Families who are a few years out from college should calculate their EFC, but as college approaches and students start identifying schools they’re interested in, net price calculators become far more valuable. There can be vast differences between EFC and net price, and even significant school-to-school differences in net price due to different aid policies. Continue reading EFC vs Net Cost
Another school year is drawing to a close, meaning that free time and mental bandwidth are about to become available for many students. Here are some things high school students may want to spend some time on this summer: Continue reading What to do this Summer
If you’ve been reading this for a while, you probably know I’m a huge fan of College Navigator as an information source. It’s run by the National Center for Education Statistics and has some information that any prospective student should be aware of. Last week I mentioned the loan default rate by school. Another affordability-related topic that prospective students should consider is the student body’s borrowing rate– also available on College Navigator. Continue reading Student Loans by School
Many parents and grandparents purchase education savings bonds– series EE or series I bonds– to pay for college. These bonds are tax-free within some limits, and it’s not uncommon for families to find out too late that they’ve landed outside the limits. Continue reading Series EE and I Bonds
Many schools’ FAFSA deadlines are rapidly approaching, or even past. Whether or not you think you’ll get need-based aid, you should be completing and submitting the FAFSA (and PROFILE, if applicable).
What happens if you miss your school’s deadline? Each school has its own policies so Continue reading Do the FAFSA. Really.
When it comes to negotiating and aid award, it’s helpful to understand both how the Professional Judgment (PJ) process works and how negotiating in general works.
With the PJ process, the school has a specific set of constraints and you must work within them. The Department of Education allows schools to make adjustments “on a case-by-case basis only to adjust the student’s cost of attendance or the data used to calculate her Continue reading Negotiating an Aid Award
Still haven’t filled out the FAFSA? There are plenty of reasons unrelated to your financial aid eligibility why you should. One of the big ones, from a parent perspective, is having some leverage over your student. I’ll call it the “Tattoo Rule” in honor of a friend and her college freshman daughter, who shall remain unnamed. Continue reading Tattoos and the FAFSA
A financial aid package often includes work-study as one component. Typically the package includes a dollar sum of work-study income to be used for education costs. It’s up to the student to find a qualifying work-study job once they arrive on campus, and there is no guarantee that such a job is available. Continue reading Work Study
The Higher Education Act, which oversees federal financial aid programs, is overdue for a reauthorization. The House education committee, led by Rep Virginia Foxx, R-NC, is about to release a draft proposal called the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act. According to Inside Higher Ed, the proposal includes significant changes in several key areas: Continue reading Higher Ed Act Reauthorization
For divorced parents, figuring out who is the custodial parent for FAFSA filing purposes can be a little confusing. Actually, the rules are pretty simple: the custodial parent is the one with whom the student spends the most time. That’s not necessarily the parent named custodial parent in the divorce decree, or the one claiming the student on their tax return. Continue reading FAFSA Custodial Parent