I recently heard a horror story of a family who attended a meeting at a local high school to complete their FAFSA. The person conducting the meeting knew how to complete a FAFSA but DID NOT know anything about the family and their finances. Flying blind, this family was unaware they could have lowered their expected family contribution (EFC) – and they made an $11,000+ annual mistake. You can learn ways to combat the current WAR for your wallet.
Frequent Parent Mistake
Parents believe high school counselors can provide all the information they need. While high school counselors can be a tremendous resource for Basic College Planning information, it is also not unusual for one counselor to work with several hundred students at a time. Counselors routinely spend 90% of their time working with only 10 percent of their students. Counselors try their best to be helpful, but you cannot rely on them to help you lower your family's College expenses to the degree it may be possible.
Many high schools offer meetings for parents at the school that will describe the financial aid process and some of the forms that need to be filed, such as the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). However, high school counselors are not trained in financial aid planning for individual families. They are not qualified to give advice on how your family can maximize your opportunities for financial aid. Counselors are not familiar with the more than 5 pounds of financial aid rules!
Financial aid is only part of the College Funding process. How much you pay for College will be also be contingent upon how you handle the admissions process and what tax and financial planning strategies pertinent to your family you end up putting into action.