URGENT: Will You Have a Kid In College Next Year? FAFSA Help Here

Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

This post is part 1 of a 2-part series. To read part 2, which talks about what to do about the money your child has sitting around in his or her name before you fill out the FAFSA, click here.

If you’re parenting a 12th grader or a current college student, one of the most important days in your family financial life is coming up on October 1st, 2016.

Why is this date so important?

This is the first day you’ll be allowed to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Every family of a 12th grader or a current college student should fill out the FAFSA, even if you think that your son isn’t going to college, even if you believe that your income is far too high for you to get any aid to help you pay for college. Your son could change his 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? 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.

The only way to find out whether you might qualify for free money to pay for college is to fill out the FAFSA form.

The FAFSA form uses a confidential process to gather information about your family’s income and assets since January 1st of your child’s sophomore year of high school. It then uses that information to determine how much it is believed that your family can probably afford to pay for college.

Let me be blunt about what I’m about to say next. Parent, it will help if you can appear as poor and needy as possible on the day you fill out that FAFSA form.

This week, use these 7 last minute strategies to help tip the FAFSA equation in your favor.

FAFSA

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Top 5 Lies We Tell Kids About College

Read This When Your Kid's in Middle School.

This post is a scary one. But read all the way down to the red print at the bottom and I’ll give you a boatload of hope about college.

college

1. “If you don’t get into a good college, you won’t be able to get a good job when you graduate.”

This statement is completely and utterly false. Let’s all be honest for just a minute. Don’t you know people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Let’s get even more honest. Don’t you actually know many, many, many people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Why do we purposely scare kids with this lie?

2. “You, of course, shouldn’t even consider technical school.”

The bias against technical school gets communicated to kids from the age of 12 on up in a thousand insidious ways.

The subtle message kids hear is: “Tech school is for kids who aren’t as smart as you.” “Tech school is for kids who can’t get into real college.” “We won’t even show you a catalog of job training programs available at a technical school. We don’t care if tech school would empower you to make really great money after only two years of training. We won’t even suggest the possibility of going to technical school first and then perhaps four-year college after that. You’re smart and you come from a good family—that automatically means four-year college or university for you.”

(To see my post on “Could Your Kid End Up Wealthier and Happier by Not Going to College?” click here.)

3. “Of course you’re going to take out $40,000 in student loans to go to college. Don’t worry, you’ll easily be able to pay those loans back with the excellent job you’ll get after you graduate.”

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Grandparents, Here’s How to Give COLLEGE SAVINGS as Holiday Gifts

This article on how grandparents can give college savings as holiday gifts was updated on October 28th, 2021. 

Grandparents love to dote on their beloved grandchildren, but let’s face it. Older kids and teens are notoriously hard to shop for.

How can grandparents give a relatively inexpensive holiday gift that will be remembered with tears and great appreciation for years down the line?

No matter your income level or budget, Grandma and Grandpa, here’s an ingenious idea for deeply impacting the kids you love this holiday season.

grandma

Write a letter, put the letter in a box, and wrap the box.

Now imagine this scenario.

The child or teen opens a wrapped box from you, and inside he finds an envelope that says, “Isaac, read this later. Love, Grandma and Grandpa.”

In this special letter you tell him how much you love him, what admirable good character and potential you see in him, how proud you are of what he’s accomplished the previous year, how excited you are to see him have a successful future, and that you have made a contribution to a fund where you’re saving for his future education.

You don’t have to tell anyone the actual amount you’ve put into this college fund.

Any amount, even $10.00, is generous.

If you like to write, you can add more detail to this letter.

The letter could also include stories from your own life, along with wise advice for this boy’s future. Letters like these become increasingly precious to kids as the years go by—even if you’ve invested only a small amount in the college savings account each year.

Parents who’ve read pages 23–25 of my book will carefully save these letters.

On those pages, I strongly urge parents to carefully save these letters (along with photos of you and the child together), and then eventually use an online service to create a scrapbook out of them.

When this child is an adult, this scrapbook will mean more to him or her than a hundred sweaters and plastic toys.

What if your savings for this kid’s college ends up being over $100.00, and you want to invest it?

As this college savings fund gets larger, you may want to invest it so it can grow and increase in value while you’re sleeping. You shouldn’t do this until you’ve had a financial advising professional help you with your own retirement planning of course—but if you’ve got that taken care of, here’s what to consider as you invest this college savings money.

Invest in such a way that you protect the child’s future financial aid eligibility.

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Can’t My College Kid Just Declare Independence From Me?

Won't This Get Him More Money for College?

The dad was smiling at me, like he had a special secret that no one else knew. He folded his arms, rocked back on his heels, and got ready to tell me just why he was never going to need my help getting his kids’ college paid for.

“I don’t have to worry about that,” he told me. “I’m going to have my kids ‘declare independence’ from me. Then my income won’t count on their financial aid forms, and the money for college will just roll on in.”

Then he tilted his head and smiled at me.

“That’s what I did when I was in college, and it worked out great for me.”

I’m so sorry to tell you, Dad—your information is long outdated.

Here’s why declaring independence from parents no longer helps students get extra financial aid for college.

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