Category Archives: Financial Aid

It’s time to start thinking about college financial aid…

Financial Aid 101It’s that time of the year … The Holidays are here and it’s time to start thinking about financial aid!  As the 2013 year is approaching Wolf College Consulting wanted to give you information to prepare you for the next step in the Application Process – Applying for Financial Aid.  Below you will find some important information:

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)  – http://www.fafsa.ed.gov

  • Every student that desires to receive financial aid from the federal government, state government or institution, must fill out the FAFSA (Note some institutions require additional financial aid forms, like the CSS Profile.  Make sure you contact the financial aid offices of your institutions to find out what forms are needed)
  • You cannot start filling out the FAFSA for the 2014-2015 year until January 1, 2014
  • It is recommended that you fill out the FAFSA by February 1, 2014 (as some institutions give priority to students that fill out the FAFSA by that date)
  • To prepare for the FAFSA, you can use this 2013-2014 FAFSA worksheet (typically FAFSA updates this form by early December).  Most likely the questions will not change for 2014-2015.  It will still help you prepare for the FAFSA.
  • Forms you will need to fill out the FAFSA – W2 Forms, Bank Statements, Tax Forms (including IRS Form 1040, and additional tax forms may be needed).  Note if you do not yet have your updated W2 forms or tax returns you can estimate them by using last year’s forms.  Later you can update your FAFSA when you receive your official documents.

CAL GRANT

  • Some of you may be eligible for the Cal Grant.  Only 2 documents are needed for it – GPA Verification form (filled out by the high school guidance office) and the FAFSA.  Note – Parents make sure your child has requested the guidance office at their high school to fill out a GPA Verification Form
  • YOU MUST FILL OUT THE FAFSA BY MARCH 2, 2014 TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE CAL GRANT

The Financial Aid process and be stressful and confusing.  Wolf College Consulting would enjoy the opportunity to help make it less stressful.  Let us know how we can help you!

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FAFSA and Assets

Wolf College Consulting Financial Aid 101Wolf College Consulting recommends that you fill out your FAFSA by February 1 to make sure you receive priority in aid.  Here are some additional tips Wolf College Consulting wants you to know about:

After completing the FAFSA, you will be given an EFC (Expected Family Contribution).  This number represents the amount of money the government believes you can afford to put toward college education costs.  The government calculates this number by examining your family’s income, assets and other household information. 

The Federal Methodology that is used to calculate your EFC counts some parental assets and excludes others.  The more accessible your family assets are, the  higher your EFC.  The following assets are excluded from the federal methodology:

  • Retirement accounts (e.g., 401(k)s, all IRAs)
  • Annuities
  • Cash value life insurance
  • Home equity in primary residence
  • Personal items (e.g., cars, furniture)
  • A family farm

Accessible assets are all other assets of the parent and student.  These include your checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, US Savings bonds, certain 529 plans, trusts, limited partnerships, vacation homes, investment properties and business assets.

The federal methodology does have an asset protection allowance that lets you protect a certain amount of money from the final tally.  This asset protection allowance is based on the age of the oldest parent – the older the parent, the greater the allowance.

Note: There are certain campuses that use the federal methodology and also their own institutional methodology.  These campuses (many of which are Private institutions) may require additional financial aid forms (like the CSS Profile).  Those colleges may look at some or all of the assets that the federal methodology excludes (like home equity, retirement accounts, etc).

Understanding the FAFSA and financial aid can be confusing… let us know if we can help make the process less confusing!

 

It’s time to start thinking about financial aid…

Wolf College Consulting - Financial AidIt’s that time of the year … The Holidays are here and it’s time to start thinking about financial aid!  As the 2012 year is approaching Wolf College Consulting wanted to give you information to prepare you for the next step in the Application Process – Applying for Financial Aid.  Below you will find some important information:

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)  – http://www.fafsa.ed.gov

  • Every student that desires to receive financial aid from the federal government, state government or institution, must fill out the FAFSA (Note some institutions require additional financial aid forms, like the CSS Profile.  Make sure you contact the financial aid offices of your institutions to find out what forms are needed)
  • You cannot start filling out the FAFSA for the 2012-2013 year until January 1, 2012
  • It is recommended that you fill out the FAFSA by February 1, 2012 (as some institutions give priority to students that fill out the FAFSA by that date)
  • To prepare for the FAFSA, you can use this worksheet (typically FAFSA updates this form by early December, but it has not yet been updated for 2012-2013).  Most likely the questions will not change for 2012-2013.  It will still help you prepare for the FAFSA.
  • Forms you will need to fill out the FAFSA – W2 Forms, Bank Statements, Tax Forms (including IRS Form 1040, and additional tax forms may be needed).  Note if you do not yet have your updated W2 forms or tax returns you can estimate them by using last year’s forms.  Later you can update your FAFSA when you receive your official documents.

CAL GRANT

  • Some of you may be eligible for the Cal Grant.  Only 2 documents are needed for it – GPA Verification form (filled out by the high school guidance office) and the FAFSA.  Note – Parents make sure your child has requested the guidance office at their high school to fill out a GPA Verification Form
  • YOU MUST FILL OUT THE FAFSA BY MARCH 2, 2012 TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE CAL GRANT

The Financial Aid process and be stressful and confusing.  Wolf College Consulting would enjoy the opportunity to help make it less stressful.  Let us know how we can help you!

Wolf College Consulting at NACCAP Fair

Wolf College Consulting at NACCAP Fair

Last night I had the opportunity to speak at the financial aid seminar for the NACCAP fair in Costa Mesa.  My goal for the seminar was for families to leave feeling less stressed about the financial aid process and the cost of college.  For those that could not attend, here are some of the main topics I discussed:

  • Consider the Net Cost not the Sticker Price.  Sometimes families choose not to apply to a college due to the sticker price of the college.  My recommendation is to go through the application and financial aid process and see what financial aid you are awarded.  Private colleges typically award more institutional aid than Public schools, so Private schools can become more affordable…you just have to apply and go through the process.
  • FAFSA deadlines — The 2012-2013 FAFSA is not available until January 1.  I recommend that you apply by February 1 because some schools give financial aid priority to students that apply by February 1.  Note– you do not need to have your tax returns completed by February 1.  You can estimate it and update it later.
  • Financing a College Education is a combination of resources.  These include Family, Federal Government, State Government, College and Private Resources.  Don’t forget to look into private scholarships through your community and the web.
  • FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid — It is a FREE application.  Make sure you fill out the correct one — www.fafsa.gov.  Also never pay for an outside scholarship application.
  • Net Price Calculators — By law, institutions must now include on their website a calculator that provides net price for first-time, full-time degree-seeking students.  USE THIS WITH CAUTION — not all details of student qualification are taken into consideration.

The financial aid process can be very overwhelming and confusing when you do not have all of the information.  Remember that there are financial aid counselors at every college that can help you through the process and give you advice about their institution policies.  It’s never too early to start planning and gaining knowledge.  Let me know if Wolf College Consulting can assist you through the process.

What you need to know before taking out loans in college

These days most students have to take out loans to go to college.  There are many benefits in loans since most students do not have the resources to pay for their college balance (even after receiving some strong scholarships and grants).  Although there are many benefits, we  need to make sure we have all of the facts and we need to be prepared for what these loans mean after college.

If a student graduates in 4 years from college (which these days is difficult to do) and if that student decides to take out the maximum amount of Stafford Loans, they will be able to take out $27,000.  Note: some students might also be eligible for perkins loans and parents might also be eligible for PLUS loans (which means the family could possibly owe more than this).  Also is other circumstances, the student might be eligible for more Stafford Loans.

So what does it look like for a student to leave college with taking out $27,000 in unsubsidized stafford loans (for this situation, I’m going to base this on a student taking out a unsubsidized stafford loan).  I am also going to assume that the student was wise in their budget during their college year and paid the interest they were accruing during their college years, so they will still only owe $27,000 after they graduate.

Below you will some of the options the student will have after graduation:

Standard Repayment Program — This program is a 10 year program.  The student will pay $310.72 per month for 120 months.  In the end, their total payments (interest plus principal) will be $37,246.40.

Graduated Repayment Program — This is also a 10 year program, but every two years the student pays a little more than the previous year (this is created for students that are hoping to make more and more each year after they graduate).  Their first two years they would pay $213.35 (year 3/4 — $259.38, year 5/6 — $315.34, year 7/8 — $383.37 and year 9/10 — $466.08).  In the end, their total payments (interest plus principal) would be $39,300.01.

So is it worth it to take out $27,000 in loans?  What does it mean for the student after they graduate from college?  What kind of job will they be expecting after college?  Will they be able to make these payments?  These are just some of the questions that need to be asked before taking out loans.  Loans can be a great option, just make sure you have all of the facts in front of you.  Don’t forget that there are many resources that can help you make these wise decisions — websites, financial aid counselors at colleges and of course college consultants.