Is your child a senior in high school, or older? This post is part 2 of a 2-part series on what to do each September to make sure the FAFSA form you fill out in early October will get your child maximum financial aid for college. To read part 1 of this very important series, click here.
You’d love to help your kid get maximum financial aid to help pay for college.
Why? Because financial aid is free money that need never be paid back.
The great news? You can get a lot of financial aid help – even if you have a relatively high income. This 2-part series will help.
Get your child all the free money he or she has coming.
To be sure your child gets all the free money he or she has coming, you as a parent will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every October that you’ll have a child in college the following fall. Fill this form out every October, even if you’re convinced “you won’t get anything.”
Every family of a 12th grader should fill out the FAFSA. Here’s why.
Fill out the FAFSA even if you think your daughter isn’t going to college next year, even if you believe that your income is far too high for you to get any aid to help you pay for college. Your daughter could change her mind in the next year, and as far as your income – did you know that you can make up to $200,000 per year and have substantial assets and still get free money financial aid to help pay for college? The FAFSA form isn’t just used to apply for PELL grants, remember, it’s also the gateway to nine separate federal student aid programs, over 600 state aid programs, and most of the college-based (institutional) aid available in the United States.
Besides that, if your child does end up needing any loans for college, the FAFSA form is the one and only gateway to the best, lowest interest federally subsidized student loans.
Don’t pass up free money that your daughter might have coming to her.
How can you set your child up to receive maximum amounts of financial aid for college?
In part 1 of this series I wrote about 7 strategies parents can use each September to get more free money out of the FAFSA form they fill out each October.
But what about students? What can they do to make sure that the money they have sitting around in their personal bank accounts isn’t going to sabotage their potential to receive free money financial aid for college?
Parents, to get maximum financial aid for college, try not to have much money sitting around in your child’s name.
Why? The financial aid application process will immediately tap 20-50% of your child’s money and earmark it for paying college bills.
What can your child do to keep this from happening?
1. Students can quickly stash their cash in their own 529 savings plans.
Some teens with a lot of extra money in savings will say to their parents: “Dad, here’s my $10,000. Could you put the whole thing into that 529 plan you have for me?” This is a fairly good idea, since every $10,000 in a 529 plan will reduce future financial aid awards by only a tiny fraction of what it will if it’s sitting around in a savings account in your child’s name.
2. Students can become their parents’ loan sharks.
Some teens strike a deal with their parents. “Tell you what, Dad,” a son might say. “I’ve got $10,000 here. How about if I lend you this money to pay off your highest interest credit card debt, and then you note how much your monthly credit card bills are reduced as a result — and put that amount of money into my 529 plan each month?” Most parents hearing this are overjoyed at the thought that they could spend years paying money into their child’s college fund instead of to a credit card company.
Students, if you do use this strategy – just be sure to clarify to your parents that this is a loan, and have them sign a promissory note so that they eventually repay your loan to them in full. The optimal time for them to repay you? Sometime after your family has filled out your last FAFSA form (on October 1st of your junior year of college).
3. Students can pre-pay bills they, personally, owe right before their parents fill out FAFSA forms.
Does your daughter pay for her own cell phone bill or car insurance? See if she can pay extra on those bills right before you fill out her FAFSA form. Has she been saving to buy a car? September right before you fill out her FAFSA form might be a good time to buy that car. Why? Your daughter will have less money sitting around in her own name on FAFSA submission day, and this can result in her getting more free money financial aid to help pay for college.
To see 7 other strategies families can use to get more free money financial aid for college, click here.
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Would you like to know what to do first to get your kids through college debt free – even if you can’t save a penny?
Getting college scholarships is a relatively small part of the picture when it comes to getting kids through college debt free. Grab the free, full-color e-book at the top of this site and you’ll quickly get ten additional great ideas you can use right now – whether your kids are in high school or in diapers.
This post is an excerpt from my book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward (due out this month). To be among the first to purchase a copy of this book, subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter using the form above. Then click here to learn how to “whitelist” my newsletter with your email provider so it ends up in your primary email inbox every single week.
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What about you? What strategies have you figured out for getting the most financial aid to help pay for college? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full time author and speaker. Her writing helps parents set their kids up to graduate college debt free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. She also helps students apply to medical school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.