As a College Coach Finance Educator, I often speak with anxious parents willing to explore any means possible to pay for their child’s college education. How many more scholarships can we apply for? Should we refinance our house? Perhaps sell a vital organ? It surprises me, therefore, how many parents are surprisingly resistant to one financing option: student employment. Their concerns are legitimate — working students may have added stress and less time to study — but there are a myriad of benefits, financial and otherwise, that should be considered.
What Does Your Financial Aid Award Mean?
A financial aid award letter can come with a lot of conflicting emotions: excitement, disappointment, and, more often than not, confusion. There is little uniformity among award letters, so comparing offers between schools often feels like comparing apples and oranges. If you want to be a discerning consumer, you need to understand the differences between three main types of aid — grants & scholarships, loans, and work study — and understand which questions to ask about each. It’s important to compare apples with apples and ascertain which college will provide your family the best value:
If you’re the parent of a high school senior, you’ve likely completed the FAFSA by now. And if your child applied to any private colleges, you may have also completed a CSS/Profile. So congratulations! The most difficult part of the financial aid application process is over. You can now sit back, relax, and let the money roll in, right?
Wrong! Did you know you can ask for more financial aid?
While most families take a passive approach to the financial aid process, accepting whatever aid colleges offer (or don’t offer), they may very well be leaving thousands of dollars on the table. I encourage every College Coach family with whom I work to remember the final step in the financial aid application process: Going back to colleges and asking for more money.
“What? I can do that?”