Another example comes from one of my students, a sophomore at a well-known state university. One of her required courses is "LGBT Families." Again, if that is within your cultural framework, no problem. If, however, you would find that problematic as a required course, it is best to know that before applying, much less before matriculating.
Succeed Where It Counts, LLC (http://www.succeedwhereitcounts.com) is committed to helping every student find "The Right College, at The Right Price, and to Graduate on Time with The Right Degree."©
- Perkins Loan program phased out.
- Asset Protection Allowance reduced
- Increased scrutiny of student debt
2. Asset Protection Allowance (APA) is a variable within the FAFSA formula. [see formula guide] Its intended purpose is to fence off certain assets in respect to parents' retirement and old age. APA amounts are based on the age of the older parent, and their marital status. The scale has been cut dramatically for the 2016-2017 academic year reduced by 60% or more. I can't give a specific number because of the variables, but, as an example, a family that would have had more than $52,000 protected from college expenses, will have that reduced to under $19,000. For most families $33,000 put back in play to cover a college's Cost of Attendance would probably rule out need-based financial aid.
Financial Aid, also called "money for college," begins with FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid www.fafsa.gov). This BLOG makes three, important points for high school seniors and their parents.
- FAFSA is essential to receiving any financial aid
- FAFSA has some changes, so start now
- Succeed Where It Counts, LLC (http://www.succeedwhereitcounts.com) will help you (no charge/no obligation).
- Every student is eligible for financial aid consideration, regardless of grades, test scores and family finances (wealthy or poor). Every college participating in the Federal Student Aid program (www.studentaid.ed.gov) requires a completed FAFSA in order to make a financial aid offer.
Changes include creating an account with a username and password. The use of a
PIN(Personal Identification Number) has been eliminated. Every student creating an account needs a unique email (one not shared with anyone else who will be accessing the account). Every student will complete challenge questions for security purposes; and input his/her Social Security number. That number will be verified by the Social Security Administration. The U.S. Department of Education recommends creating your account well in advance of needing to complete the FAFSA form (January).
Succeed Where It Counts will help with FAFSA -- no charge and no obligation
- Conforming to the U.S. Department of Education guidelines, Succeed Where It Counts, LLC offers to help any family complete FAFSA, as a public service and free-of-charge. Please contact us early to schedule your appointment. info@SucceedWhereItCounts.com.
National College Advocacy Group (http://www.ncagonline.org) helds its annual conference in Los Angeles, CA August 4 - 5, with an optional campus tours of Loyola Marymount University (http://www.lmu.edu) and Otis College of Art and Design (http://www.otis.edu) on August 6. I was there. We all benefit.
Among the presenters were:
- Keynoter, Mark Kantrowitz (http://www.edvisors.com).
- Dr. Elizabeth Stone, author of The Better College Essay (http://www.campanile.us)
- Brittany Slaughter, Elon University (http:// www.elon.edu)
- Laurie Callaway, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University (http://www.csbsju.edu)
- Joanne Germano, University of Massachusetts - Lowell (http://www.uml.edu)
- Lynn O'Shaughnessy (http://www.thecollegesolution.com)
- Brett Lindquist (http://www.mygreatlakes.org)
- Philip Mikula (http://www.ACT.org)
- Katie Andersen (http://www.collegefitoc.com).
- Be a smart consumer of higher education. Costs can be mitigated.
- College application essays are important and should be prepared for as one would a final exam.
- College representatives are really nice people, and they care about students. They also get paid by their college, so they are not objective resources, but they have integrity as to the students they speak to.
- Federal Loans are not simple to understand. Ask for help especially after graduating college -- ask for help right away!
- ACT enjoys ascendancy at the present. Prep resources are available (http://www.actstudent.org)
- Athletic grants-in-aid are a special category. Seek out a professional who specializes (and often were themselves student-athletes).
- Loyola Marymount is an enchanted spot on the map (http://www.lmu.edu). For the super-smart it can be affordable.
- 529 Plans - established by the U.S. Congress; run by states and by colleges.
- 529 Plan - an IRS designation relating to taxability and penalties. Those two words should not be ignored. Click the link to the relevant section (http://www.irs.gov/uac/529-Plans:-Questions-and-Answers).
- 529 Plan - a cash asset available for college expenses. Your Expected Family Contributions (EFC) (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov) may go up and your financial aid offer go down.
- 529 Plans - unlimited contributions allowed (subject to the parent/child gift exclusion; refer to the IRS Q&A linked above). Large accounts, however, may leave an undistributed balance, which may be subject to taxes and penalties.
- 529 Plans may be shared within families; given to friends or anyone else.
- Conservative investment practices may mitigate market risk for a 529 Plans. The flip side of that is a history of modest gains inside of 529 accounts (http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/07/18/529-savings-plans-9-mistakes-people-often-make/).
- Families with large EFC-exposed assets (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov) may benefit the most from 529 Plans for the tax savings possibilities. However, the IRS gift exclusion allowance should also be considered (see Forbes article linked above).
- Families with high Adjusted Gross Incomes (IRS 1040, line 37) may also derive a benefit from 529 Plans.
- If scholarships and college tuition concessions are of little or no importance, the taxes saved in a 529 Plan are worth considering.
- You have to spend the money on "qualified educational expenses," not necessarily on what you think your student needs for a particular year of college (a car; off-campus housing; airfare home at a holiday).
- Distributions drain the account. The magic of compounding is eliminated.
- Consider a college savings strategy that has the option of using your asset as collateral, while continuing to enjoy uninterrupted compounding growth.
- 11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing? Part 3
- 11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing? Part 2
- 11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing for admissions and financial aid?
- Four-Year Myth -- What You Can Do Now
- The Four-Year Myth -- why are students not graduating in 4 years?
- On-Time Graduation is Not Optional
- Four-Year Myth -- Graduation Rates Matter
- The 4 Year Myth -- Hidden Costs
- The 4 Year Myth -- a true story
- The Four Year Myth
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