Increasing Financial Aid Eligibility:
The assets and income of both the parents and children affect the amount of financial aid available to the child. By reviewing the impact of these and some other factors, there are several strategies that actually increase the eligibility for financial aid. Also, ensuring that you FAFSA and PROFILE forms are filled out correctly can save you a great deal of time and money (more on this later).
Reducing Your Expected Family Contribution:
One of our first steps is determining your family’s expected family contribution (known in our business as EFC). This is the amount you are expected to pay before any kind of financial aid is offered by the school. Financial aid does not necessarily mean “free money” such as grants, but often comes in the form of student loans and such. Once we have determined your EFC, then we work to determine what strategies could be implemented to improve your financial position in order to make college more affordable.
Income and Asset Positioning to Minimize Expected Family Contribution:
These are some of the strategies that we’ve determined can help many parents received additional aid from schools.
This is a crucial step in minimizing your EFC. Assets and resources titled improperly can be potentially damaging to your child’s financial aid. Repositioning assets can not only reduce your EFC it can also potentially give you a tax credit or deduction. Some of these strategies may involve us working with your CPA or tax professional.
Maximizing the Benefits of the Education Tax Incentives:
The American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning tax credits are some of the tax incentives that help parents recoup some of the cost of college. We find that a fair number of parents will simply not get the credit where they are currently positioned. We work with the parents and often their tax professionals to maximize these benefits.
Comprehensive Financial Modeling for College and Retirement Planning:
College is expensive. Besides purchasing their primary residence, families won’t have an expense that comes close to paying for college, especially when paying for more than one child or for elite private schools. We recognize this burden. In our process, we review the impact that college will have on their retirement. This affect will help us work with the parents to determine what strategies should be used.
Strategies for Maximizing Eligibility for Merit & Need-Based Financial Aid:
Parents have been told that if their situation exceeds their eligibility to receive financial aid, they should not fill out the financial aid forms. They could not be further from the truth. If a school is trying to attract a student, they can leverage the merit, to provide merit-based aid or even discount their tuition! This is one of many strategies to help in this area.
Accurately Completing the FAFSA and PROFILE Financial Aid Forms:
According to the US Dept. of Education, over 90% of the financial aid forms are completed with errors and inconsistencies. The parents receive a SAR (Student Aid Report) several weeks after submitting the original. On this form they review and correct any issues with the original. If it is filled out incorrectly, that will require it to be returned and corrected, causing further delay of a few weeks. There is a limited amount of aid available, and financial aid is very much a time game. The earlier your financial aid form is sent to the school (the earliest is Jan. 1), the likelihood you will get a higher amount of aid.
We work to make sure the financial aid forms are filled out correctly, the first time.
Achieve Both College Funding and Retirement Funding Goals:
This is one of the greatest challenges facing parents today. Many of the strategies that we recommend help parents save for retirement and lower college costs.
Tried & True College Cost Savings Techniques and Strategies:
While working with us we will explore all of the various college savings strategies. Our software not only calculates your EFC it also explores multiple funding options to customize your college plan. Our solutions solve the college financing issue for families. Our package includes a personalized plan that will help save the family and student money during and before college. Our resources also include techniques that help promote your child to the college of their choice, improving their chances of acceptance.
Marketing Student Athletes Competitively to Colleges:
While many of us don’t have the next Michael Jordan, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, or Babe Ruth as our child – a fair amount of them are good enough to play collegiate sports. Many parents and students bypass this possibility by not taking the steps necessary to increase the chances of a student getting a partial or full athletic scholarship. We work with the students and parents to “market” their child and increase their leverage with the colleges.
College Appeal Strategies to Increase Financial Aid:
When a student is accepted at a school, they receive an award letter from that school. This is the least amount of money the school will offer them to attend their school. Remember, college is a business - a very large business at that. They don’t want to put any more money out there than they have to, to get their student body full. And who can blame them? They do, on the other hand, understand certain circumstances that students have that can make it more difficult financially to attend the school. This is where award letter appeals come into play. There are several strategies that can be used to increase the amount of aid given.