Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ways to Improve College Financial Aid

693 views

What Are 5 Proven Ways To Get More College Financial Aid?

I've always loved the idea of doing a ton of homework to reap a healthy college financial aid package. Since I hate the idea of loans, getting grants, scholarships and tuition discounts is the way to go.
Few know more about this subject than Mark Kantrowitz, author of How to Appeal for More College Financial Aid. Mark has been on the front lines of this little-known battlefront for years.
I'll be honest with you. You will have to plan ahead to get the best package. It's not a matter of calling up a college's financial aid office and berating them into a better deal. The numbers have to make sense to them and you have to document your reasons.
GettyGETTY

Here's what Kantrowitz recommends:
-- Get grants, not loans. "If the student has good grades and test scores, look for colleges that offer merit aid. These might not be top-tier institutions, but it is better to graduate with little or no debt than to borrow more than you can afford to repay."
-- Note any changes in your family's income. "If your family's ability to pay is affected by special circumstances, such as changes in income in the last two years or something that differentiates you from the typical family, ask the college financial aid administrator for a professional judgment review.
Financial aid administrators are more likely to make an adjustment for one-time events that are not reflective of ability to pay during the academic year, as opposed to a regular recurring event. And they are more likely to make an adjustment when the special circumstances are due to factors beyond the family's control, as opposed to lifestyle choices."
-- Be careful with your investment decisions. "Reduce income during the base year by avoiding capital gains (or offsetting capital gains with losses), avoiding retirement plan distributions, and shifting bonuses from one year to the next. And don't forget to reduce reportable assets by paying down consumer debt."
-- Don't put investments or savings into the student's accounts. "Shift assets from the student's name to the parent's name, such as by moving custodial bank and brokerage accounts into custodial 529 plan accounts."
-- Divorces change aid consideration. If the parents are divorced, choose the parent with the lower income (including stepparent income if this parent has remarried) as the `custodial ' parent."
-- If you appeal, document your reasons.  "The appeals process is driven by independent, third-party documentation of the special circumstances and the financial impact on the family.
Do not lie or misrepresent the family's financial circumstances. Financial aid administrators will reject an appeal if they feel the family is trying to game the system. Appeal for more financial aid as soon as you learn about the special circumstances, even if it occurs in the middle of the academic year."

John F. Wasik is the author of  "Lightning Strikes," "Keynes's Way to Wealth"and 15 other books on innovation, money and life. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment