Financial Aid Strategies For High School Seniors And Their Parents

You Must Act Now To Recieve A Good Financial Aid Package.
Parents and Students that enter the financial aid process for the first time in their senior year of high school are often gripped with a feeling of anxiety. But if you, or your child is now a senior in high school there is no more time for procrastinating. It’s time for college, it’s time for the FAFSA and it’s time to pay the piper. Many families find themselves wishing they had started learning about financial aid, scholarships for high school seniors, student loans and the FAFSA earlier rather than hoping it all works out and they don’t end up in the poor house. While the earlier you start planning the more options and resource are available, all is not lost even if it’s already the senior year.

The good news is there are still some strategies you can use to significantly reduce the high cost of college before you complete the FAFSA. Without the help of a college funding consultant it’s unlikely you’ll be able to implement all the strategies but you can use the few strategies listed below and dramatically effect on your financial aid.

Basic strategies

  • You need to determine if the CSS PROFILE* is required by any of the colleges in order for you to receive any financial aid or free college scholarships.
  • You need to determine if any of the colleges you’re applying to require their own financial aid forms in addition to the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE before they’ll award any free college scholarships or even student loans.
  • You need to complete the FAFSA correctly the first time, or you may not receive any college scholarships or federal student loans
  • You need to determine eligibility for “merit based” scholarships.

Make sure your FAFSA, CSS PROFILE and the institutional financial aid forms are accurate, timely and consistent with one another. Regardless of your income or assets you must complete the FAFSA, CSS PROFILE and any other required institutional forms. To be eligible for free college scholarships and low interest student loans.

Important Financial Aid Strategies You Can’t Afford To Overlook

  • You should identify schools where the student is in the top 20% of the admitting freshman class. We always encourage our clients to apply to schools where the student is in the top 20% of the admitting class. If financial aid is important to you and you want to increase your chances of receiving free college scholarships find schools where you are in the top 20%. Students in the top 20% of the admitting class tend to receive more free college scholarships and need less student loan money.
  • You should apply to colleges that meet 75% to 100% of “your need” as defined by both federal and institutional methodologies. Once you’ve identified schools where you’re in the top 20% of the admitting class your homework gets more interesting and more challenging. Next you need to determine your schools historical tendency to meeting a family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Next you need to determine how the school meets that percentage of need, and then determine how the need met. Your quest is to determine the percentage of self-help and gift aid?
  • You need to move your includable assets into non- includable accounts. This strategy is key to receiving more financial aid than you may have thought possible. If your assets are exposed to either the federal or institutional methodology you can reduce the amount you have to pay by altering the title or sheltering those assets into non-includable accounts. Be careful to properly and legally implement the available strategies. If you err here it could be very costly. The HERA is the resource you want to engage if you’re not using the Financial Aid FastTrack Program.
  • You need to develop cash flow scenarios. Convert short-term debt into long-term debt and take full advantage of low interest student loans. Take full advantage strategies to tax deduct the cost of college. There are some creative strategies for tax deducting college cost that work for nearly everyone over and above the Lifetime Learning Credit, Hope Scholarship Credit and student loan interest deduction.
  • You should spreadsheet the various awards letter you receive. Spread sheeting your awards helps you to determine if you received a fair award. Analyzing which school gave you more free college scholarship and less college student loans will prove prudent and instrumental in reducing the cost of attendance.
  • Evaluate your award equity. Determine if you received a fare award based on your family’s EFC and the student’s academic performance. If you determine your award was unfair (based on qualifying circumstances) you need to enter the appeal process for reevaluation with the financial aid officer.

These important strategies are instrumental in helping you receive all the financial aid possible. It will take time and effort for you do execute these strategies if we don’t do it for you but it will be well worth your blood, sweat and tears. Remember college is a four-year proposition. If you receive $5000 more in free college scholarships each year, after 4 years of college you’re $20,000 to the better.

If you are feeling confused, or overwhelmed by the financial aid process and you are a student or parent of a senior in high school, there is still hope! Enrolling in the Financial Aid FastTrack Program allows you to take advantage of the expertise of financial aid professional.

*CSS Profile is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does note endorse this product.