The first question is will my child get accepted to the college of their choice and the second question is, will I be able to afford the tuition?
Don’t get stressed about the sticker price because you may be able to pay a lot less. According to CNN Money*, the price for the average private college tuition, room and board was $45,370 last year. But the average student actually paid $26,080, according to The College Board. At public colleges, the sticker price was $20,090, but the average in-state student paid $14,210.
Navigate Financial Aid Correctly and Save Potentially Thousands
Below I will share with you 7 ways to save money, however, if at any point your eyes glaze over and you feel confused, please contact me. Through my relationship with POM College Consulting, I can now offer you services for the entire college planning process. This includes helping high school students produce winning applications at the right schools, helping parents organize their finances, provide invaluable support for the FAFSA application process, and helping parents appeal for more financial aid support.
7 Ways to Save Money
Financial aid is comprised of scholarships and grants (which you don’t have to pay back), and loans (which you do). Some of what you receive is based on income and some can be based on academic merit.
Colleges, states, and the federal government give out grants. Most are awarded based on your financial need, and determined by the income you report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The biggest grant awards usually come from the college itself, and the amount varies from college to college, so it pays to do your homework.
- Haggle with the College
The student can appeal to the college in a letter stating why they believe they should be granted more money than what they awarded and then follow up with a phone call. In the letter your child can reiterate why he or she is a good match for the college and whether other comparable colleges are offering more aid. If you have any special family financial circumstances that will impact your ability to pay, which was not taken into consideration at the time of your FAFSA filing, mention that.
- College Work-Study jobs
These are part-time jobs on or nearby campus for eligible students, depending on their finances and the funding available at the school. You need to have submitted the FAFSA in order to qualify. Your child can also apply for part time jobs on their own.
- Apply for Private Scholarships
There are thousands of private scholarships out there from companies, non-profits and community groups.
- Take out Loans
Loans should be your last resort, but they’re often inevitable if scholarships, grants and savings don’t cover the entire bill. The typical family uses loans to cover 20% of the cost of college. Federal loans offer lower interest rates and more borrower protections, but you have to fill out the FAFSA. First-year undergrads can borrow up to $5,500. Some students qualify for subsidized loans, which won’t accrue interest until after they graduate. Parents can apply for a PLUS loan to help their child pay for college.
- Claim a $2,500 Tax Credit
The American Opportunity Tax Credit allows you to reduce your taxes after paying for tuition, fees, books, and room and board — up to $2,500 a year per child. Parents can claim the tax credit if their modified adjusted gross income is no more than $90,000, or $180,000 if filing jointly.
- Live Off Campus or Enroll in a Community College
The average cost for room and board is $10,440 at public colleges and $11,890 a year a private institutions, so if you can live at home or other cheaper living quarters, that could reduce the total costs significantly.
Do you want personal attention and guidance throughout the entire college planning process?
As mentioned earlier, I can help provide services for the entire college planning process that could potentially save you thousands of dollars. This includes helping your child produce a winning application to the right schools, helping you organize your finances, provide invaluable support for the FAFSA application process, and help you appeal for more financial aid support.
Please set up a time in my calendar so we can start the college planning process.