By Scott M. Kahan CFP®
It’s that time of year when summer draws to a close and your children are going back to or starting college for the first time. Often, families have figured out how to pay for the current year and put off planning how to pay for the next year. Well, if you are like most families you probably have not saved enough to afford that $65,000 per year price tag that comes along with a private school education. Now is the time to get a jump start on planning how to pay for the next few years’ college tuition for your child.
When thinking about funding sources for your children’s college education, you may assume your family earns too much to qualify for Federal grants, loans, and work-study job assistance. However, families with higher incomes are frequently eligible to receive some form of financial aid from the Federal government.
Start with the FAFSA
For most financial aid and loan programs, it is required for you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as the initial part of the process. In addition to determining your family’s eligibility for Federal assistance, the FAFSA is the primary qualifying form used by many college, state, local, and private financial assistance programs. The first step in applying for financial aid is filling out the FAFSA. The simplest way to complete the FAFSA is by applying online at fafsa.ed.gov.
The start date to file is October 1st and there is no reason to delay the filing. When completing the FAFSA, you will use your financial information from 2016. This is called prior-prior year since you are filing forms for funds for the 2018-2019 school year.
There are numerous programs available to assist you in paying for college. Stafford Loans, which are student loans and PLUS Loans, which are in the name of the parents are a few of the most popular loan programs offered. Pell Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid.
It can be confusing, but the sooner you get started in planning and preparing, the easier it will be!
Scott M. Kahan, is a Certified Financial Planner® professional and President of Financial Asset Management Corporation, a fee-only wealth management firm located at 26 South Greeley Avenue in Chappaqua. Call Scott Kahan at 914-238-8900.