process. No wonder so many parents are confused! Meanwhile, according to the College Board, the cost of higher education has tripled in the past 30 years. What can be done? First, learn the facts behind the “Top 5 College Planning Myths.”
MYTH #1. “We make too much money, my child cannot qualify for financial aid.”
FACT: Financial aid calculations use a number of factors including choice of school and size of household. Don’t decide that your family is ineligible for financial aid based on one piece of data.
MYTH #2. A family’s debt load increases the likelihood of receiving financial aid.
FACT: After you submit the completed financial aid form, you’ll receive your expected family contribution. You’ll wonder, “Are they not aware of my credit card payments?” Your debt is not a factor in financial aid decisions.
MYTH #3. Getting financial aid is easy.
FACT: Seventy percent of financial aid forms have errors on them. Delays resulting from these errors can cause a loss of time and money.
MYTH #4. A child over 18 is not a dependent.
FACT: For financial aid, a non-dependent child has to be over 24, have a dependent they support at least 50%, have already completed an undergraduate degree or be a member of the military. Independence is more than an attitude or tax status.
MYTH #5. Planning ahead covers all the bases.
FACT: State Prepaid Tuition plans do not cover room, board, books and other fees. The 529 Savings plan is less restrictive and can be used for all qualified education expenses. However, the money is invested in the stock market, putting your principal at risk. The icing on the cake? Both of these assets count against you in financial aid calculations.
As consumers, we routinely look for discounts. It only makes sense to learn how to purchase your child’s education by paying wholesale rather than retail.
Luanne Lee, CCPS, Your College Planning Coach. Luanne specializes in Late Stage College Planning, coaching parents and students on Financial Aid and College Selection. Luanne can be reached at 703.928.9036 or www.yourcollegeplanningcoach.com