The Fall is a beautiful time to be in our beautiful state and New England. Just a stone’s throw in five directions, you can be in another State/region to enjoy different types of food, entertainment, activities, and the local settings. You can even track a few more miles and find yourself in New York and Canada. Ah, but this is not a travel piece. We’ll leave that to the travel experts and folks at AAA Northeast.

This Fall is a critical time for high school and college-age students and their families as the focus turns to what’s happening in and out of school. Academics, extracurricular activities, and work keep students busy while parents juggle transportation, social activities, and work-life balance. As parents, we work to be the guiding light, providing support and direction to help our students and young adults. It is essential to monitor how our students perform academically, personally, and emotionally during the Fall. Adjusting to new surroundings, coursework, a sense of independence, and classmates can result in a new level of excitement and quieting one’s outlook and behavior. Finding the right balance between learning what’s up and providing help can be a delicate process for parents. As a parent of four, I understand and can offer great resources to help you and your students.

Happening this Fall

Money – Money
I’m not talking about the continued rise in the cost of higher education, but that the freeze on Federal Student Loan payments and interest rates is finally over. Borrowers and May 2023 graduates are now hearing from the US Department of Education and Loan Servicing organizations (they manage the day-to-day) as part of the kick-start of repayment. There are a lot of resources available at if you have questions on who to pay, benefits and programs if you can not make the regular monthly payment, and if you might qualify for one of the loan forgiveness programs.

Lifelong Learning
Choosing an education pathway can be a maze of twists and turns that can baffle even the best of individuals. The recent announcement of the Mass Reconnect Program is a new, affordable opportunity for individuals 25 and older to complete their degrees or obtain valuable upskill credentials. Added to the traditional 4-Year pathway, the Mass Transfer Program, and our network of affordable Community Colleges, we have some of the strongest educational opportunities in the country.

Gateway to Financial Aid –  FAFSA
Paying for college begins with learning about tuition assistance programs and how to apply for financial aid. The Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is the gateway to learning about the availability of financial assistance from colleges federal, state, and many private scholarship providers. The completion and filing of the 2024-2025 FAFSA has been pushed back to late December. So, if you plan to attend college or an eligible skilled professional school in 204-2025, you have a little extra time to prepare. Start now by registering and creating your FSA ID account. Go to and get the process going. Then, watch for and attend a workshop on Completing the FAFSA. They’re coming!!

Cracking the Secret to What Happens After High School
How do students and parents decide on college, work, or both? For parents this question can weigh heavy on their minds. Here are four questions for parents of 9th to 11th grade students.

  1. How will we finance our student’s next level of education?
  2. What are the goals and expectations for year 13 and beyond?
  3. Is college, work or a blend of both the right “next” for your student?
  4. Where are we now with post-high school planning, and what resources do we need?

Answering these initial questions can prepare every student and family for a successful and exciting post-high school planning experience.

Families now have a “workable workbook” to help organize and manage a successful college planning experience. Pivotal College Years’ newly released College Planning Workbook is now available on Amazon. The workbook describes and showcases tips and information on how to fund, investigate, apply, and select the school that matches a student’s academic and personal goals. Look inside the workbook today.