Finding the Money
By Lee Shulman Bierer, College Admissions Strategies – Founder
While I typically focus on the ins and outs related to college admissions, there is always the underlying question of how to pay for this fabulous college education. I don’t normally recommend books or programs to assist in the college admissions process, however, I have always felt that all families can benefit from guidance related to financial aid. Full disclosure, I am a member of the Princeton Review Advisory Board but have had nothing to do with their newest book “Paying For College: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College” by Kalman Chany, a nationally recognized college funding expert. Chany first published the book in 1992 and has updated it annually for the last 30 years.
As college costs have skyrocketed, so have students’ and parents’ concerns about how they will pay for college. According to Princeton Review’s survey of 14,000 college applicants and parents, 82% said financial aid would be “very” or “extremely” necessary to pay for college. Nearly all respondents – 98% said they would need some form of aid (grants, scholarships and/or loans) to fund the cost of the degree.
In addition to its detailed strategies for completing the 2022-2023 FAFSA and the CSS Profile, the new 2022 edition includes:
- Guidance on COVID-related issues affecting college funding with explanations on how to inform financial aid officers of major changes in family income. This section also discusses the impact of unemployment benefits, stimulus payments and PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans.
- Worksheets to determine aid eligibility. If families use these, they can get an advance estimate on what colleges will expect the family to pay.
- Strategies to boost aid eligibility.
- A draft copy of the 2022-2023 FAFSA
- “Changes on the Horizon” – a new section that summarizes the sweeping changes to the federal aid system due to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 .
- What parents and student should and shouldn’t do to the most aid.
- What single, separated, or divorced parents need to know about aid eligibility.
- How to appeal for more aid if the college’s initial offer isn’t enough.
- How to find the best education loans and handle repayment issues.
Here are some frequently asked questions that you’ll find the answers to in the book:
- When is it best to apply for aid? Do “early birds” get the most aid or is it better to apply later in the aid application cycle?
- Are 529 plans a good idea? When should parents begin a college saving plan?
- What are the rules with step parents? If parents are divorced do both parents have to fill out aid forms?