Excitement of May

The arrival of May 2022 has never been more needed than this year. Longer days and warmer days are upon us as we welcome back the likes of the Red Sox, summer sports, dance recitals, and getting the double-wide family trailer opened at the beach.

In households of soon-to-be graduating seniors, May 1 marked National Deposit Day, the day the Class of 2026 commits to enroll in college. Exciting for students and surreal for parents. The journey to find the right college to start one’s 13th year of learning and personal development is complete. All that’s left is finding a roommate, obtaining medical and legal documents, and finalizing how to pay. Congratulations to all.

If exploring higher education after high school is still being considered, maybe a different path is in order. No longer is it a one-education pathway that fits all. Exploring interests and options to achieve individual expectations and goals is the key.

May is equally important to current 11th-grade students on their threshold, 12-grade. College planning for juniors and even sophomores should be in high gear with scheduled campus visits. Campuses are alive with activities and opportunities. Schedule your on-campus visits now!!

To all the hard-working moms, thank you for your devotion and love. We celebrate you on Mother’s Day and every day!!

Have questions, we’re here to calm the waters.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Congratulations – Graduation is in sight.

But, yes, there are a few more things for parents of college-bound students; one critical – is finalizing how to pay the remaining cost to attend.

  • Step #1: Using the school’s financial aid award letter, calculate the net tuition price
    • Cost – all merit and need-based aid awarded = the net tuition price
  • Step #2: Review the financing options specific to your family’s resources – savings, gifts, investment earnings, home equity
  • Step #3: Add to the help all external scholarships awarded at graduation or from external sources.
  • Step #4: If a balance remains and no other resources are available, families can consider two credit-based loans, the Federal PLUS (Parent) Loan or an Alternative Private Education Loan (student is the borrower; parent is a co-signer).
  • Access my Financing Worksheet, which walks you through the process.

Federal Education Loan Freeze
Once again, the U.S. Department of Education (ED), at the request of the Administration, has extended the student loan payment freeze to August 31, 2022. The extension suspends loan payments, drops the interest to 0%, and offers other benefits to delinquent and defaulted student loan borrowers.
While you wait for the thaw, borrowers with private education should investigate refinancing benefits: fixed interest rate, one account, or liquidating loans faster. It is unclear what the political air will be in September, so stay tone.

National Testing
The on-again, off-again debate goes on. SAT/ACT or not. The pandemic made it almost impossible for students to take the test; high schools stopped offering Test Day, resulting in a nationwide test-optional movement at colleges and universities. Many schools are rethinking their policies and reintroducing the requirement for admission and scholarship awards. What does this mean for 11th-grade students? If you can register and sit for the test, do so. BUT suppress releasing your results. Don’t take the free offer. Tipping one’s hat too early can be a barrier to acceptance!!

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.

Planning Checklists

9th | 10th | 11th Grades  

Five Steps to Planning and Financing 

  • Learn about costs – in/out of state, public or private, and community college.
  • Determine what you can afford – get a pre-assessment of a family’s contribution and financial aid before going shopping.
  • Learn how college makes their decisions, acceptances, waitlists, and financial aid awards
  • Shop broadly – big, small, known, and unknown; avoid the trap of the rankings
  • Create a comprehensive college plan to find the right education, at the right school for the right investment

College-Bound Seniors – 

A few more essential tasks to address to ensure a smooth start to the academic year in September.

  • Activate your NEW College Student email and ID
  • Send in your Dorm Deposit & Find a Roommate
  • Register and attend Orientation
    • Complete Outstanding Forms (Meal Plan Selection, Campus Security Policy)
    • Submit a Student Health Waiver (if the student is covered under a parent’s healthcare plan
    • Submit the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Waiver (allows parents to retain their right to view student records after the student turns 18 years of age.
    • Health/Immunization Records
    • Submit AP/IB Test Scores (Credits)
    • Take Placement Tests (if required) + Register for Classes
  • Before leaving High School ensure your Final High School Transcript is sent
  • Research extra-curricular on and around campus
  • Work with your insurance carrier/agent if a car is going on campus
  • Shop lightly; pack for the fall
  • Enroll and be successful!

Partners Corner 

Thoughts and Interests from Joanne Light – Parenting Empowerment Coach
Former Vice President of Enrollment Services, North Shore Community College

As parents, tweens, teens, and teachers contemplate a relief from pandemic issues and restrictions, they are also experiencing more stress. Stress is a result of uncertainty and anxiety and right now there is no shortage of causes of that. World unrest, school challenges, financial challenges, relationship challenges – all felt and seen.

However, personal stress is plaguing our tweens and teens in greater proportions. They are facing challenges and worries about identity, social interactions, academic pressure, and future unknowns. So since the world is unpredictable, let’s talk about stress management. First kids need to be aware of their stress and how it makes them physically feel – the racing heart, tightening chest, sweating, and mood changes.

Teenagers’ brains are fast developing, and the fight or flight part of their brain is producing hormones that lead to physical symptoms. They prepare to react to the “danger”. The rational part of their brain is not fully developed, so they may, unless in a calm state, overreact to the “danger” which may be an argument with a parent, an upcoming test, a slight by a friend, an unfinished college application, etc.
Some stress can be a good thing as it motivates planning, practicing, and resilience. Chronic stress, however, for your teen or for you is unsustainable.

There are choices for our kids in coping with their stress, and we parents can model stress management and guide them to make healthy choices. Talk to them openly about healthy vs unhealthy choices. Healthy choices will enable them to gain control and resolve their concerns and minimize some of the stress. The unhealthy choices – drugs, alcohol, poor eating, self-harm, risky sexual behavior, etc. only lead to poor academic performance, regrets, and lower self-esteem. And, of course, more stress.
I will be writing more to suggest creating stress management plans for your kids and for your family. Very important, however, is the example you set in managing your own stress.
Breathe, breathe, breathe…
Visit https://joannehlight.com/ to learn more

This is a new section where we will be featuring information from our colleagues and friends. Individuals who are outside of our lane, but linked through their wonderful work. Trusted partners.

WHAT WE’RE READING & WHO WE’RE FOLLOWING
Trends, changes, and things on the horizon

  • Read about the pros and cons of taking a Gap Year. – Bottom line, have a PLAN Gap Year 
  • Mental health issues on campuses are real – especially for student-athletes
  • SAT changes are coming for 2024 – increased access, digital versus paper,  shorter questions.
  • New FAFSA rules and guidelines will affect 2023-2024, starting Oct 1
  • Always good reading at Grown and Flown; Lessons to learn, conversations before going to college.

 

Events

College Planning Workshop – LIVE & In-Person – Free

Free workshop for parents of high school students

Topics to cover include

  • How the pandemic has changed the way colleges evaluate and recruit students
  • What not to do with retirement savings
  • How to create a plan to find, select, and pay for school.
  • There will be ample time for questions!!

Where: Wakefield Recreation Center
When – Two choices – May 17th and 25th from 7 PM to 8 PM
Sponsored by Pivotal College Years  Register 

SUMMER CLINICS

The PCY Workshop Series is now available! SMALL online classes with the experts. Topics covering Getting Started, Applications, Essays, and MORE…Register today! https://www.eventbrite.com/o/pivotal-college-years-15529534…

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!

 

Get College Going

When you need that one-to-one support. We advise and guide parents; coach and counsel students.  We’re industry experts and parents, just like many of you.

If you are feeling paralyzed or have a sense of anxiety, start a conversation – Follow us, and ask us questions

If you find our newsletter and information helpful, share it within your community and workplace.

 

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Copyright © 2020 Get College Years  All rights reserved.
Schedule a Free Consultation
617-240-7350
tom@getcollegegoing.com

Ready – Set – FAFSA

Determining how to pay for college, all post-high school education programs is critical. Savings, scholarships, need-based aid, and other tuition assistance all play a role in determining how to meet educational costs. Financial aid is available to help supplement a family’s ability to meet the cost of attending a four-year, two-year community college, trade and professional school, full-time or part-time.

October marks the start of the application filing period and the completion of the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). This vital process is part of determining a family’s eligibility for need-based financial aid, including grants, loans, work-study, and many private scholarships.

Financial Need

Complete the form, hit submit, and the FAFSA® process calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an amount of money estimated that a family could contribute to the cost of college.

Cost of Education minus Expected Family Contribution = Demonstrated Financial Need

Many families may feel that the EFC does not represent their ability to finance the cost of college, financial resources available. For many, it does help illustrate the initial cost to a family and is an essential step in finding an affordable educational path after high school.

Affordable College Choice

As illustrated below, three schools with different or similar costs offer varying tuition assistance packages, including scholarships and need-based financial aid.  The EFC remains the same; however, the final net price may be different.

It’s essential to consider a range of college options. Each will evaluate a student’s interest and potential compared to their enrollment needs. If interested will offer their investment of tuition assistance in the hopes, a family will select them. The broader the range, the greater the options.

Determining affordability begins with filing the FAFSA

Download the FAFSA Checklist

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.

When A Scholarship Doesn’t Cover the Rest

The evaluations, comparisons, campus tours, and conversations are over. Hundreds of family’s and students have made their choice. We’re off to college.

Oh, what a minute…. Have got everything done? One being the tuition bill… and it’s on its way!

Parents of Sophomore and Juniors – read our article on Pre-Qualifying for College Costs

College tuition bills are on their way!

When scholarships and financial aid don’t cover every, students and families need to have a Plan B

Plan B

  • Continue to investigate and apply for scholarship programs; deadlines continue right through the summer and restart in the Fall. If you missed one or didn’t get selected, reapplying in the second, third, and fourth year of school.
  • If there is any doubt or questions regarding the information reported when completing the FAFSA, parents should contact the Financial Aid Office.
  • Family’s whose financial status profile has changed since the FAFSA (or CSS Profile) filing to the present needs need to inform their college or university. Reductions in earnings, loss of income, unexpected medical bills, and caregiving responsibilities may qualify for an appeal under the extenuating circumstance guidelines.
  • Consult with the Student Account – Bursars’ Office regarding the use of a 10 Month Payment Plan. Plans generally require an initial administrative fee payment – consider it an interest-free short-term payment program.
  • Then there are the loan programs!

Federal Direct Student Loan a loan that 99.9% of all financial aid awards include. The loan that has quietly been remained by some parents is the FAFSA loan. A low-interest, non-credit-based loan for undergraduate and graduate/professional students. Loan limits are staggered, starting at $5,500 for year one students and progressively higher in upper-class years. Projected fixed interest rates effective July 1, 2021, for the academic year 2021-2022 will be:

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Undergraduate Loans – 3.73%
Direct Unsubsidized Graduate and Professional Loans – 5.28%
These loans also carry a yet to be announced Origination Fee (2020-2021 fee was 1.05%)

Federal Direct Federal PLUS Loan is the second education loan offered by the US Department of Education and US Treasury. Federal Direct PLUS Loan is available to creditworthy parents of undergraduate students. The loan can cover all or a portion of the remaining cost of education, and projected fixed interest rates for the upcoming academic year will be 6.28% (origination fee yet to be announced). Note this loan is subject to repayment and does not carry all of the benefits that the Federal Direct loan offers.

Private Educational Loans, commonly known as alternative student loans, are available to eligible students with many similarities to a standard consumer loan. A credit-based consumer loan where the student serves as the primary borrower along with a creditworthy co-signer. Loans rates are variable, and fixed interest rates starting as low as 1.22% (variable), 3.0% (fixed), and can range as high as 12% depending on the lender. Rates are set based on the creditworthy status of the student and co-signer and whether repayment begins immediately or payment is deferred while the student is in school. Before utilizing any loan, a family should exhaust all other resources and be highly concern with debt tolerance and excessive borrowing.

Spoiler #1 – a student with little or no credit will require a credit-worthy co-signer. No co-signer, no private loan!
Grandparents can contribute to 529 Plans but should not co-sign private loans

Find more program details and download the Education Loan Program Chart

Spoiler #2 – No matter how dreamy the college or university is; no matter how many tears – never touch Retirement Savings! 

 PLUS: Food for Thought

    •  Protect your first-year student and family from unforeseen liability and losses by putting in place important legal and medical documents.
    • Agree to a routine of communicating and monitor warning signs. Loneliness and issues associated with being a first-year student are not just study habits and academics. Talk, don’t hover, listen, don’t’ preach, call, don’t just text, and find a time when both are not rushing to get something done.

Learn more information, before, during, and after college at Pivotal College Years

Have Questions – Calm the Waters – Consult an Independent College Counselor

An experienced college counselor (who can fault me for banging my own horn) can help families develop and manage a customized college plan. Each plan should address a student’s individual needs, expectations, and abilities, plus a family’s capability to finance the educational costs.  A college counselor can considerably cut the stress by laying out clear timelines, unbiased guidance, and accountability for managing the overall experience. Using a holistic lens, a good counselor will connect all aspects of the college experience, finding, selecting, and financing the right college to career choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September Brief

September Brief

September 2022 – today’s high school Juniors – the pause button might be on as your student adjusts to the new classroom setting and class schedules. Still, I encourage you to provide time to talk about your student’s educational pathway after high school. If the conversation leans towards college after high school, click the button, and start the college planning process. Building and refining college lists, learning your family’s prequalified financing numbers, visiting college campuses (virtually now), and engage college representatives can be time-consuming. Providing time to plan and complete tasks will bring harmony to our already stressful days.

September 2021 –  there is no pause button for high school seniors considering college next September. College lists, campus conversations, and evaluation should be entering their final checklist stages. Here are three pressing assignments:

  • October 1 – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is available for completion. All students (and families) considering enrolling in college in September of 2021 and interested in applying for financial aid must complete the FAFSA. Whether the student begins at Traditional Four-Year, Community College, and approved Technical and Professional Program, obtaining financial aid starts with the FAFSA. Read these helpful tips before starting.
  • Common Application, Essay, and Recommendations – All admissions application documentation and supporting material (art portfolios) should be nearing completion for HS Seniors at this time. Application submission for many schools will begin as early as November 1 (Early Action) and run right through to January 1 of 2021. Read important tips shared by Shelly Honeycutt, co-creator of Pivotal College Years.
  • Word on Test Score– if a student had the chance to sit for the exam, excellent. Consider including the score if it supports the student. If there is an opportunity to sit for October/November test, sign up and take the exam. If you can’t, don’t panic, colleges and universities know of the enormous challenges experienced by students this year. Press forward with GPA, rank, the other essential student differentiators!!

Today, September 2020 – If the current pandemic has caused a pause and the thought of returning to college is now top of mind, many options are available. Complete the degree started, tackle the Masters, or increase professional certifications through a single course.

Student Loan Repayment – lurching in the path of another storm is December 31, 2020. Unless there are other rulings from Washington, federal student loans placed on hold due to the pandemic will begin new or return on December 31. Student loan borrowers need to prepare for this change and if needed, investigate education loan consolidation or refinancing, especially if high-interest private loans are part of the picture.

September welcomes in the Fall and so much more…

CALMING THE WATERS – Are you feeling anxious? Have questions? Feel free to reach by text or telephone [617-240-7350], email at tom@getcollegegoing.com, or follow me on Facebook /getcollegegoing

Looking for a quality virtual (college planning) support during these uncertain times, Pivotal College Years, an affiliated partner of Get College Going,  is making the College Planning Portal for Families FREE to EVERYONE until December 31, 2020. EVERYTHING college before, during, and after, in one place.

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.