Step 5 – Parents – Explore Financial Aid
Step 5 – Explore Financial Aid
If you’re the parent of a student, you’ll want to know all you can about sources of financial aid:
Step One: Create a Savings Plan
Your greatest asset is time. The sooner you start saving for your children’s college education, the more time you will have for your savings to grow.
- Start by figuring out how much your children’s education will cost with the Cost of College Calculator.
- Consider Section 529 College Savings Plans and Prepaid Tuition Plans and other possible means of saving.
Step Two: College Approaches
- Determine how much aid your child will need and how much your family will be expected to contribute with the Cost of College Calculator.
- Encourage your child to search for Scholarships – it takes only a few minutes and it’s free.
- Your child won’t be able to pay for college entirely on his/her own. Low-cost Parent Loans provide education financing that can help you manage your cash flow.
- Private Loans can provide additional money.
Step Three: Apply for Financial Aid
Have your child apply for financial aid every year, even if you think they won’t get any. More than two-thirds of families qualify for financial aid.
- Apply by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- It is best to review your finances with your child. But if you want to keep the information private, rest assured that the school will not reveal the information you submit on the FAFSA to your child (or any other third party) without your permission.
- The Education Tax Credits can help you defray college costs through tax deductions, tax credits, and exclusions from taxable income.
- Read up on the Financial Aid Award Letters, which gives a few tips on decoding your financial aid package and tools for comparing award letters.
Step Four: Still Have Questions?
Confused by all the terminology? See the glossary.
- Still have unanswered questions? Read the FAQ, a collection of answers to frequently asked questions.