Free Money for College

 In Campus Visit, EFC, FInancial Aid, Paying for College, Planning for College, Savings Accounts, Stafford Loan

One of my favorite and memorable speaking opportunities in the last 10 years was to  200 families at the AtlantaCares STEM event at Georgia Tech.  Our topic was how to get free money for college.

As the last person scheduled, I was hopeful the audience wouldn’t be worn out by the other speakers and would be engaged.

Well, engaged would be an understatement,  I had to follow a speaker that literally was a mix of Tony Robbins and Steve Harvey, and he even had interactive props!

I thought I would need to juggle in a clown suit to keep them entertained.   However, what I learned was that great information needs no props.  And my topic:

Free Money for College was the headline act.

Many families miss so many ways to save on college costs and it is no wonder why student loan debt is now 1.5 trillion (YES, TRILLION) or on average $39,000 per student.  Many people build their plan on a poor foundation so they miss the chance to find their student’s dream college  and/or overpay on the costs.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

By learning about the four pillars for successful college planning, you can help your family save time, save money and have no regrets.

Finding the right fit = free money for college.

The core four columns of FIT are:

Financial fit (column 1)

Families can overlook tremendous opportunities when analyzing the 4-year costs of college.  Many parents see the sticker price of a college without understanding the net cost.  In our blog, Financial Aid 101“, we outline how to find your financial fit and make the system work for you. You should focus on your net costs and not the sticker costs.  Familiarizing yourself with the financial aid forms and formulas will give you the stepping stone to figure if you are eligible for need-based aid or if you make too much and need to focus on merit aid.

Academic fit (column 2)

Students may miss another great opportunity by not finding the right academic fit, costing themselves additional dollars. They also could miss scholarships or discounts from schools in which would be in the top 25 percent of the enrolling class.  When a student is elevated at a school, it provides special opportunities to get admitted for a lower cost.

Social fit (column 3)

Research is conclusive that a student can tell you within 20 minutes on campus if they will be comfortable at that school.  Every year, I hear parents push for schools they think is the right social fit for their children, even though the student is uncomfortable in that environment.  The social fit can save you thousands of dollars because if your student transfer you will probably cost you a 5th year of school.  Since many families do not focus on social fit, they tend to contribute to 23% college transfer rate statistic.

Career Fit (column 4)

Over the last 20 years as an advisor, I have found the most successful families are the ones that begin with the end in mind.  The famous Stephen Covey habit 2 can also be applied to the college planning process.  By being career-minded, you can eliminate a lot of the pitfalls that many families encounter when selecting schools.  Placement, internships, and prestige at the department level should be part of the bigger process.   I am not saying you need to know if your student’s career position, just pathway so they can get a jump start in life.

As you think about your college plan, have you factored these columns into building your plan?

Would you build a house with 3 walls?

Off course not!  So do not do it on your quest to find the best colleges for your student.

These 4 columns are the building blocks for a successful college plan.  Remember, this blog information is just the start. Each column has a multitude of strategies to save on costs, save time and find the best universities for your student.

Your Solution and Your Plan

Hopefully, you will save on average $17,000 to $122,000 on your college costs by learning more, attending a free workshop, scheduling a free call or downloading a free resource guide.

If you would like some free advice about your situation, please feel free to  Schedule a Free 30 Minute Call to discuss your situation or register for a workshop.

Stuart Canzeri
Stuart is known as one on the industry experts in college funding and college financial planning. He serves as a registered fiduciary for his clients and has been in the financial and college planning arena for a combined 18 years. Stuart received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Tulane University, a MBA from Mercer University and completed his Certified Financial Planner certification from the University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business. He is Co-founder of Peachtree Financial Group, a boutique registered investment advisory firm and Managing Partner of Peachtree College Planning. He was appointed twice as a Commissioner at the Fulton County Housing Authority and still serves today.
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