If you’re like most parents (there are exceptions; I’ve run across them), you want your children to have a better life. Inherent in that desire is the willingness to do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.
As an undergraduate degree can open your child to many social and professional opportunities, that willingness includes covering the cost of a college education. However, covering that cost may be difficult, if not impossible, especially if you have a multi-child family.
How can you possibly cover the cost, let alone help with the cost, while you’re servicing a ton of debt (e.g., credit cards, auto loans, medical bills, mortgages, your own student loans, other personal loans), saving for retirement, and possibly, though not likely, considering the medical cost inherent in later years of life.
Can you cover the cost for your children, even part of the cost, without finding yourself in the poorhouse, perhaps homeless (sure, a slight exaggeration)? Can you pay, or help pay, without actually paying?
Conventional ways of doing so, as proposed by multitudes of financial advisors, follow:
1. Help your child complete the FAFSA. Novel idea? Not really. You should be completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) anyway. All 4-year institutions require this form in order to award any aid, whether it be need-based or merit-based. Filing this form allows schools to see what you Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be – expect it to be a minimum of 23% of your annual income, perhaps higher. Schools then take that number, subtract it from the published annual cost-of-attendance, apply a formula, and determine the offer of aid. Any amount not covered by the offer of aid is added to the EFC to arrive at your out-of-pocket number for the year.
2. Pursue a course of study leading to a high-paying job. Another novel idea, one which parents have a very tough time enforcing. This is one reason of many why parents should engage the services of a Professional College Planner (contact Vivensure®, as we will ascertain the student’s strengths and recommend courses of study to pursue, as well as schools that will fit your particular family situation). This will help your children with respect to the student loans they will incur during their undergraduate/graduate odyssey; but, what about the loans you’ll surely incur to help cover the difference?
3. Find a paid internship or part-time job. Another novel idea. This will help, but typically will not cover the difference. Besides, now you have to track earnings so they don’t exceed a certain level, thereby reducing the financial aid to be awarded. While it’s possible and should be considered, you must ensure there’s no negative impact on studies and social interaction, the interaction whereby connections are made.
4. Earn college credits while in high school. Great idea, if the best school for your student and your budget accepts the credits. How do you know what schools those might be? Engage the services of a Professional College Planner, so you don’t inadvertently dismiss the best school at the right price based on “sticker price.”
5. Consider private student loans. A good idea. Much better than Parent PLUS loans. You’ll be a co-signer and, ultimately, responsible for repayment of the loaned amount if your child fails to make payments. But, the loans are at better rates and, typically, have the repayment terms similar to the federal student loans.
These conventional ways are nothing new and, likely, will cross the minds of many parents. From our perspective as professional college planners, even if you act on each and every suggestion, you may still have a considerable debt burden to address.
We realize and understand your worries and concerns. Our specifically designed college planning campaigns:
· Address those worries and concerns;
· Provide the means by which you can address your debt burden;
· Show you how to shelter your college savings so your EFC will be lower and your eligibility for aid will be higher;
· Implement a plan for satisfying your student and parent loans in one-half to one-third the expected time; and,
· Ensure you will have tax-free income in retirement.
Don’t believe me?
Contact The Money Architects (professional college planners) at Vivensure®, for your free evaluation. Let us help you “Unleash a Better Life,” a life better than you might possibly expect.
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