Making Sense Of How To Pay For College
College financial planning can be daunting. Having a guide in the beginning can save you money in the end.
Our children are everything
The moment we become parents we become aware of a sense of protection we did not know before. As we think about their future, education is a big part of our planning for their success. We feel the need to provide the best life for our children. As our children grow, immediate needs can take center stage and education planning moves out of focus. Before we know it, our children are in high school discussing going to college. Having a financial guide at your side is crucial for your family’s peace of mind and financial future.
Let’s face it – college planning is overwhelming and confusing. Even after hours of painstaking research, parents miss crucial information and make costly mistakes. At College Financial Guide, we offer a personalized, comprehensive planning process that outlines how to pay for college, how to identify universities most likely to offer merit-based aid, and how to maximize need-based financial aid. We support you throughout the application and award process for each of your children.
Step 1 – Initial consultation
- Determine your family’s expected family contribution (EFC)
- Determine your family’s asset protection allowance
- Discuss initial list of schools and your child’s academic achievement
- Identify your family’s eligibility for need-based aid and merit-based aid
Step 2 – Gather Data
- Deep dive discussion of personal financial information
- Review and discuss key documents
Step 3 – Plan Presentation and Delivery
- Discuss recommendations regarding financial aid
- Review school comparison report showing the net cost of each university
- Review how to pay report showing dollar for dollar breakdown of college payment strategy
Step 4 – Ongoing Support
- Review of FAFSA and CSS Profile prior to submission
- Assist with review and appeal of financial aid offers
- Planning for younger siblings is included
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is college so expensive?
The cost of attending college increases every year due to cuts in aid from state and federal government, growing salaries and administrative staffing, cost of maintenance increases, and technology changes.
How do schools determine if I’m eligible for need-based financial aid?
Schools use either the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or CSS profile, or a blended approach to estimate the expected family contribution (EFC). The school takes the cost of attendance (COA) minus expected family contribution to determine need.
What if my family makes too much money to qualify for need-based financial aid?
Families that do not qualify for need-based financial aid can still qualify for merit based aid. College Financial Guide helps these families identify schools most likely to give merit based aid, negotiate merit based aid offers, and determine the most tax-efficient way to pay for college. Many schools require families to go through the filing process to qualify for merit-based aid.
Will I be able to save money if my children go to state universities?
While the cost of attendance on paper may be less, private universities will often meet a larger percentage of need and provide more grant funding.
How do student loans work?
Student loans can come from a several different sources. Federal student loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized depending on the family’s financial need. Many states (like Pennsylvania) have state agencies that provide student loans that are lower than private rates. The remaining borrowing needs can be met using Parent Plus loans.
What will the College Financial Guide planning process do for me?
College Financial Guide will map out, dollar for dollar, how you will pay for college tuition. The process includes calculating expected family contribution, mapping out pledged assets and income, analyzing the percentage of need met for each university on your child’s list, and negotiating aid packages.