Testing and Financial Aid Information
Financial Aid Information
- Christian Connector (Links to Christian college and Bible college sites, etc.): http://www.christianconnector.com
- Peterson's Colleges & Universities: http://www.petersons.com/ugrad
- College Net (College search tool including applications on the Internet): http://www.collegenet.com
Education Trust (Offers APPLY! CD-ROM free of charge to ease the search
and application process and to enable students to use their personal
computers to find, apply to, and pay for colleges. Contains: college
search database with information on more than 1,500 colleges;
applications to more than 500 colleges with the ability to fill in
basic information just once; information on more than 180,000
scholarships, loans, and grants; and an estimated financial need
calculator and a student loan application): http://www.weapply.com
PLANNING AHEAD FOR THE FAFSA
Tips: You Can Juggle Your Own Money So That You Can Get More Aid.
your money in the right place. Money for college in a parent's name is
better than money for college in a child's name. The FAFSA formula
takes about 5% or a parents' assets as part of the Expected Family
Contribution to college costs. But it takes 35% of the student's
assets. That's a huge difference!
no thanks to gifts. If Grandma or your favorite aunt wants to give you
a $1,000 savings bond for a college next egg, don't reject their
generosity, but ask them to please wait a while, or to purchase the
bond in their own name and hold it until it is needed.
learning a family affair. If Mom or Dad--or anyone else in the
family--has been thinking about going to school for a class or two at
night, a good time for them to enroll is when they have children ready
to be full-time college students. Everyone enrolled for at least six
credits is considered a student by the financial aid formula. Each
family member who counts as a student substantially reduces the
Expected Family Contribution for all other members.
stocks early. If you plan to sell some investments-stocks, bonds,
mutual funds-to raise college money, do it early in the student's high
school junior year. Capital gains earned the year before you apply for
financial aid (from January of eleventh grade to December of twelfth
grade) count as income in determining financial need. Gains realized
the doctor early. Large medical and dental expenses not covered by
insurance are deducted from your income by many colleges. Pay all the
medical bills you can by December of the student's senior year.
extra on the mortgage. The more money you can put into your home
equity, the fewer dollars you'll show the government's computers that
figure your Expected Family Contribution. Home equity is an asset the
government's financial aid formula specifically ignores.
the max to IRAs. The same government computers that ignore home equity
want to know about the money you put into retirement plans---IRA,
401(k), SEP, Keogh-but only in the calendar year before you apply for
aid. All the retirement savings you have accumulated in the past are
ignored. Fund your retirement plan to the maximum until January of
eleventh grade, then slow down.
some good advice. All the above suggestions are legal and can increase
your eligibility for college financial aid. Some might fit with your
other financial planning goals and strategies. Some might not. A wise
idea is to seek advice from an expert financial planner.
really didn't find any of the preparation books to be all that helpful.
My son just didn't want to stick with them. I purchased some software
on CD-ROM at a local computer store called "Score Builder for the SAT
and ACT" (put out by The Learning Company). I liked it a lot and he
did, too. It is a much more personalized tool than anything you can
find in the books that I looked at. Students actually take a
preliminary ACT and SAT test on that software and it is scored
automatically upon completion. After that, all review/remedial work is
targeted specifically to the areas where extra help is indicated.
I would advise students taking BOTH the ACT and the SAT. I got input on
this from the director of assessment for the Wichita public schools.
Some students just do better on one test or the other. In our case, my
son did better on the SAT and my nephew did better on the ACT. All of
the schools they applied to said that they would use whichever test
they performed best on. Based on the advice I got from the Wichita
assessment director, I had both boys take both tests multiple times (3
each). Evidently, it is common for the score to rise each time the test
is taken, up to a point. (Taking them more than 4 times is not
advisable because there is little to be gained from "overkill.") That
predicted rise did happen with both boys. They didn't make huge gains,
but each time, their score did nudge up just a bit higher.
I want to mention the college that both boys have decided to attend:
Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. I've learned over the
course of the past months that they just LOVE homeschooled kids!
also want to suggest "College Planning for Dummies" as perhaps THE best
book available to cover the whole gamut of issues concerning college
prep from selecting a college, taking the tests, applying for financial
aid, and etc. I bought a LOT of books and THAT is the one I consider to
Below are some "tip
sheets" that I prepared for the principal at my children's private
school to give to parents of high schoolers on this very topic. We
don't have a guidance counselor so I had to do a "crash course" in this
stuff like it appears you are doing. I put the pages together to help
other parents who didn't have time to do the same extensive research.
They follow, below. You are free to use this info in any way if you
think that homeschoolers will find it to be helpful. (You will probably
want to remove the School ID code for my children's school and you may
want to modify other parts that refer to "teachers, counselors and
principals." Feel free to modify at will, too.)
President, Project Educate
Associate Editor, Crisis in Education Magazine
3410 S. KESSLER WICHITA, KANSAS 67217
PHONE: (316) 942-4545 FAX: (316) 942-6424