Monday, September 9, 2013

{Healthy, Wealthy, & Happy Living in Omaha}

Save Thousands On College With
These 5 Financial Aid Secrets

Do you have a senior in high school this year?  If you do (or know someone who does), it’s time to start applying to colleges and seeking the financial aid and scholarships you’ll need to help pay for their education. 
Here are five secrets to pay less for higher education:

Ø  When parents’ income matters.  The year prior to the student’s high school graduation is the basis for financial aid calculations.  When possible, shift income to this year before Spring graduation in the coming year.  This may help you qualify for more financial aid.

Ø  Apply early or lose funding.  After January 1, complete and submit the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) at, and apply for aid packages your school(s) of choice may require. 

Ø  Cheaper college tuition may cost you more.  Private schools are often endowed with funds to offer up to 100% the cost of college.  State schools may have lower tuition costs, but significantly less scholarship money.  Apply to both types of schools and compare overall costs after scholarships are factored into the equation.

Ø  Do not “negotiate.”  Each school has different rules on how scholarship money is awarded.  It doesn’t help to mention another school’s offer to the aid director.  It won’t get you a better scholarship package.  However, it is okay to ask a college to review a previous decision by saying: “What else can you find to make it possible for my child to go to school here?”

Ø  Outside awards may help, but only slightly.  Awards from community organizations may range from $100 to $1,000 and are a great source of pride.  Keep in mind that these cash awards are considered a resource by the IRS and may lower your ability for federal funding.  Your best option is to apply for as many scholarships offered directly from the college before spending too much time on outside funding.

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