I am blessed and give thanks every day but especially during this month of thanksgiving.  As a parent of four and a career college guy, I understand the thought of what to do after high school can be daunting, overwhelming, and often an emotional roller-coaster. I am thankful to be welcomed into the homes of high school families to share some expertise and bring peace of mind before, during, and after college. Equally, I am thankful and privileged when leaders of businesses, associations, and membership organizations turn to me to help provide education and enrichment programming for their employees, clients, and customers.
Please continue to share your text messages, phone calls and emails.

Top of Mind My This Month

 Debt Relief- Loan Forgiveness
The program introduced by the Administration and DOE provides eligible borrowers with financial relief of up to $20,000 to Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 to non-Pell Grant recipients.
Apply today (but no later than December 31, 2023). Use the link https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application

  • Who Qualifies?
    – Individuals who made less than $125,000 in 2021 or 2020**
    – Families that made less than $250,000 in 2021 or 2020**
    ** Adjusted gross income reported on IRS Tax Return

Learn More at DOE Student Aid.gov https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/debt-relief-info

Public Services Loan Forgiveness Program
If employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government, a not-for-profit organization (section 503c), the military, or another recognized organization you maybe eligible for the PSLF Program.. The program provides an opportunity to save time, interest, and financial resources associated with repaying your Federal Direct Loans.
Complete and file the form electronically – work with your Personal Director, HR Manager, or Commanding Officer to obtain the necessary signature. Learn more at https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service#qualify

Every good thing comes with scams – read on to protect yourself from the numerous sounds to be good scammers who are prying on federal and private student loan borrowers, parents, and employers – https://studentaid.gov/resources/scams

Planning is Critical

  1. Your Amazing 12thGrade Students – over the past few months, I have had the privilege to read essays and personal statements of college-bound students – wow! Parents, you have exceptional students in your homes. They are thought leaders, articulate, creative, and write from their hearts. They are not afraid to show their vulnerability. If you have not read (your) student’s essay, take a minute. We are in good hands!
  2. Deadlines – admission application deadlines for many college-bound students have come and gone. It was the early flight of filings, but for many 12th-grade students, including those in my practice, January and February deadlines are perfect. Colleges and universities are waiting to receive applications. Stay on pace, submit the Application, and discover your college choice.
  3. Financial Aid – from colleges and universities, federal and state agencies, and external sources (employers, civic/community/philanthropic organizations) is determined by completing and filing the FAFSA. The 2023-2024 Free Application for Student Aid is available and should be filed ASAP. If you plan to attend school in September of 2023 and hope to receive financial Aid, don’t wait. File today.
    Download your 2023-2024 FAFSA Checklist 
  4. Hunting for Scholarship – don’t wait for the Spring of the senior year to start your search. Hundreds of scholarship deadlines end as early as December. Local, regional, and national programs provided by philanthropic organizations, businesses, and associations await your applications. Time invested is time rewarded. Subscribe to Pivotal College Years to access a free Scholarship Workbook. See below for more information on the online platform.

The HS Class of 2024 and Beyond
October is behind us now. PSAT, the national test to benchmark a student’s academic proficiency, is complete with results due out on December 5th. Unless a student is involved in winter sports or performing arts (dance, theater) families join my private practice after the holidays. If you starting now here are three important first steps:

  • Parents – get a read on your financing capabilities. College is expensive, ranging from $116,000 to $215,000. Such a big-ticket purchase should first begin by creating a financial plan. How much will I need to finance one year + 3? Do I have the financial resources? Have you had the money talk with your 11th and 10th-grade student? How is my creditworthiness if I need to borrow? A simple exercise we call our College Cost Estimator can ping point answers to these questions now to help with peace of mind down the road. Dreaming I can get in and hoping I can pay a recipe for financial trouble.
  • Explore College Options – there are 350+ institutions of higher learning in New England, another 500+from New York down the east coast. Hundreds if you crisscross the county and pop up to Canada.. Start with creating a realistic and broad list of schools, known and unknown. Consider a student’s current  GPA, academic rigor, and personal character adding the chance for a strong pump over the next 6-8 months. Evaluate and investigate your results with a plan to visit beginning in February.
  • Standing Out – plain and simple, 99% of colleges and universities do not know a student is interested in them. They send out glossy brochures and flood the email box after purchasing names but are unaware a student has them on their radar. Students need to gain exposure by demonstrating interest and educating schools as to their academic talents and personal strengths. Following some simple activities and a straightforward communication plan, students can become their best marketers.

Pivotal College Years
If you’re  tired of surfing through millions of websites, check out the college planning platform, Pivotal College Years. Created by experts who are also parents, the e-library offers reference information, instructional videos, checklists, and workbooks. Use PCY30 for a free 30-day trial and to obtain your 2023-2024 FAFSA Checklist and Scholarship Workbook. www.pivotalcollegeyears.com

Reading and Watching

Managing Educational Debt – with all the talk about forgiveness and PSLF, let us not lose sight of the potential value of education loan refinance and the need to make arrangements to repay student loans. The federal loan freeze will be over on December 31; repayment will begin again. What is your plan? Will it be regular payments, the government-offered IDR or ICR, or maybe private loan refinancing? 7 things to do before January 1. Resources, including Pivotal College Years, and our friends at AAA Northeast can help.

CALMING THE WATERS – Gain some knowledge, answer a question, eliminate a myth or misunderstanding – Everything starts with a Conversation – Learn more at www.getcollegegoing.com

Looking for a speaker at your next group meeting, employee enrichment program, or client workshop? A broad range of topics for parents of high school and college-age students and recent college graduates. Live and virtual presentations and Lunch and Learn Q & A sessions.

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