Don’t Wait – It May Be Too Late!

January is the month when thousands of families will be filing the FAFSA, Profile and/or Institutional financial aid forms. Many will be waiting for several months before they know if any of the colleges their child has applied to will  be affordable. Even if college is more than five years away, a ‘heart attack prevention’ “Dry Run” exercise is always a smart idea; even for those parents who believe that “money is no object”. The parent’s cry for help below is not unusual. However, it can be avoided when someone who is familiar with the individual college financial aid methods used by a wide range of colleges, gives you a realistic view of your family’s future Expected Family Contribution (EFC). A projection that is based on the often complex methodologies colleges use to determine “need”.

The earlier – the better

Please read this exchange carefully between a disappointed parent and a US News expert:

Question:

   “My son has recently been accepted to his first choice college, Lehigh University. They have provided him with loans and grants that equal approximately $22,000. The COA is $52,400 a year. My wife and I do not have available funds to make up the difference. What methods can be suggested to give my son the opportunity to attend this school? In high school he has maintained a high academic level, ranking 27/499.

Answer:

   “I hope you have been successful in exploring your financing options. If you haven’t already considered it, a private (non-federal student loan is another option. Many lenders offer non-federal student loans, in which the parent acts as the co-signer. Look for features such as a co-signer release once the student establishes a good repayment record, or reduced interest rates for automatic payments from a bank account. Ask Lehigh if they have any recommendations.

   Best wishes to you.

   Verna Hazen, U.S. News Expert

 ____________________

How much is free advice worth? In this case . . . not much. Too little, too late is my first thought; what is yours? Why didn’t he find out that this would be his probable outcome earlier?

Could he have? Yes.

   And could he then have been better prepared? Yes!

   In the past, I have discussed the different methods colleges used to award aid. One of the most important facts I stressed is that not all students are treated equally even if the parent’s income and assets are identical. This is called ‘financial aid leveraging’.

   The free money (grants and scholarships) goes to the student they want most. Know where your student stands, academically and otherwise. One of your goals is to borrow as little as possible.

When we develop a list of colleges cropped-college-pinwheel.jpgfor a student based on academic and personal criteria, we give the parent a preview of possible aid packages from those schools. We may provide this information one, two or even three years before the student applies. After a student is accepted to his/her first choice college is not the time to find out what the financial “bottom line” will be. In other words, the earlier the better.

Perhaps you may have heard of students who were accepted to their top choice colleges, but could not attend because of the cost. That is not the end of the world, of course, but more pragmatic planning may have improved the options.

Colleges often provide false hopes for prospective applicants because they encourage almost every student to apply while implying that financial aid will be there for them. The more that apply . . . the more they can reject thus appearing more competitive in the now infamous rankings game.

If you, or someone you know, would like to learn more about our money saving  “Dry Run”** exercise, please call or e-mail here. In addition, we will also show you how hundreds of families are paying for college from CASH FLOW ONLY. The system they have implemented is BRILLANT. Plus, they are NOT borrowing or drawing from savings to pay the tuition bills.
 

Best wishes for college affordability success,

Eric Goodhart

P.S. ** The average family saves over $18,000 over four years of college costs when they follow the steps in our money savings “Dry Run” program. Will that be you?

 

3 Responses to “Don’t Wait – It May Be Too Late!”

  1. Randy Watson Says:

    Excellent newletter. Focused, story/example provided, point made and taken without suffering through it or quitting on it.

    As you know, we are all just delete key away, and the hand hangs over the key whether on the phone or computer keyboard all day.

    Keep up the good work, Enjoy your day. Randy

  2. Ellen Dow Says:

    Hi Eric – So Amanda should start applying for her a loan now right? – Ellen

  3. henry and julia wilson Says:

    Please forward all helpful information , thank you