Divorce and College - What You Should Know
Along with divorce, comes lots of worry. The children, finances, career, family and friends and so on….
Since divorce happens both when the kids are little as well as when the kids are fully grown, it is important to consider the logistical and financial considerations of sending children to college.
When thinking about divorce, it is important if both parents can discuss college, costs and how both parents will share in this potential expenditure. Ideally, you and your (former) spouse will speak about this while with the respective attorneys so that all agreements may be recorded in the Stipulation. Also to consider, in addition to the cost of tuition are room and board, books, test prep, college application fees, trips to visit colleges, travel during college to and from home, medical insurance and more.
Please know that It is not safe to assume that as a single parent that your child will naturally receive a free ride to college. That is simply not the case.
Similarly, in the case of divorce in New York State, parents cannot decide after a divorce stipulation is agreed to and signed to decide to shift the burden of paying for college to their children.
While there are programs, such as New York’s Excellsior Scholarship, to help lower income households (those with both one or two parents) this scholarship only covers the cost of tuition and does not apply to fees or room and board.
It is necessary to be open and honest with children, in regards to finances for college. Work with your child to set goals, whether it be certain schools within a given distance so that the child may commute to college or schools that ultimately will cost a certain amount after merit and need based scholarships. Set expectations, together with your child, so that you are working as a team instead of providing added stress to what can be an already stressful process.
During the application process, consider both public and private universities and fill out the FAFSA and CSS Profile. Each form may paint your family’s financial situation in a different light resulting in different amounts of aid being offered. And while the FAFSA focuses only on the household in which the child primarily resides and receives most of his/her support from, the CSS Profile may request information from a non-custodial parent, though not always.
All in all, while divorce is always difficult, there are methods and means in which to help our children achieve the dream of going to college. By correctly filing FAFSA and CSS Profile to be eligible for both need based and merit based scholarships and strategically applying to colleges that are likely to offer more merit based aid, you and your child may find substantial cost savings as well as financial, academic and social success.
For more information on Financial Aid form preparation, strategically planning for and applying to college to maximize merit and/or need based aid as well as finding scholarships, please contact College Financial Prep via cell or text at 516-225-5224 today. College Financial Prep is looking forward to working with you and your family!