Does  your student have some down time during the winter break? A quick and easy way to make some money is to do some test prep for the ACT or SAT. In fact, this is likely to pay off far more than any juggling strategies you might be attempting with your income or assets in order to bring your EFC down.

College scholarship programs give some pretty concrete evidence of why test prep is important. For example, here are some of the University of Oregon’s merit scholarships:

  • Students with 1240 (SAT) or 28 (ACT) combined with 3.85 GPA are eligible for the Presidential Scholarship, worth $9,000 per year
  • Those with 1190/26 and a 3.8 GPA are eligible for the Summit Scholarship, worth $6,000 per year
  • Those with 1150/25 and a 3.6 GPA are eligible for the Apex Scholarship, worth $3,000 per year

A 1-2 point bump in ACT score can translate to an extra $3,000 per year! That is about what they would make working full time all summer. Of course every school has its own awards and award criteria, but a quick review of those of the school you’re interested in will most likely show that test prep is a good investment. And there are plenty of free or low-cost options for doing so.