7 Ways to Pay For College if You Didn't Receive College Financial Aid – Part One

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7 Ways To Pay For College
If You Did Not Receive Financial Aid
If Your EFC is too high

You fill out all of the forms, you meet all of the deadlines, and then you wait. You wait to receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). The most important part of your SAR is just beneath the processing date on Part 1. This is where you’ll find your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This is the amount of money that the financial aid administration believes you can afford to spend on college tuition during the next year. If that number is a string of zeroes, you’ve hit the jackpot: no one expects you to pay anything (although it is important to remember that not all schools will be able to pick up the entire tab for you).

Of course, a zero EFC is fairly rare. Most families find themselves looking at a much larger figure than they think they can afford. The financial aid administration doesn’t just consider your family income when they calculate your contribution; they also factor in any assets you might have and they may expect you to pick up some loans to cover the shortfall. Here’s an important point to remember:

It’s Not As Bad As It Looks!

If you’ve been wondering how on earth you’re going pay such a huge amount of money every year that your child is at college, don’t panic. There are ways. Some of them are fairly complex and may only apply to a small number of families; others are worth looking at regardless of your financial situation. I’ve listed seven very useful methods that you can use below. If you want any more information about any of these—or if you feel that none of these methods apply to your situation – contact us, and we’ll be happy to help. We’ll take a good look at your particular situation and come up with a strategy that works for you.

A college education is the best investment anyone can make. The thousands of dollars you might have to pay over the next few years will generate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in extra income for your children over the course of their working lives. For now though, you’re still left with a bill that looks unpayable. It isn’t. Here are seven ways to meet the cost:

Way #1 – Correct Your SAR
The first method is very simple. It’s fairly common for mistakes to sneak into the EFC calculations. In particular, decimal points can end up in the wrong place, giving you a bill ten times higher than necessary! The first thing you should do is check your report carefully. If you do find a mistake, then you can simply correct the mistake and resubmit the form.

People often find that the tax estimates they made when they first completed the form turn out to be different than the amount they end up actually filing. Again, an amended Part II should help correct the error and could cut a few dollars from your contribution. Another common mistake is to overestimate the size of the family income or the value of the family home. If you have underestimated your tax liability, an amended form can have a dramatic effect on your EFC.

Way #2: Choose Your Schools Carefully
One of the first decisions that many parents make when they see the EFC is simply to start looking at cheaper schools. But you might not have to do that for the entire four-year course. If your student is willing to attend a community college for the first year or two, they might be able to transfer to a more expensive institution for the last two or three years. The first couple of years at college mostly consist of general courses that are the same everywhere. Simply attending a cheaper school for four years might not be the best solution for your child.

In fact, a school that looks expensive on paper might still turn out to be the most affordable. Although private colleges tend to have the highest costs, they also have the largest endowments and will actively seek out grants, scholarships and low interest loans to help qualifying students meet the higher tuition costs. A private school could actually end up costing you less than a state school!

In Part two we will review 3 more strategies.


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