The Right College for you!
Most people are aware there is a lingering student loan debt problem in America. They may have heard about some of the precarious positions many borrowers now find themselves in. Most new students are aware of student loans and trying to become better educated when evaluating the decision to pursue a higher education. As such, student loans should really be one of the last options when preparing college planning strategies. However, all too often it moves to the top as borrowers are not familiar with the college planning process in general and finance the experience through student loans.
There is some good news however in that appropriate planning and instructions can help borrowers can become less dependent upon student loans. This will still allow them to pursue their higher education goals. It may begin with finding a college that can help you to avoid student debt. Finding the right college based on your child’s educational goals and cultural fit is key to finding the right school. Then determining how to finance this education becomes the next and critical step. One of the first steps is to ensure the college is a good cultural fit for your student.
College is an important choice of many individuals and finding one that will help your child pursue their career path becomes critical. You will want to find a college that provides your student with the best chance to become successful in their chosen field. In my experience, one of the worst things that can happen to students is transferring to multiple universities. There are often a significant number of transfer credits that will not apply when moving from one school to another. So finding a school that your student will be successful and want to stay is very important.
Here are some questions you and your student may want to answer prior to finding the right college:
- Does your child want to be close to home or do they want to experience college from a long distance away from home?
- Does the school offer a Degree in your child’s desired field?
- Are the degrees from this university respected in the business world that will provide an appropriate return on your investment?
- Are you seeking a specific experience (i.e. religious, cultural) for your child during their college years?
Each of these considerations will be important and are not necessarily in a specific order of importance. All of these considerations will help to keep your student in school and not drop out within a couple of years. Just because your child has gained admission to a university, does not necessarily mean it is the best choice. Will your child be successful, grow, and graduate will help their chances to be successful in their beginning career. You will know your child the best and together you can both find out which college will be the best for their situation.
Not all schools are created equal when it comes to financial aid and each potential college needs to be viewed as an investment opportunity. While there are certainly a lot of similarities in financial aid options, it becomes important to understand the process each school will use to determine aid will be a little bit different specific to that school. In some cases, it may make more financial sense to attend a private university when compared to a public university simply because of the way these schools view applications.
One of the constants between most schools that participate in the federal aid program is that applicants are encouraged to complete the FAFSA application. One of the main purposes of completing the FAFSA application will be to determine your child’s expected family contribution (EFC). This number will play a very important role in determining the amount of aid you will receive from each perspective school. The EFC is essentially the minimum amount a school will expect you to contribute toward your child’s education each year.
Here is how the basic formula works:
This formula will establish your family’s eligibility for financial assistance. The financial need will be determined by the school and if your student is a good candidate for admission, the school will meet a significantly higher percentage of your financial need to allow them to attend. This will be done through awarding various scholarships and grants.
Help is here for you during this Process
The college planning process, and more specifically college financing process, is very difficult to navigate on your own. Having someone who understands the various components that go into determining the financial need at each school is invaluable. Careful planning can help you save literally tens of thousands of dollars.
Parents will want what is best for their children. Luckily help is here to ensure both parties can understand this process and help you to determine the best plan. Incorrect decisions can not only have your students start off on the wrong foot, but can also play a significant role in your own retirement if not careful. Call us today to schedule a college planning consultation and we can help you and your student create a plan for the next step of their lives.