This is the time of year when high school guidance counselors and representatives from various colleges meet with the parents of high school students preparing for college. They give tips about how to best conquer the application process and how to apply for financial aid. Often, these representatives will advise against hiring a professional to help secure the most financial aid from their institution. Makes sense for them, right? The very frustrating thing is that parents will listen to this advice!
Paying for college is one of the biggest investments you will make for your family and it seems crazy not to, at least, talk to a professional that is fluent in how this whole process works. There are some families that can pay for college out of pocket. Most of us, however, look at this investment in our child’s future with some trepidation and try to figure out how we are going to pay for it.
The forms necessary to file for financial aid are the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE. They are roughly 10 to 24 pages respectively and are filled with questions that have certain meaning to the associations issuing the forms. The answers to these questions will be used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). For example, what is the significance of the year you bought your house or the parent’s ages? How are student assets assessed compared to parental assets? How does your mortgage payment or unreimbursed medical expenses fit into the equation? How should you handle your retirement portfolio in respect to these forms? Keep in mind that your EFC generated by the FAFSA is not the same that is generated by PROFILE.
Speak to a professional that can help you understand how this process works and choose schools strategically. The initial call is free and we will tell you whether we can help…or not. You get one chance to get this right. It is not wise to throw caution to the wind when it comes to your child’s future.