If you are a student or parent of a college-bound student, no doubt you have asked yourself the question about whether or not you should apply for student aid to help pay for the experience of a lifetime.
Odds are, you live in one of two camps: “I will never figure out these forms, so why bother?” or “I/we make to much money, so why even fill out the form?” The answer to either question is: TO GET THE FREE MONEY, THAT’S WHY!
A couple of weeks ago, I was called to a meeting in Dayton, OH for training and certification as a speaker for Monster’s Making It Count (MIC) program for College Financial Planning. As an independent contractor for Monster, I will be delivering presentations in a number of high schools, speaking to parents and students on this very subject. Now, I’m not the end-all-be-all of college financial aid planning gurus, but I consider myself fairly knowledgeable in this area.
Everyone’s situation is different. Best of all, there is no one “right” or “wrong” way to go about the aid process, so with your permission, here are some resources to get you started smart:
- Monster has an INCREDIBLE site which will walk you through their entire process at elearning.makingitcount.com. This site includes average college cost info, Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) estimator, and more;
- The process truly starts here with the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA);
- Info on the CSS Financial Aid PROFILE (required by many private colleges) can be found at collegeboard.com.
- For some general ideas on college savings or investment accounts (including more on 529 accounts), check out my financial website at www.scottcooksey.com
- If that still isn’t enough, check out this interesting article from The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Clements (WSJ Online subscription may be required).
Oh, and finally, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE (I’m BEGGING YOU) DO NOT EVER PAY FOR ANY SCHOLARSHIP SEARCHES! It’s a scam!
If you want a shot at free money (need or merit based), or just make sure you aren’t leaving anything on the table, get to filling out that FAFSA right now! In many cases, the FAFSA is the form that sets up the student for consideration of need-based and merit-based scholarships along with other aspects of financial aid.
So there it is. A few ideas to start the process. There are no failures, only opportunities!
Oh, if you want to have either me or one of the other presenters nationwide (United States & Puerto Rico) deliver Monster’s Making Financial Planning Count at your local high school, email me and I’ll pass it along to the good folks at Monster!