I spoke with a new client yesterday who is a single mom. Her daughter’s dad is, unfortunately, mostly uninvolved. And now, the girl is a Junior in High School and planning to apply to college.
So the mom calls me and we begin to discuss why it is so important for her, and so many others in her position, to be strategic with the schools that she applies to. Here are just some of those reasons:
So, my suggestion to her, and to the other custodial moms and dads that I have worked with is that we find the colleges and universities most likely to offer her child either need based aid or merit scholarships.
What happens if this important step is not taken? I can give you another example….
I received a call today from the mom of a High School Senior. Her child plans to attend a very expensive, private institution in the fall. The child has received $0 in merit aid. Now, at the 11th hour she is asking me how to find scholarships and how to apply for loans. Unfortunately, I cannot help her in terms of scholarships. The most free money comes from the schools themselves! Therefore, it is imperative to apply to the colleges and universities that will most likely offer your child the available aid. I am left upset for the child and both of his parents who will likely be taking out more than $300,000 in loans, if they can even qualify (due to some potential credit issues.) If they can’t qualify, will this child be going to school in the fall? I don’t know...
Situations like these can easily be prevented with proper planning prior to applications being submitted. Proper planning includes research to find the schools that will offer the most free money toward college expenses, open dialogue with children so that you are both striving for similar goals, and addressing financial considerations, whether it be separation or divorce, job loss or something other so that you can reduce your Expected Family Contribution as much as possible. The savings reaped over the course of four plus years of college will be well worth the time and effort.
Vicki Vollweiler, Founder of College Financial Prep, guides families through the maze of college financial aid. As a divorced mom, herself, Vicki understands the needs of separated and divorced parents and how to maximize savings for these families. Visit www.CollegeFinancialPrep.com to learn more or call Vicki at 516-225-5224 to discuss your situation.
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College Financial Prep provides families with cost saving strategies, scholarship research and financial aid preparation. Contact College Financial Prep today at 516-225-5224!