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  • Eric Stutman

Surprising tips and facts about college financial aid

Parents, if you aren't worried about the cost of college, maybe you should be. Many cost $60,000 per year per student, and if you have more than one child, and if any of them want to go to graduate school in the future, the numbers are staggering.

Here are some facts and tips relating to financial aid that I hope will help you:

1. Fact: Harvard can cost less than U. Massachusetts. How? If you have "financial need" as determined by filling out FAFSA and CSS profile forms, Harvard and most other super selective schools will meet 100% of need, while U Mass on average meets 81% of demonstrated need.

2. Tip: Save money for college in the parent's name, not the student's name. In financial aid calculations, 20% of the money held in the student's name is part of your "Expected financial contribution (EFC)", but only about 5% of money in parent's name goes into the EFC.

3. Fact: Your student's "Safety" schools may be the least expensive to attend. Schools always want to improve their academic reputation. They will offer your student merit-based gifts (free money, not loans!), in order to attract them. Fact: Harvard and the like don't offer ANY merit gifts to students; only need-based money.

4. Tip: You can ask schools to improve the financial packages they offer your student. If your student has their heart set on a certain school, but the financial packages from other schools are better, feel free to contact the school, in writing, to ask for a better package. They often sweeten the offer for students they want to attract!

Have questions or want to learn more? Contact Eric now.

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