07 Oct College Cash Seminar October 6, 2011
This seminar marks the one month anniversary of #CollegeCash and many of the people participating have been there each week to share and learn about Financial Aid and the complicated process with helpful tips and links from Jodi Okun.
This week Jodi had the honor of guest posting on the popular and well-respected website 12 Most to discuss her area of expertise: Financial Aid. If you haven’t been to this site before, experts from many different industries and backgrounds share their wisdom and experience to create resources. You may read Jodi’s whole post here: http://12most.com/2011/10/06/12-helpful-college-financial-aid-tips/
The topic of the seminar tonight was 12 Most Helpful College Financial Aid Tips. Jodi shared many resources and a ton of information this week. Please keep in mind that this was a live Twitter chat and the format is altered slightly for this post. There are tweets at the end of the post from attendees.
Here are Jodi’s 12 Most Helpful College Financial Aid Tips:
If you’re a parent of a college bound student, you know these days, a college education is not cheap. If you are lost in maze of financial aid process, banging into dead ends and changing direction, you need help! If you aren’t financially prepared for this stage of life or if the hair on the back of your neck stands up when you realize how much a good college education costs.
You know you need help, but the financial aid process can be overwhelming and stressful. Couple that with the uncertainty of how you’ll react to your “baby” fleeing the nest. You’ve got a recipe for an emotional melt down.That’s where I come in.
I’ve had the pleasure of helping many parents through the intimidating process of financial aid. I am excited to share my 12 Most helpful tips.
Tip One: There’s no time like the present!
Most families who have been through the financial aid process say they should have started the process sooner. In high school, there are important steps you can take to prepare for college. If you’ve graduated high school, start the process now scholarships are snatched up quickly. FAFSA submission is in January to ensure your place in federal, state & school financial aid queues.
Tip Two: Do it right the first time
Fill out your FAFSA carefully and submit it correctly. If your application has errors or incomplete responses, it will be returned to you. The correction process is long & will move you further back in financial aid queue. Most need-based financial aid is awarded on first come, first served basis. Submitting late could have a serious impact on your financial aid package.
Tip Three: Save money for college
Family assets are a factor in financial aid eligibility, it makes sense to save for college.
Your savings will reduce amount of financial aid you can receive, but not by much.
You’ll be expected to contribute some money toward college. It’s cheaper to use savings than take out private student loans. It’s cheaper to use savings than borrow against credit cards or home equity.
Tip Four: Make it a family affair
Federal government financial aid programs were designed to help families pursue their college dreams. Help those that have more than one dependent student in college at the same time. Your EFC may drop as much as 50% if more than one family member is going college.
Tip Five: Negotiate
If you’re not happy with the financial aid packages you’re offered….. appeal.
Final student aid packages are made by school financial aid officers & school officials may not know your financial situation. Talk to Financial Aid office Ask them how questions. Help them understand your position. Each school financial aid package is different: don’t give up.
Tip Six: It’s never too early
Look for scholarships & grants apply for work-study as soon as possible. Don’t stop looking for scholarships until graduation looms near. Financial situation or academic record could change over the years. Changes could have an impact on your financial aid eligibility. Free money for money (scholarships, grants & fellowship) is awarded for many reasons. You may already be eligible for more than you think.
Tip Seven: Don’t make assumptions
Almost every family is eligible for at least some type of financial aid. Even families who think they earn too much to qualify. Financial aid options are available to them.
Fill out the FAFSA let Department of Education figure the amount of financial aid you’re eligible to get you need to fill out the FAFSA in order to be eligible for any type of federal financial aid.
Tip Eight: Set your first focus low
Focus first on lowest-cost financial aid scholarships grants & work-study. These types financial aid cost you nothing they don’t have to be repaid. If scholarships & grants aren’t enough to pay for college, look next to low-cost fed student loans. Avoid high-cost financing like home equity loans & credit cards. Some lines of credit carry high interest & require immediate repayment. Some credit lines can jeopardize your creditworthiness & financial status.
Tip Nine: Aim high
Don’t turn your back on your dream school because it’s too expensive.
Your EFC is based on your financial situation but can vary from school to school. Award is based on if school is using your federal calculated EFC or its own. Your financial aid package is based on cost of attendance minus your EFC. More expensive school with lower EFC may give more financial aid than less expensive school.
Tip Ten: Meet all deadlines
The financial aid process is long & there many things to remember. Photocopy all forms & applications keep in a handy file. Use financial aid calendar stay on top of key financial aid dates & deadlines.
Tip Eleven: Ask for help
Ask a financial aid officer if you have questions about financial aid process types of aid available professionally trained educational Finance Advisors can answer just about any question you have a financial aid advisor will be happy to guide you through your financial aid options. Search for scholarships & assist you in finding best student loans for what you need.
Tip Twelve: Consolidate your student loans
Federal student loan consolidation one of the most economical student loan repayment tools. Student loan consolidation program lets you consolidate one or more eligible federal education loans single new loan at fixed-interest rate with no added fees. A student consolidation loan extends repayment period with lower monthly payments plus the convenience of making a single payment each month.
Tweets from #CollegeCash:
@GraphicDesignNY Good practice for real life, someone is always waiting in line for your opportunities! RT @JodiOkun: Tip 10 Meet all deadlines #collegecash
@stevecassady Boy a checklist seems handy RT @JodiOkun: T10 The fin aid process is long & there many things to remember #collegecash
@GraphicDesignNY #collegecash Ive seen student to counselor ratios over 500-1. Families have to be proactive when seeking financial aid.
@MimiOrtega Excellent #collegecash tips tonight by @JodiOkun “pay for college the smart way”
@fujifulgueras In addition to FAFSA – Some colleges require PROFILE – Link here; http://t.co/P0gHd4AB #collegecash
@dabneyporte never turn you back on any dreams….xoxo RT @JodiOkun: T9 Don’t turn your back on your dream school because it’s expensive #collegecash
@AidScholarship Yes, and he is a junior now
@SylvanTualatin and get that essay done early!!! #collegecash
@AidScholarship Amazing Financial Aid info shared tonight via @JodiOkun and #collegecash!!!
Some stats from Hashtracking:
608 Tweets – 40 Contributors – 1.7 mil. Impressions – 103K reach
Most Popular Tweeters: Jodi Okun, Dabney Porte, AidScholarship, Steve Cassady, Mimi Ortega, Raven_73, Vi Maranto, AlexMWilliams_, FujiFulgueras, GeekBabe, GraphicDesignNY
Most Tweets: Jodi Okun, AidScholarship, CollegeCashChat, Steve Cassady, Vic Maranto, Dabney Porte, Raven_73, EA_Clark, SylvanTulatin, FujiFulgueras
Join Jodi Okun next week on Thursday, October 6 at 7 pm PST/10 pm EST for another community building #CollegeCash seminar!
Thanks to Peggy Fitzpatrick for writing this summary you can connect with her @PegFitzpatrick or check out her Twylah page at http://www.twylah.com/PegFitzpatrick