The Simple Truth

Parents Don't Know How Awful Applying For Financial Aid Can Be.

Mistakes – which are easy to make – can cost the family tens of thousands of dollars in lost aid and the need to take on more student loan debt with its own far-reaching implications.

There are many reasons parents give for not completing the financial aid forms. The most common is, “I’m not going to qualify.” But that’s not accurate and here’s why >>

Did you Know?

There’s a form called the Noncustodial Parent Profile. This form can be a financial aid killer. The student’s non-custodial parent (NCP) will complete it and unless there is transparency between the custodial parent and the NCP you will have no idea how the form was filled out. If a student can’t get the NCP to complete this form, there are special forms called “waivers” or “petitions” to explain why the parent isn’t able or can’t submit the form. But the process can be very upsetting to all concerned.

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  1. Families are not always the best judges of their own “neediness,” as objectively defined by colleges. I’ve spoken with parents with family incomes in excess of $250,000 per year who were quite sure they wouldn’t qualify for aid but at many schools, they would qualify for huge amounts of free money.There are families with moderate incomes living well within their means who feel very comfortable financially and higher-income families who struggle to keep up with high expenses and feel “poor.”  Aid eligibility is based upon objective financial criteria, however, not a family’s own determination, so regardless of how you feel about your family’s financial circumstances, applying for aid is the only way to know for sure if you’re eligible.
  2. You should have an aid application on file in case your family experiences a change in financial circumstances, such as a job loss. Some colleges will not consider applications for assistance submitted after published deadlines, even if a family’s ability to pay for college changes significantly. Having a FAFSA on file allows the college to respond quickly due to a change in circumstances.
  3. The government requires students to complete a FAFSA if they wish to take advantage of any federal student loans. There are favorable non-need-based loans that even wealthy families qualify for.
  4. Most colleges have two separate “pots” of money to provide to students: need-based aid and non-need-based aid (like academic and other types of recruitment scholarships). While a need-based aid application is generally not required to be considered for non-need-based scholarships, this rule of thumb does not apply at every college. Some colleges require a FAFSA in order to be considered for certain non-need-based scholarships. Check a college’s website or call their Admissions Office to find out if an aid application is required to apply for any non-need-based scholarships at that school to ensure that your child does not inadvertently leave money on the table.
  5. Because applying for financial aid isn’t easy, filing the forms is a sign the student is serious about a college.
  6. Finally, many families are hesitant to complete a FAFSA because they fear their aid application will hurt their child’s chance of admission at the college of his or her choice.  This is not true.  In fact,   the more affluent a student’s family is the more likely the college will be to offer free money to attract the students it wants. Colleges are a business and they would prefer to offer a discount to someone who someday might become contributing alumni.
  • Calculate Expected Family Contribution using the College Boards EFC Calculator
  • Learn the minimum amount that you will be expected to pay at any college
  • Obtains Federal Student Aid IDs in seconds – Preprogram settings saving time and effort
  • Files the FAFSA and CSS Profile – The FAFSA can take a minimum of 45 minutes IF you know what you’re doing – The CSS Profile often takes hours to complete
  • Logs into IDOC – Automatically upload tax information to colleges
  • There very few colleges that charge less than $100,000 for all four years.  Compare that to our enrollment fee of just $149.00 to ensure you get everything your child deserves.