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Paying for College

10 college finance tips for 2018
 
Whether you're sending your child to college for the 1st time in fall 2019, or are in the thick of determining how to pay for the next year of education, or you're getting a head start on the 2018 academic year, some tweaks to the system could make college financing easier, although not necessarily more affordable.
College finance advisers say the biggest changes this year are related to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
Here are 10 college finance tips for 2018.

Read more: Bank Rates info


 
CSS Profile: How to maximize financial aid
 
Prepping for college? In addition to filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, the form that qualifies students for federal grants, loans and work-study jobs, some students will also have to file the College Scholarship Service, or CSS, Profile. Used by nearly 300 institutions throughout the U.S., the CSS Profile is much more extensive than the FAFSA and can qualify students for enormous nonfederal financial aid packages funded by their college. Here's what you need to know.

Read more:
CSS Profile

REMINDER FOR SENIORS:
Seniors, if you have not already done so, please complete your FAFSA and FFAA registration forms. These are two financial aid forms that must be done and done now. If you have already completed your FAFSA, are you sure that you have checked tour SAR (Student Aid Report) to make sure that there are no mistakes or requirements that you need to do. If you are not sure about your SAR, please feel free to come to my office and ask me to check your SAT. Remember that any mistakes not corrected or any requirements not completed will hold up you receiving your college Financial Aid Award Letter.
 

Understanding Financial Aid Packages

Seniors,

I may be a little early, but from my conversations with several colleges, some have noted to me that they will start releasing award letters to “accepted students” as early as January.

 

So in summary to date….

1.      You have applied to college

2.      You have done your FAFSA and your FFAA registration (PLEASE make sure that there are no errors or issues with your Student Aid Report - SAR.

3.      You are now waiting to be accepted OR have already been accepted.

NOW

1.      You need to wait to receive your college “Financial Aid Award Letter” (See some sample Award Letter below)

2.      Please read the short article below to understand how you should evaluate the award letter that you receive and then make the final decision on which college you will attend.

 

 

By: Rachel Fishman is a policy analyst for the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation. (with some editing)

Source: http://www.firstgenerationstudent.com/pay/understanding-financial-aid-packages/

 

After you’ve been accepted to a college and completed the financial aid application (FAFSA) process, that college will send you a financial aid package. So if you are accepted to three different colleges, and applied for financial aid at all of them, you will receive three separate financial aid packages. The question is, which one is best for you?

 

Each package will look different. Most financial aid packages will detail the Cost of Attendance for that college. After that they will detail how much they will offer you in Scholarship $ (performance = grades/test scores/athletics/ etc…) andFinancial Aid $ (income/need based = grants, loans and work-study).

 

Here are some tips that will help you understand your financial aid awards:

 

Find the Full Cost of Attendance for the School

 

The Cost of Attendance will vary depending on your situation but usually contains tuition and feesroom and board,books and suppliestransportation, and personal expenses. These are all budgetary estimates by the college of how much you will spend for your time in college that academic year. Depending on your needs, there are some cases where you may need more money and some cases where you may need less.

 

Add up All the Free Money (grants and scholarships)

 

Remember, grants and scholarships are gift aid that you don’t have to pay back, so first you’ll want to add that money up. For example, if you see the word Pell, then that’s a federal grant that the government gives you that you won’t have to pay back. If you are unsure whether something is a grant, scholarship or loan, call the financial aid office.

 

Subtract the Free Money from Your Cost of Attendance

 

Before you even look at your loan options, make sure you do this step! This will give you a rough idea of what you will need to pay for the academic year. You may have loans to help you cover those upfront costs, but remember you’ll have to pay back those loans eventually so it really is an expense.

 

HINT: Now is a good time to review your Cost of Attendance and try to come up with your own budget. For example, are you staying at home while going to college? If so, will you be in charge of paying for your expenses at home? If not, you may not need to borrow as much money.

 

Consider All the Self-Help Aid (loans and work-study)

 

Self-help aid includes loans and work-study. Loans will help pay for your tuition bill right away, whereas with work-study you’ll have to work in specific jobs during the school year to earn that money (learn more about different types of aid). The federal loans available may include the Perkins loan, Federal Unsubsidized Stafford, Federal Subsidized Stafford or Parent PLUS loans. Now that you have a better idea of your budget and how much you may still need to pay, you should be more aware of how much in loans you may need to take out.

 

IMPORTANT: The amount of loans on your financial aid award package is the full amount you are eligible for. You do not need to take out these loans in full. If you think you need less money, follow the directions on the package to decline the full amount and indicate the lower amount you need instead.

 

HINT: Not all federal loans are created equal. Some have more flexible terms than others. It’s recommended that you exhaust your loans in this order: Perkins, Stafford Subsidized, Stafford Unsubsidized. Only as a last resort should you consider a private loan or a federal Parent PLUS loan. These loans have less generous terms, and your parents will most likely have to undergo a credit check to take one out. Be sure to read more about federal loans at the Federal Student Aid’s website.

 

Understand What You Will Owe

 

You already know that you’ll have to pay back any loans. But make sure you understand your budget and whether you are completely covered for the year. Most colleges won’t be able to meet the full amount you need so be aware if you need to seek out any other financing options.

 

IMPORTANT: You and your family can seek other financing options like private loans and Parent PLUS loans. Call your financial aid office for more details. Just remember, you will have to pay back those loans, so make sure you are comfortable taking on that debt.

 

Remember, if you have any questions about your financial aid or if your financial situation has changed, it’s important to talk to someone in the financial aid office. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also has a financial aid award comparison tool available on its website here.

 

SAMPLE AWARD LETTERS

 

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Information on College Preparation and the Federal Student Aid Programs

See tips on getting ready for college.  Learn about the federal student aid programs as well as other sources of financial aid to help you pay for college or career school. Also, learn about the process for applying for and receiving financial aid.

Resource

English

Spanish

College Preparation Checklist

PDF

PDF

2017–18 Do You Need Money for College? The Guide to Federal Student Aid (formerly Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid)

PDF

Coming fall 2016

My Future, My Way: First Steps Toward College—A Workbook for Middle and Junior High School Students

PDF

PDF

Federal Student Aid for Adult Students

PDF

PDF

Financial Aid for Graduate and Professional Degree Students

PDF

Available only in English

Comparing Colleges

PDF

PDF

Financial Aid Process Video

Video

Adjust video settings to view Spanish captioning

Financial Aid Process Graphic

Image

Image

Types of Federal Student Aid Video

Video

Spanish-captioned video

Types of Federal Student Aid Graphic

Image

Image

Responsible Borrowing Video

Video

Spanish-captioned video

Budgeting Video

Video

Spanish-captioned video

Myths About Financial Aid Video

Video

Adjust video settings to view Spanish captioning

Checklists for Academic and Financial Preparation

Web Page

Web Page

Career Search

Web Page

Web Page

College Search

Web Page

Web Page

College Scorecard

Web Page

Available only in English

Scholarship Search

Web Page

Web Page

Glossary

Web Page

Web Page

2017–18 Federal Student Aid at a Glance

PDF

PDF

Federal Student Aid: Find the Information You Need

PDF

PDF

Federal Student Grant Programs

PDF

PDF

TEACH Grant Program

PDF

Coming fall 2016

Federal Student Loan Programs

PDF

PDF

Scholarships for Military Families

PDF

Coming fall 2016

Information for International Students

PDF

Available only in English

¡GRADÚATE! A Financial Aid Guide to Success

PDF

PDF

Financial Aid and Undocumented Students

PDF

PDF

Educational and Training Vouchers for Current and Former Foster Care Youth

PDF

PDF

Federal Student Aid and Homeless Youth

PDF

PDF

How Your Financial Aid Administrator Can Help You

PDF

PDF

Federal Student Aid Eligibility for Students Confined in Adult Correctional or Juvenile Justice Facilities

PDF

PDF

FAFSA Facts for Students With Drug-related Convictions

PDF

Available only in English

Saving Early = Saving Smart! Watch Your Money Grow With Your Child

PDF

 PDF

Why Go to College?

PDF

PDF

Choose a Career School Carefully

PDF

Coming fall 2016

Choosing a Career

PDF

PDF

Bright Future Native American Poster

PDF

Available only in English

Federal Student Aid bookmark (one file: page 1 is English; page 2 is Spanish)

PDF

PDF

 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) Information

Get detailed information and help on completing the FAFSA®

Resource

English

Spanish

2017–18 Completing the FAFSA

PDF

Coming fall 2016

2017–18 EFC (Expected Family Contribution) Formula

PDF

Available only in English

2017–18 FAFSA on the Web Worksheet

PDF

PDF

2017–18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

PDF

PDF

Eligibility for Federal Student Aid Graphic

Image

Image

How to Create an FSA ID Video

Video

Available only in English

FAFSA Overview Video

Video

Adjust video settings to view Spanish captioning

How to Fill Out the FAFSA Video

Video

Adjust video settings to view Spanish captioning

FAFSA and FSA ID Tips for Parents

Video

Available only in English

The FAFSA Process Graphic

Image
PDF

Image
PDF

Changes to the FAFSA Process for 2017–18 Graphic

Image

Image

FAFSA: Determining Dependency Status Video

Video

Spanish-captioned video

FAFSA Dependency Status Graphic

Image

Image

Who's My Parent When I Fill Out My FAFSA? Graphic

Image

Image

Simple Steps to Transfer Tax Information Into Your FAFSA Graphic (Information about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool)

Image
PDF

Image
PDF

After the FAFSA: What Happens Next Video

Video

Spanish-captioned video

Online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Web Page

Web Page

FAFSA Online Help

Web Page

Web Page

FAFSA4caster

Web Page

Web Page

What's an FSA ID and Why Do I Need One?

PDF

PDF

Am I Dependent or Independent?

PDF

PDF

Who Is My "Parent" When I Fill Out the FAFSA?

PDF

PDF

College Students and Parents: What You Need to Know About the 2017–18 FAFSA®

PDF

PDF

The 2017–18 FAFSA®: Get Your Dates Straight

PDF

Coming winter 2016

2017–18 FAFSA Updates and Resources Webinar

Webinar
Transcript

Available only in English

Myths About Financial Aid

PDF

PDF

Reporting Same-sex Marriage on the FAFSA  

PDF

PDF

 

Loan Information

Learn about federal student loans—what they are, how to get them, and why to get them. Understand your options for repaying a

federal student loan.

Resource

English

Spanish

Federal Student Loans: Basics for Students

PDF

PDF

Federal Student Loans: Direct PLUS Loan Basics for Parents

PDF

PDF

Federal Student Loans: Be a Responsible Borrower

PDF

PDF

Federal Student Loans: Repaying Your Loans

PDF

PDF

For Members of the U.S. Armed Forces: What you need to know about your federal student loan benefits

PDF

Available only in English

Getting a Federal Student Loan Graphic

Image

Image

Comparing Federal and Private Student Loans Graphic

Image
PDF

Image
PDF

Repayment: What to Expect Video

Video

Spanish-captioned video

Repayment: How to Manage Your Student Loans Video

Video

Spanish-captioned video

Trouble Making Your Federal Student Loan Payments? Graphic

Image
PDF

Image
PDF

Financial Awareness Counseling Tool

Web Page

Available only in English

Student Loan Debt Collection Assistant

Web Page

Available only in English

Repayment Estimator

Web Page

Web Page

Federal Student Loan Programs

PDF

PDF

Why Get a Federal Student Loan?

PDF

PDF

Income-Driven Repayment Plans for Federal Student Loans

PDF

PDF

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

PDF

PDF

Direct PLUS Loans and Adverse Credit

PDF

PDF

Student Loans (Avoiding Deceptive Offers)

PDF

Web Page

Peace Corps and Repayment of Your Federal Student Loans

PDF

Available only in English

 

Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy

Read important information about protecting yourself from scams and getting the most from your money.

Resource

English

Spanish

Choose a Career School Carefully

PDF

Coming fall 2016

Don't Get Scammed on Your Way to College

PDF

PDF

Federal Student Aid and Identity Theft

PDF

PDF

Student Loans (Avoiding Deceptive Offers)

PDF

Web Page

Money Management Checklist for College Students

PDF

PDF

 

Additional Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

o   More Info

 

§  Explore Careers

§  Career Search

§  Checklists to Get Ready

§  Choosing a School

§  School Search

§  Understanding College Costs

§  Applying to Schools

§  Budgeting

§  Finding Help

 

§  Grants and Scholarships

§  Loans

§  Work-Study Jobs

§  Aid for Military Families

Avoiding Scams

§  Basic Eligibility Criteria

§  Non-U.S. Citizens

§  Staying Eligible

§  Regaining Eligibility

 

§  Estimate Your Aid

§  Filling Out the FAFSA

§  Dependency Status

§  The FSA ID

§  Next Steps After FAFSA

§  Correcting Your FAFSA

§  Comparing School Aid Offers

§  Receiving Aid

 

§  Making a Payment

§  Repayment Plans

§  Loan Consolidation

§  Deferment and Forbearance

§  Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge

§  Understanding Default

§  Contact the Ombudsman

 

§  About Us

§  Contact Us

§  Leave Us Feedback

§  Glossary

§  Resources

§  Announcements

§  Events

§  Link to Us

§  Data Center

 

 

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