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Marty Wolner
102 followers -
Entrepreneur, Advocate, Thinker
Entrepreneur, Advocate, Thinker

102 followers
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No, you don't make too much money for college financial aid. http://wp.me/p5wwwx-5V

The number one myth about college financial aid is that you can make too much money to qualify. For instance, many parents paying for college feel that if they make more than $100,000 per year, they won’t be eligible for federal student aid. “It’s a time waster, why bother?” some say. Well, that’s simply not true. Regardless of income, most families are eligible for various types of college aid.

Yes, you should be filing for student aid each year your student is in college. Filing is free and you can do it online. The federal college financial aid application is complex and its rules can be nuanced, based on choice of college, age of parents, parents’ marital status, how many children in the family attending college at the same time, and many other factors. Things can change in the smallest of ways from year to year for the same college student that may impact college aid eligibility. In addition, if you have a high income, accumulation of college and/or retirement savings and lots of assets, there are ways to organize your finances to better position yourself to get college money.

The first step to change your paradigm about the federal student aid application process and how you can get more college money is to learn more about the application itself. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be complex and, at first glance, it seems intimidating. It’s page after page of intrusive financial questions for the student and parents. It asks lots of questions about your income in the previous year and which of your assets will be considered in calculating the amount the fed thinks you are able to pay for each year of college. It can take an hour or two to complete, which, ironically, is the same time it takes to get a root canal at the dentist.

The good news is, there are smarter ways to plan for this process. Unfortunately, most parents of college students never fully understand the student aid application, or how to master it to get more money to pay for college. With so much misinformation being shared among parents about how high income disqualifies you for any college financial help, it’s important to know the facts. Knowledge is power!

Once they better understand the process, college parents are frequently surprised by the amount of aid for which they qualify. You’ll never know unless you apply. There are lots of non-need-based financial aid options of which you may be unaware. And here’s a secret – you should learn and master the system a couple of years before you need to use it to get more money to pay for college.
So much of college financial aid is about your assets. There are some assets that need to be included in the FAFSA, and some that don’t. There are some assets that weigh heavier on the student’s section of FAFSA, than the parents’ section. Some colleges require more detailed information about your assets than what’s submitted through FAFSA. Most importantly, you want to protect any retirement savings you may have from working against you during your college paying years, as well.

Learning and understanding the ins and outs of this process will take you lots of time and focus, as elements of the process are always changing. For many, this process feels similar to filing taxes. It needs to be done year after year and not many look forward to it. When filing your taxes, you may hire an accountant or someone else to help you, mostly because of the tediousness of the task and the fact that if you miss something, it could cost you lots of money. Well, the college financial aid process is similar, and there is help available. A college financial aid advisor can provide you specific strategies to gain you thousands more dollars to pay for college, some offering free services and consultation.

Every family’s college financial aid picture is different. Since the process has so many “moving parts,” what may seem to be smart strategies for one family, may not be for another family. It’s vitally important to understand this. The only general advice that is valuable for all is to start the planning process as early as possible, even when your child is in middle school or has just entered high school. If your child is in eighth, ninth or tenth grade, there’s a lot you can do now to prepare you to be way ahead of the game. It’s never too late, though, as you can master the process at all stages.

Another a-ha moment for many parents is that colleges may compete to have your child attend there. Because of your child’s academics, extra-curricular activities, civic volunteerism, athletic or artistic abilities, one or more of the colleges to which your child applies may want to offer you more financial incentive. Each school will know which other schools are receiving your child’s application, and may offer more aid to you regardless of need.

High income earners with healthy assets can still be eligible for college financial aid. Learn how to master the process for smarter ways to pay for college. We can offer you free support and consultation through our College Planning Master Series. Or you can take advantage of a free consultation to find smarter strategies specifically for your family to plan and pay for college.
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