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Categorized | Paying For College

6 Tips To Maximizing Your College Investment

In today’s article I hope to provide some simple tips and guidance to families that are concerned about the financial aspect of their student’s college education.

A college education is a large investment of time and resources. When you begin the college search process, it is important that you find a college that is the right fit for your student. Two important factors that play into that “right fit” equation are academics and finances.

You can find a great college that has all the academic strengths you are looking for but if it cost $60,000 a year and all you can afford is $20,000, it is probably not going to be a good fit. The inverse is also true. You find a college that is only going to be $10,000 a year but their curriculum reminds you of your high school courses.

In an effort to help your checkbook come to terms with your academic goals, I have compiled the following list of tips…

Net Price Calculators For All: You may not realize but beginning on October 29th, all colleges and universities are required to have Net Price Calculators on their websites. These tools help students see what the actual cost for them to attend that school will be and helps them to get past the sticker price. Here is an example of a really slick looking net price calculator.

File your FAFSA:
My hope is that you have heard this time and time again. But just in case you have not, please make sure you file your FAFSA. It is not that hard and it is the first step to helping to reduce your college costs.

Compare Financial Aid Packages: Financial Award packages from colleges can be very confusing. It is always important that you take the time to compare your packages and be sure you understand what every component represents. CheapScholar has a great guide to help you decipher the financial aid package.

Know The Difference Between Federal And Private Education Loans: It is always important for you to exhaust your federal loans before you start looking at private loans. In most instances, federal loans will be a better option. However, private loans do help to make ends meet when all other options are not available.

Look At ALL The Costs:
Tuition, room and board are not the only expenses you will incur when you head off to college. There are a number of other fees that you will encounter along the way.

Know Your Payment Options: Colleges and Universities try to make paying for college as easy as possible. It may not always be painless but knowing your different options will go a long way when that first semester bill hits your mailbox.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you know of any other college bound students/families, please don’t hesitate to utilize the “share tab” below to pass this information along to them.

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