August 13, 2022

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Five Ways to Make College More Affordable

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Families often overpay for college due to their woefully inadequate knowledge. They can also be swayed by falsehoods about college admissions.

These are five tips for college shoppers that your clients need to know:

1. Know The Limitations Of College Cost Calculators

Some parents are discouraged from saving for college by using college cost calculators. They see the projected prices and give up.

These calculators overlook the fact that many families don’t pay the full cost of college. 78% of state university students who apply for aid are granted a grant by at least one of the following: federal government, state governments, and/or schools. 

Private colleges receive 92% of aid applicants who are need-based, merit-based, or both.

The average tuition discount for freshmen at four-year private colleges is 59%, according to an annual survey by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. This includes merit and need-based aid.

I strongly suggest that you warn parents of the fact that college cost calculators can greatly overestimate how much they will have to pay. This reality may help parents feel less discouraged when saving for big-ticket items.

2. Don’t Fixate On Financial Aid.

Parents worry about whether their children will be eligible for financial aid. They also wonder if they should save money to increase their chances. Your clients may not realize that a college discount is important regardless of its name.

It’s not an either/or situation when it comes to financial aid. Many accepted students receive a merit award before schools determine if they are eligible for need-based aid. The merit award will be applied to any need once a student has been determined eligible for need-based aid.

Here’s an example:

The college is $65,000, and the student gets a $25,000 merit scholarship. According to the financial aid formula, the family can pay $30,000. The gap would be $10,000 if you subtract the student’s award from their expected contribution.

The school would use the $25,000 merit award to help meet financial needs and then decide whether it should give the final $10,000. A school would typically first use a federal student loan to meet the unmet need, and sometimes, a federal parent PLUS loan.

Most private and public universities offer merit and need-based scholarships.

3. Families Should Know Their Costs

Families need to know the expected tuition costs of colleges and universities based on their assets and income.

You can use an expected family contribution calculator to help them get an early warning. The EFC can be expressed as a dollar number. The lower the number, both in terms of assets and income, the more the household can afford to go to college.

Because most institutions don’t meet all students’ needs, this dollar amount is often underestimated.

It is a good idea for parents to use an EFC calculator in the middle school years of their child so that there are no surprises later.

4. Find Out About Other Offers

Students don’t know what other schools might offer them when they receive their award letters from colleges. Students don’t know if schools accepted them offer better deals than other applicants.

High college costs make it important for families that they have as much information as possible. This website is known as the Kelley Blue Book for college pricing. It can help families find schools within their budget.

Students who share award letters with others will be able to view all real prices and corresponding financial aid offers for free.

This online platform allows parents to compare the awards received by their children with the aid offered by similar students at colleges and universities across the country. This allows families to discover college applicants that may not have been on their radar before.

TuitionFit can help you appeal for more awards or to apply to other colleges. You should also know that many colleges accept applications past the deadlines.

5. Examine The Financial Stability Of Colleges

Higher-ed observers believed that COVID-19 might force many small colleges to close. This hasn’t yet happened. However, it is a good idea to examine the financial health and viability of higher education institutions. The college’s student population is a warning sign. I would be wary of a college with less than 1000 students.

This post was written by All Seasons Wealth. At All Seasons Wealth, we provide expert advice and emphasize the importance of creating in-house portfolios to personalize your strategy for asset management, financial planning, and cash management. We utilize research and perform market analysis to provide you with Wealth Management In St Petersburg FL. No matter your needs, we can work with you to develop a consulting solution tailored to you.

 

Any opinions are those of All Seasons Wealth and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of the strategy selected. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of the strategy selected. Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon before making any investment. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.