Years or your high school website to download grade-level checklists that outline the college planning process’s over 150 tasks, responsibilities, and activities.
Don’t Wait …. Show Your Interest
Today, college-bound 11th-grade students need to introduce themselves and work to educated schools of their interests and academic and personal talents. It’s no secret that colleges and universities purchase students’ names and information. Part of their sophisticated enrollment management plans to target prospective students. But receiving an email or glossy brochure does not define a relationship. Using digital and traditional communication methods, students need to step forward, build relationships, and raise awareness about their interests. It’s critical in today’s college recruitment environment.
Anything Else

Education Loan (New) Interests Rates
U.S. Department of Education released the 2022-2023 interest rates for the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. The rates are effective as of July 1 for 2022-2023.

  • Direct Student Loan for Undergraduate students – increase from 3.73% to 4.99%
  • Direct Unsubsidized Graduate and Professional students – increase from 5.28% to 6.54%
  • Direct PLUS* Loan for Parents of Dependent Undergraduate and Graduate students increases from 6.28% to 7.54%
  • The Origination Fee charged at first disbursement is 1.05% for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and 4.22% for Direct PLUS loans.

Keep in mind that the Federal Direct PLUS Loan is credit-based and not automatically available as it may appear on some college financial aid award letters. Although credit eligibility is considered less stringent, applicants can’t have an adverse credit history.

Add a copy of the Practical Funding Workbook from Pivotal College Years to your resource library.

Check out the robust online library of information covering a wide range of topics, before, during, and after college. Resources include videos, PDF downloads, Workbooks – College Essays, Hunting for Scholarship, and other reference information on everything college. College Planning shouldn’t be complicated, intimidating, or expensive.
Use PCY30 for a free trial – Learn more

For you, your clients, and employees!

You’re In – Now What?

The waiting game is over for many college-bound high school seniors and their families. The holidays brought added excitement as many received acceptances to be part of the incoming class of 2022, including the acknowledgment of scholarships recognizing students for their academic and personal talents.

WORK TO DO
The hard work of investigating and narrowing choices that lead to filing admissions and financial aid applications now turns to work that will ultimately reveal the final choice for September 2022 enrollment. The multiple tasks and activities that lie ahead for families include:

  • Comparing financial offers from schools including merit scholarships, need-based grants, and self-help programs (student loans and work-study).
  • Examining family resources, saving, monthly disposable income and the ability to serve as a co-sign if a private education loan is needed.
  • Scheduling meetings with faculty, academic advisers to confirm a school aligns with student expectations.
  • Conducting campus visits to ensure the campus and its offerings at application hold true today.
  • Hunting for scholarships to fill the gap in resources to cost.
  • Organize legal and medical documents to protect your 18 year-old student and the family

Jack Frost Remains
The Biden Administration once again has extended the deadline for the restart of payments on federal education loans. This pause in payment began back in March of 2020 when the nation began to experience the challenges of the pandemic. To help individuals and families who lost employment, saw their income decrease, the Administration instituted a temporary freeze on payments due from borrowers with Federal Direct and Federal HELP Loans, students, and parents. The freeze also called for a temporary drop in interest rates to zero.  The new projected restart is now May 1, 2022.

  • Private education loans are not subject to these changes and borrowers are expected to continue to make their regular monthly payments.
  • Borrowers with private education loans should use this time to investigate the benefits of education loan refinancing to lower interest rates and modify monthly payments.

How Will I Pay? – Year One, Two and beyond
Twenty percent of first-year college students leave after the first year. Academic readiness and personal needs are two key factors, but finances are the leading cause.

Ensuring that resources will be available for years two, three, and four is critical to ensuring a student remains in school and completes on time.

  • Questions that family’s need to ask:
  • What happens to need-based grants awarded by colleges for year one? Renewed or disappear.
  • How can family savings be stretched to cover four years?
  • If we need a private loan, will parents be able to serve as creditworthy co-signer?
  • Will there be disposable income to assist with incidental on-campus expenses?

January Planning Checklist

 Freshman & Sophomore
The second half of the year can open up major opportunities for the discovery of academic and personal interests.

  • Gamers, dreamers, and problem-solving interests should be explored through robotics, Skills USA, and creative internships.
  • Student-athletes, student-performers, with strong grades and a goal of pursuing their talent (sports, dance, vocal) at the college level should use the Spring to showcase and investigate the college scene.
  • Strengthen time management, organizational, and communication skills. skills and

 Junior Year
Families with an eye on college after high school should be deep into activities and tasks important to the college planning process.

  • Building a college list that reflects the students’ performance and capabilities now and that will allow successful growth and development.
  • Scheduling campus visits for the two hot vacations, February and April, plus weekends and when the schedule will allow.
  • Strategies for courses in senior year, national testing dates (SAT/ACT), and what to do in the summer.
  • Meeting and greeting campus representatives at school, on a campus tour, and through direct communication. 99.9% of all interested high school juniors are unknown to the college

Plans Don’t Call for College
Interests may lie in pursuing a trade, skilled professional after high school. We need your talent, but you too need to have a plan.

  • Community college to learn business management, accounting, marketing, and proposal writing can be learned through low-cost academic programming.
  • Evaluate your approach to transferring your current interest, credentials, and skills required and where to continue the technical learning.
  • The competition is strong and having networking and communication skills can also be a plus.

Turning the Calendar
A new year, 2022, is here. Parents are back to their routine, working, serving as transportation, attending sporting and dance events, and, yes, stressing. We have learned a lot in the past 18-24 months. Help the next generations to understand the importance of education, community, and maintaining a sense of self.  Help them find their WHY?

CALM THE WATERS – Are you feeling a sense of college paralysis? anxious? As a parent of four, having spent a career working with families, college and university administrators, I understand the complexity of planning for life after high school. If you need clarity and insights to your questions, tools to manage your work, or individual one-to-one assistance, reach out. Feel free to reach me by text or telephone at 617-240-7350 or email at tom@getcollegegoing.com.

 

Clues and Cues to College Planning

FINDING THE RIGHT EDUCATION TO CAREER CHOICE

The Fall has arrived, school is in full gear, and student activities are filling up the house calendar. It is the time for college planning. Parents of high school juniors and seniors begin the countless hours of managing their student’s journey of selecting the education to career path after high school. Stressful and overwhelming for many, especially for first-time families. Here are some thoughts that might help with the experience:

Create a college plan – dream location, academic, and personal fit, cost, budget, and affordability are just a few of the many areas of the plan. Financing, expectations, goals, and capabilities are fundamental to finding the right college choice.

Turn to resources – schedule and meet with your School Counselor – their role, expertise, and knowledge are valuable parts in determining options and how they will assist through ongoing one-to-one counseling and coaching meetings.

What’s expected – understand the rules, deadlines, admissions requirements, financial aid eligibility, and everything in between. How does a 4-year school differ from a 2-year, community college, or technical school? Be a sponge asking questions and inquiring why.

Learn about college cost – education after high school should be considered an investment. It is critical to understand how college costs differ, private ($56,000) versus public ($29,000), in-state,  out-of-state, and what it means to a graduating student’s ROI.

Cast a broad search of potential schools that match a student’s profile and aspirations. Draw on academic strengths, talent (athletic and performing arts), and personal desires to create a list of schools that challenge your student. Use online resources to build a list of college options that can be evaluated by visiting campuses, speaking with admission representatives, and learning about possibilities.

Seek out financial aid – should I apply, make too much money, I’ll never qualify are myths and misunderstandings—everyone tuition assistance, including the possibility of need-based financial aid. Designed to help supplement a family’s ability to meet college costs, need-based financial aid, when added to savings, scholarships, and other resources can lessen the financial burden. But one will never know until they complete and file the FAFSA – Free Application for Student Aid

Finally, communication is vital – as the parent of four and worked with countless other parents; communication is the key to finding the right education to career choice. Everyone involved needs to be on the same page, understanding expectations, deadlines, tasks, and the PLAN.

Download your free College Planning Overview and get a start on finding the right education match after high school!

College Planning Paralysis

Over the past few months, I have been reading, updating information, and talking to parents and higher education colleagues. I must confess I am concerned. It appears we are on the doorsteps of another year of College Planning Paralysis (CPP). Coined by Shelley Honeycutt, founder of Pivotal College Years, College Planning Paralysis is a syndrome affecting families of high school and college-aged students. It is discouraging to speak with and learn of the sheer number of parents suffering from CPP.

College Planning Paralysis

Most family’s experience a mild case of College Planning Paralysis (CPP), missing a few deadlines, a campus visit, or a task that generally doesn’t cause an issue. Schools are selected, applications submitted (admission and financial aid), and students ultimately enroll. But in other cases, CPP can throw households into a tailspin. Relationships become tested and the mental and physical well-being of the family. Stress, fatigue, anxiety, and panic become part of one’s daily life. CPP can disrupt school and work performance. CPP plays out in many ways, including:

  • Decisions made on emotions, not based on realistic goals
  • Financing strategies that turn into excessive debt due to borrowing
  • Post-high school goals derailed due to attitude and lack of motivation
  • Enrolling in college because everyone is going

Tips to Avoid College Planning Paralysis

  • Start now – as a family, map out the post-high school goals and needs
  • Conduct an honest review of financial and academic capabilities
  • Draw up an individualized plan to follow; make life easier at home, school, and work
  • Include a checklist to meet deadlines and manage everyday tasks
  • Ignore external distractions that can derail wise personal choices
  • Learn your price point. What can you afford, annually and 4-years?
  • Learn the terminology – Expected Family Contribution, Net Price, Cost of Attendance, Selectivity
  • Look beyond the rankings and consider unknown schools when building a college list
  • Don’t be afraid to stop, ask questions, and seek guidance

As I mentioned in a previous post, the pandemic has changed the game. So STOP the College Planning Paralysis and get moving today. Understand the rules and processes of admissions and financial aid and how decisions can affect family budgets, long-term debt, and sound education choices.

CALM THE WATERS – Are you feeling anxious? Have questions? As a parent of four working college graduates, having spent my career in college and high school enrollment (admissions and financial aid) and marketing positions, I understand the complexity of college planning. I welcome the chance to provide clarity and insights to your questions. Feel free to reach me by text or telephone at 617-240-7350 or email at tom@getcollegegoing.com.

No Summer Slide for 2022 Planning

Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2021

To the students and the parents of the graduating class of 2021, wow. kindergarten, elementary, middle, high school, college, graduate school. Wow. In all of my 35+ years in education, never has there been a year. Congratulation!

Now, no sliding during the summer. Put your relentless determination, newfound savviness, and ability to pivot to work, and take your next step. Parents and students use the month of June to recharge and refuel but do not let up on the gas.

Whether your classroom is moving up, changing schools, grade level, pursuing graduate school, internship, apprenticeship, licensing, or joining the workforce, take the bull by the horns (little ones not a good idea) and champion forward. We are here to help and have your back!!

Summer Doesn’t Take a Break

The pandemic has changed the college admission and financial aid landscape for the foreseeable future. If you’re a rising senior you have time and opportunity. This summer is going to be key to recovering and taking advantage of missed opportunities. The campus is opening for tours, information sessions, and meeting with college admissions and financial aid departments. Learn, explore, ask questions, and prep for the Fall. Need answers and insight – call us, schedule an appointment. We do not pitch until you say help!

Still, Thinking About College?

Opportunities await even now for September 2021 enrollment. The pandemic caused many students and families to pause during the school year to question what’s next—a good pause for many. This past year, we have learned a lot, including that we need to celebrate and support multiple pathways education and careers.

If you are now ready to go in September, over 150 colleges, universities, and Community Colleges in MA and New England are waiting to hear from you. If an internship, apprenticeship, licensing program, or skilled professional program suits you, then go for it. Turn to your resources at NSCC, NECC, No Shore Career Center, and the vast network that makes up the Route One BNG family.

Preparing to Pay – September College Tuition Bill

It will be in the mailbox, your student’s email or the college portal, the September tuition bill. Arriving as early as July, the bill, once resolved, is the pathway to key swipe card) for dorm rooms, access to the dining halls, and campus life activities. Yes, academic classes too. Finalizing financing options should be done sooner than later. Investigate all options, including a school’s Monthly Payment Plan, use of savings (529 plans), scholarships, and personal financing resources (home equity). If, in the end, a private education loan is the only option, borrow conservatively, and remember, a loan must be repaid.

No Break from Campus Tours

Parents of high school sophomores and juniors, no, no. The pandemic has left many slightly behind or not even engaged. In-person campus tours, information sessions, and 1-1 interviews are back! Students and families will need to map their thoughts on where to visit by the strength of the college list, who’s hot or not. The pandemic has changed the rules, many that will continue into the 2021-2022 college year. Don’t lose the benefits of the summer months!

Repaying Education Loan and Employee Assistance Programs

Changes during the pandemic placed a hold on the repayment of Federal Student Loans, which tentatively ends on September 30, 2021. It is unclear what, if anything, the Administration or Congress will do, but those whose loans were frozen should begin to factor the return of their monthly payment into the budget. Education loan refinancing and modified repayment may be an option if there is a continued financial strain on the family budget.

The use of employer-sponsored education reimbursement benefits also experienced changes with the introduction of expanded services—benefits, including assisting with education loan debt.

Power of Saving

Financial aid is available for those who qualify—a classic statement used by colleges and universities and many who advise students and families. However, saving is king. Every dollar saved strengthens a student and family’s access to college. Setting aside as much as possible through a broader range of education savings programs will increase access to a wide range of college options. Parents, grandparents, and relatives can also participate in the college savings game. Connect with one of the many financial service experts in the Route One BNG family for additional guidance and assistance.

Consult an Independent College Counselor

Need help with the checklist, calming the waters, getting started, or just answering questions. An experienced independent college counselor can help parents guide their students. They listen, focus on needs and expectations, and help manage realistic and holistic college planning. Plus, you’ll get the peace of mind that a professional is on the team 100% of the time.

Tom O’Hare is the Founder of Get College Going, a North Shore-based full-service college counseling practice. TOur goal is to help family’s find the right education, for the right reason, at the right school for the right investment—resources before, during, and after college.

Schedule a free consultation or obtain your free Comprehensive College Guide at www.getcollegegoing.com
Follow Get College Going at www.linktr.ee.com/getcollegegoing

 

 

 

7 COMMON COLLEGE PLANNING MISCUES

High school seniors are anxiously awaiting the finish line. Twelve years of studies, homework, and activities from 7:15 AM to 2:15 PM are coming to an end. Next for many will be college, work, internships, volunteer work, and service.

At the same time, college graduates begin to embrace their next move; graduate schools, two-year to four-year, upskilling, and of course joining the workforce.

The late Spring and early summer months are exciting times for young emerging minds.

For parents of rising juniors (2023) and seniors (2022), your work doesn’t end as the summer approaches. Yes, we all look forward to the beach, time off for good behavior, and maybe even a slower pace, but the summer is a pivotal time to stay on track to hit Fall deadlines and complete essential tasks.

7 Common College Miscues

1. Allowing a 17-Year- Old to Make $250K Financial Decisions
Attending college after high school is an investment. Too often, I find parents allowing their DS or DD to be the sole manager of their process. Parents need to work with their students to set realistic goals and expectations, learn about financing capabilities, and share tasks and calendar deadlines.

2. Believing that a 4 Year College is for Everyone
Yes, learning is timeless, lifelong, but for many, it calls for different pathways. Parents of middle and high school, don’t panic if the idea of a skilled profession or work than college is the path being considered. Education pathways should be individualized based on the interest, goals, and strengths of the student.

3. Shopping Before Budgeting
What is our financing capability? Debt tolerance? Learn the rules, how colleges set costs, award aid, and recruit students using their money. Like when buying a first home, it is critical to understand what we can afford.

4. Waiting for Colleges to Offer an Invite
It is exciting to see the mailbox fill up with college brochures and viewbooks, but it’s not recruitment. Students need to raise their hands, identify their interests and promote their individual talents and interest. Writing a strong essay, communicating (text, call, email), visit, and filling a timely application are all keys to demonstrating a desire to enroll.

5. Missing the Importance of Creating a High School Resume
Tracking accomplishments, achievements, and personal growth during high school make completing an accurate college application seamless.

6. Assuming There is Plenty of Financial Aid for Everyone
Colleges, universities, government, and private providers have limited merit scholarships, grants, and need-based available to new and returning students. Don’t delay and always file the FAFSA.

7. Creating an Unrealistic List of College Options
Cast a broad net to learn what schools are looking for your DD or DS, their strengths and interests. Consider a less known brand or one not on the national ranking lists. Don’t just chase.

BIGGEST MISCUE – FAILING TO CREATE A COLLEGE PLAN

At the core, every family should approach the college process with a comprehensive plan. It should be based on goals and expectations, academic, personal, and financial. A good plan offers the guidance and direction needed to find the right education, for the right reason, at the right school for the right price.

Don’t have a plan or wish to have a check-up, we’ll provide a free review and offer out best practice suggestions for a successful college journey!

Consult an Independent College Counselor

Need help calming the waters, getting started, or just answering questions. An experienced independent college counselor can help parents help their students. They listen, focus on needs and expectations, and help students manage a realistic and holistic college plan. Plus, you get the peace of mind that a professional is on the team 100% of the time.

Tom O’Hare is the Founder of Get College Going, a North Shore-based full-service college counseling practice with resources to assist parents, students, and individuals before, during, and after college. 

Have a questions, schedule a free consultation or obtain your free Comprehensive College Guide at www.getcollegegoing.com

Follow Get College Going at www.linktr.ee/getcollegegoing