The Importance of Creating a College Funding Strategy
You’re probably already aware of how difficult it is to pay for college, but what you may not be aware of is that there is a lot you can do about it. You can’t make college tuition go away entirely, of course, but you can get college funding help from professionals who know how to save money on college tuition. It’s hard to understand the benefits of working with a college funding advisor until you sit down with one, but as soon as you do, those advantages become apparent immediately.
Are you asking, “Can I afford to send my child to college?” Ecliptic Financial Advisors can make sure you do, by providing you with a college funding professional who can help you with collegiate funding solutions that range from locating little-known grants to finding merit aid to straightening out the family budget.
You can learn about the proper way to approach savings plans, which colleges you can and cannot realistically afford, and how to make decisions based on firm financial understanding. A college funding professional can help give you some structure in your quest to afford college, which means greater peace of mind and an easier journey for the entire family. For more about the kind of college help we offer, read on.
Today’s College Climate: Preparing for the Costs of College
In today’s college climate, you must have a real, clear action plan in place for funding college. The cost of tuition, fees, room and board rise dramatically year after year. Tuition costs average a rise of 7 to 8 percent every year, even greater than the rate of inflation. You need a financial professional who understands the specific financial challenges and can help you meet them. Our experts can help you understand and plan for statistics like these:
- The costs of college have increased dramatically over the last 40 years. The cost of room and board at a private university has doubled, when adjusted for inflation, while the cost of tuition and fees has tripled.
- Currently, more than 44 million Americans are carrying student debt, with $1.41 trillion in student debt currently unpaid, and an 11 percent delinquency rate.
- Many families are paying less for college than they did just a few years ago. This reflects better financial planning and a willingness to cut costs and avoid unnecessary spending.
What this means for you is that even if the cost of college seems insurmountable, there is almost always an answer for your situation. Proper planning and good advice can help you overcome many obstacles when it comes to the financial burden of college.
Here is a breakdown of the many useful services Ecliptic Financial Advisors can offer you and your family to help you navigate the sometimes-tricky waters of college financing.
Determining a College Funding Strategy
We begin by developing a proper college funding strategy to meet your goals. The components of this strategy include:
Once we know your EFC we will:
- Provide planning recommendations to reduce your EFC
- Provide recommendations for the best way to pay your share of college costs
- Provide cost-efficient borrowing strategies to help keep financial goals in line, along with cash flow strategies for college years and beyond
- Provide complete financial overview of college, cash flow, and retirement; develop a plan to improve each area
- Provide strategies that legally protect your savings and retirement accounts from the financial aid formulas
- Provide strategies on how to possibly use your home equity so it helps, rather than hurts, in the financial aid formulas
Helping You Understand the Financial Aid System
- College planning checklist with deadlines, updated electronically and emailed when something is completed and/or missing
- Free Bonus: Complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Register and complete the CSS Profile
- Complete any additional financial forms required by individual schools upon request
- Make any necessary adjustments to the SAR
- Advise on Stafford and PLUS Loan Applications
- Provide protection from being overlooked for grants, scholarships or loans due to mistakes in financial aid forms
Guiding Your Student Through The College Admissions Process
Student services include:
- Two personal one-on-one counseling sessions with a college admissions counselor.
- The initial one-hour phone or Skype session is an essential tool in establishing timelines and setting specific tasks on the road to college success. Counselor will help student set priorities and assist in establishing a tentative list of schools, specifically tailored to student’s intended area of study. Parents are encouraged to participate in this mentoring session to assure everyone understands deadlines and tasks. (Counselors are all members of the New Jersey Association of College Admission Counseling.) Written summary report will be provided to the parent and student; includes a personalized checklist to keep student on task.
- This second private counseling session is to check the student’s progress with college applications, essays and other action items on the student’s checklist. Counselor will review the student’s college list, make additional suggestions, and answer any questions. This session can also be used as a college admission mock interview.
- Access to Method Test Prep, which provides evaluation tests and study guides to help student prepare for the SAT and/or ACT. Program includes a 20-week intensive course with sample questions, vocabulary builder, math problems, worksheets and more; full-length practice exams are also included. Students can learn through a combination of reading the material, watching informational videos, and taking practice tests. Program also includes easy-to-follow guidelines for creating an effective study plan.
- Access to Career Cruising, an interactive informational website that features:
- Personalized Student Profile and Assessment
- Matchmaker assessment based on student’s individual profile to find careers, majors, and fields of study that match up with their interests.
- Innovative college search engine based on unique criteria and personalized areas of Importance. Specific financial information for each college highlighted.
- Profile assessment to help the student determine the specific job tasks and skills necessary for careers that match their interests, including tips for improving and increasing specific skills.
- Learning styles inventory to discover how student learns and retains information. Also, includes tips for students to improve study habits tailored to particular learning style.
- Access to Online Resource Center, which includes the College Admissions Handbook, College Loan Manual and Financial Aid FAQs.
- Value Added Services Include:
- Provide easy-to-understand parent and student manuals
- Provide an information-packed monthly e-newsletter
- Automatic e-mails sent regularly to parents and students to keep everyone on task
- Personalized financial aid information as well as access to helpful resources developed by industry experts
- Provide feedback on specific colleges
- Unlimited support for parents and students
- Provide peace of mind
Additional Financial Assistance
- Ecliptic Financial Advisors will evaluate your financial aid award letters and determine if there’s a basis for appeal. If so, we will draft an appeal letter.
- We will create a solid strategy to help maximize eligibility for financial aid, including exploring opportunities for grants and scholarships.
The earlier you start learning about creating a college funding strategy, the easier time you will have paying for your child’s college education without incurring years upon years of back-breaking debt. Start by calculating your expected family contribution (EFC) with our free EFC calculator, or attending one of our free educational workshops. Click below to register for a workshop at your preferred location and date, or call us today at 732-502-9700 for more information.