By Luanne Lee, Your College Planning Coach
Welcome to reality of statistics, financial aid style. According to FinAid.org, two-thirds of all four-year undergraduates leave college with an average of $25,000 in student loan debt. And the total student debt load nationwide is a staggering trillion dollars!
As a proponent of higher education, I realize that good jobs usually require great education. However, like many, I assumed that financial aid was limited to those in lower income brackets—I couldn’t have been more wrong. In a unified manner, all across America, families of all income types are applying and qualifying for financial assistance.
So how do you lessen your child’s education debt load, with annual average college expenses nearing $20,000? I’ll let you in on a few secrets:
■ ALWAYS file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA; many awards are only available once this step has been completed.
■ Merit scholarships have nothing to do with income and assets. They are awarded based on your student’s academic, extracurricular or community achievements; some are only available if you have filed your FAFSA.
■ There’s no shame or embarrassment in seeking discounts; only from paying full price and not seeking out cost savings.
■ Every year countless scholarships and grants are left un- awarded because people didn’t take the time to seek them out or apply.
■ Go bite-size: Every $50, $500 or $5,000 scholarship awarded puts you that much closer to a debt-free college degree.
Become an informed parent and diligently seek out the savings your child deserves!
Luanne Lee, CCPS, Your College Planning Coach. Luanne specializes in Late Stage College Planning, coaching parents and students on how to take the worry and confusion out of the Financial Aid and College Selection process without paying thousands more than necessary. Luanne can be reached at 703.928.9036 or www.yourcollegeplanningcoach.com