Why should I enroll in FAFSAssist™?
Short of buying a home, the investment many parents make towards their children’s college educations will be the largest they make in their lives. As long as you have a strategy to pay for college and control what you can control, you have a high probability of success. FAFSAssist™ can be instrumental in helping you in your effort to send your child to a college that is a great fit for the child and the family’s finances!
Why should I pay for the services when my student goes to a school with a guidance counselor that helps them do the same things?
Many people are expecting the guidance office to do all of the things that FAFSAssist™ will do. However, before assuming they will, ask your child’s guidance counselor if:
- They are going to tell you, on balance, which colleges or universities will give your child the best educational value
- They are going to find the best academic, social and financial fit
- They are going to help them gather, organize and complete the financial aid applications
- They are going to evaluate each offer of admission’s merit and need based financial aid awards for fairness
- They are going to advise you on how to present your family and financial information so you don’t lose out on possible financial aid
- They are going to follow up on the FAFSA
- They are going to make sure your tax returns are submitted to the college (if required)
- They are going to be your advocate when something goes wrong (and something always goes wrong)
- They are going to tell you whether or not your student received a fair financial aid award
- They are going to help you appeal a bad financial aid decision
- They are going to help negotiate to get a better aid package at the college your child really wants to attend
Won’t our “free” school guidance counselor help our family achieve the same outcome and peace of mind as this “fee” service?
Let’s start with the core issue: Guidance counselors are completely overloaded. And all schools have guidance counselors but they can’t do the same things as a private counselor. Guidance counselors spend, on average only 35 minutes with a college bound student. And the “fee” to enroll in FAFSAssist™ supports the self service software to automatically file the financial aid forms and manage the entire process.
I make too much money and won’t qualify for financial aid. Why should I fill out and submit the FAFSA or CSS Profile?
Many families with six figure incomes are surprised to learn they too can qualify for financial aid. The financial aid office at Dartmouth College, and anyone associated with financial aid will tell you that every family, regardless of income, should apply. In addition, merit based scholarships and grants that are given out independent of financial status are sometimes contingent on filing financial aid forms. Likewise, with the Direct Stafford and PLUS loan programs which are often excellent loan strategies for the more affluent clients.
What is considered a successful outcome for our family?
By doing everything right your child attends the right college for the right reasons and at the right price.
Can FAFSAssist™ guarantee that my student will receive financial aid?
It is unethical to promote these kinds of guarantees, as it is impossible to know what a college will offer a student. There are too many variables and your student is one of those variables; grades and test scores are used to award financial aid and those are measured against other student applicants. Also, not every college can meet the full financial eligibility of each family. The best we can offer is to use our many years of experience and expertise to ensure that FAFSAssist™ performs all the tasks within the limitations of the financial aid system.
Couldn’t we just do all of this ourselves?
Absolutely. That’s what FAFSAssist™ gives you the power to do. It’s a self service financial aid guru. Going it alone is fine just so long as you’re willing to become an expert on financial aid.
There are posters at my child’s high school that reads ‘8 easy steps to get financial aid’. Why do they say that if it isn’t true?
It’s just good marketing. Lots of food products make all sorts of health claims on their packages; like how their snack cakes are low in fat or their yogurt promotes better digestion. But the ingredients aren’t healthy because they are loaded with sugar which contributes to Type II Diabetes!
Ask any parent who has gone through the process of applying for financial aid and paying the rest with loans or out of income and assets will likely tell you that applying for free money is anything but easy.
Something that isn’t addressed by guidance counselors and financial aid directors is that there is no charge to file your own taxes. You can fill out the 1040 for free. However, many taxpayers choose to purchase tax return software, hire a tax service or accountant/CPA. Why is that? Because the tax laws are confusing and it’s to your benefit to get professional help so you don’t pay a penny more in taxes than you have to. Same idea with financial aid. FAFSAssist™ is just like TurboTax.
Can’t the colleges help us?
The private for profit colleges like University of Phoenix, Capella University, DeVry University, Fortis, etc. are more likely to help with the forms than not for profit colleges.
Look at it from this perspective: colleges can’t serve two masters. They’re looking to protect their interests first and foremost and help your family second. To maximize the financial aid potential at any college, you need to know what they know while telling them as little as possible.
How does the FAFSAssist™ help?
Parents today are really busy. FAFSAssist™ is a parents Virtual Personal Financial Aid Advisor, Coach, and Administrative Assistant
The current FAFSA has 202 entries, the CSS Profile varies with up to 400 questions while the federal 1040 has a mere 76 by comparison. However, FAFSAssist™ is not just about filling in forms. It’s about the entire financial aid process which includes some key elements: making sure the family’s financial data is presented in the best possible light, that all of their information is consistent so as not to draw questions that they may not be prepared to answer in a way that is not in their best interest, updating their tax information, evaluating their student’s financial aid awards for fairness and advising them what to do if the award is less than expected.
What are some of the problems that parents experience?
Like anything else, there can be difficulties. FAFSAssist™ is intended for parents who are comfortable using the Internet and entering data. Problems that parents encounter are data mismatches, errors on forms, including financial information that should have been left out, etc. The FAFSAssist™ program is expert at dealing with the many issues and so parents don’t have to spend hours figuring out what went wrong.
I’ve heard colleges will negotiate or give discounts on tuition. Is this true?
Colleges will deny that they “negotiate” with parents, but the fact is that if the school wants your student, they may sweeten their initial aid offer during the appeals process. Odds of receiving a preferential financial aid award are improved if the school really wants the student because of a special skill, talent or scholastic achievement. FAFSAssist™ provides the language of negotiating for better aid packages.
How FAFSAssist™ interface with us?
Parents are provided their own secure, web-based interface. Parents also receive the software to take all all of the information that will be used to complete your student’s aid forms is available to you 24/7.
Via our College Organization page, FAFSAssist™t advises you of all the required forms, deadline dates for each college and more.
FAFSAssist™ will assist you through the process by monitoring what you have done and what you haven’t and prompt you forward each step of the way. Self service doesn’t mean no one is there to help you. At Wal-Mart there are staff monitoring to help customers having difficulties. FAFSAssist™ is like that.
How long does the service last?
The service begins when the student enrolls FAFSAssist™ until the time they enter college.
What happens if I need personal help?
If parents want more help than FAFSAssist™ can give like personal one-on-one assistance, for an additional fee you can upgrade to FAFSAssist+ at any time.