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
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 email@example.com.