Financial Aid…Intimidating? No. Get a handle on it!

fullsizerenderFinancial aid can be one of the ickiest topics and not to mention last piece of the application discussed. Why? Maybe it’s because we despise the numbers and jargon. Or maybe we just ignore it completely if we get into our “dream” school. But one thing is guaranteed….the debt you graduate with…has to be paid back…really. So while some reasonable debt can be okay, there is certainly out-of-this-world debt that really should be considered (and considered WELL before the May 1st commitment date when you pick where you’re going to college). Beverly Hills High School put on a How Colleges Can Be More Affordable Than You Think evening with guest speaker Trevor Mizrahi from Premier College Guidance (thanks Trevor!). Here’s a few tidbits from the evening. Educate yourself and don’t be afraid of the jargon!

Choosing a college that will give you a strong return on investment Trevor discussed the importance of considering a student’s “return on investment” in college. What does this mean? Well, in a sense, when you graduate after you have paid for college will you be able to get a job? Consider the following when choosing a college: Access to internships, job placement rate of graduates, graduation rate and the average amount of time it takes to graduate are some of the factors that can help value your return on investment in a college.

FAFSA The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is now open and available October 1, 2016. What does this mean? It used to be open in January, so now you get the opportunity to complete this early! Please find the following FAFSA considerations:

  • You will need to create your FSA ID, click the following to create: https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm one for the student and one for the parent
  • FAFSA is available October 1, 2016 for the 2017-2018 school year access it here: https://fafsa.ed.gov/
  • Use the Data Retrieval Tool this is a link between your FAFSA and the IRS to input your tax information
  • CSS Profile not all colleges will require this, a good amount of private colleges will. Check individually on each college admission/financial aid webpage
  • Expected Family Contribution this is what your family is expected to reasonably pay after you submit your FAFSA and any other required supporting documents (Important: this is when it is good to find how much NEED colleges will offer to pay. If your EFC isn’t very high and your loans/scholarships, etc. don’t match the total cost of tuition, will the school meet your NEED and make up the difference?)
  • Gift-aid and Self Help, know the difference Gift aid = aid you do not have to pay back (scholarships, grants, etc.), Self help = loans and work study.
  • After you apply to colleges you will get emails and information from each of the schools you apply. Schools will typically set up a “student portal” for you to keep track of records and to-do’s for the school. CHECK this often, a lot of times financial aid information and additional requests for documents will go through this
  • Loan breakdown in addition to loans offered to students (Stafford loans unsubsidized and/or subsidized) Parent Plus loans may be offered as well (to reduce the debt placed on the individual student Loan information HERE
  • Cal Grant At our high school we automatically electronically submit Cal Grant GPAs for consideration. What do you have to do? Submit your FAFSA to be able to link the information

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