The College Money “PUZZLE” consists of four pieces – EFC (expected family contribution), Net Price Calculator, Financial Aid and Scholarships that when used “strategically” can help you figure out how to pay for college. This begins our two-part series to talk in depth about these pieces of the puzzle that are uniquely intertwined and interconnected. We will begin with Expected Family Contribution and Net Price Calculator.
According to this January 31, 2014 Forbes article by Tony Onink, you
can have a household income up to $425,000 and still qualify for some financial aid. It is just a matter of the number of dependents and type of school that you apply to, either public/private as well as two-year vs four-year college or university.
In this episode, we discuss why you should know your EFC (expected family contribution) and use the Net Price Calculator to find out the “true cost” of the college that you are looking at. Every college and university has some sort of calculator on their website, you just have to find it. They don’t really want you to know what it will cost. The “real cost” consists of tuition + room & board+ fees – EFC- Merit Aid/scholarships= balance or gap. This gap is what you have to be worried about.
Your EFC will usually not change from year to year. If you have more than one child in college, your EFC is split between the children. That is a good thing because you will likely receive more financial aid as a result. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week: Scholarships & Financial Aid.
We have a special guest for this BONUS episode – Sia Knight, The College Savvy Coach. She is a former teacher, counselor, administrator turned entrepreneur (founder of The College Savvy Coach) and educational consultant. She brings us some “pearls of wisdom” about scholarship and college admission in general. She has a FREE webinar – SUPER SCHOLARSHIP WEBINAR on February 4th, 2016 8pm EST (check FACEBOOK page for additional dates). You can register HERE for the webinar.
We are very fortunate to have her as a guest. She gives us a sneak peak into the webinar and share some of those secrets with us such as how to maximize your HS counselor to your advantage, how to compose an application strategy for college and some of the biggest mistakes that lead to less money for college.
[spp-tweet tweet=”It’s not Who You Know, it’s really WHO KNOWS YOU!”]
Get to know your H.S. Counselor. When they need to recommend someone for a scholarship, let it be you.
Teach your child to be their own best advocate.
Start your child with an internship or leadership building activity in middle school or early high school.
Teach your student to foster relationships early with other volunteer organizations if you are not that academic super star (to leverage later for scholarships). An example would be Boys & Girls clubs, Urban League or youth groups of fraternal organizations.
How to be a GREAT student – Good isn’t good enough! Colleges are looking for GREAT students: Grades, References, Extracurricular, Avatar (online presence) & Test Score.
Take courses in high school that are rigorous enough to let colleges know you can handle challenging courses.
Get recommendations from school counselor and supplementary ones as needed.
Don’t rush senior year and load up on extracurricular activities. Plan for that earlier in high school.
Believe that college reps do look at your online (google, Facebook, instagram etc…) image!
Be aware of the upcoming changes to the SAT and ACT.
In this episode, we discuss current events in the college admission industry. There were two articles of interest, the first one from a Washington, D.C. news site (examiner .com) that talked about which colleges would be requiring that students take the “optional” 50 minute SAT essay. As if the testing changes were not confusing enough. Many schools have a “wait and see” attitude towards the new SAT, its’ sub-scores and how they will be interpreting that information. Other schools have made a definite policy decision whether or not they are requiring the optional writing section. The ACT and COLLEGE BOARD have charts on their websites with the colleges that have reported to them about this issue.
The other article from Forbes.com unveiled a little known fact that FAFSA and the ACT report to the individual colleges where they are “ranked” on your application or test. This information is critical to the schools who are always looking for an indication of how a student perceives them. Unknowingly to you, they may make critical decisions on your admission with this information. You may not have intended it the way it is being interpreted. The suggestion for a resolution is to list your schools on the FAFSA or the ACT in alphabetical order.
SCHOLARSHIP SPOTLIGHT: The CHOBANI Scholarship $5,000 awarded annually (non-renewable) given by New York Women in Communications, Inc.