Well, this is your "final reminder" newsletter revealing exactly what you should be doing right now to get funding for your child's college education.
Please take a moment to shut your door, hang up a "Do Not Disturb" sign, and read this issue immediately. It just might save you thousands of dollars on your "out-of-pocket" college costs.
So, without further ado, here's a list of the 7 steps you must take right now to get all the money you deserve:
Step #1 - Have Your Child Get A FAFSA Form From Their High School Immediately And
Fill It Out!
The priority filing date for applying for Federal funds is on or soon after January 1st, 2001.
Since financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, it's imperative that you get the FAFSA form in immediately if you want to be eligible for the maximum amount of funding.
So, if you haven't already done so, pick up a FAFSA form immediately and fill it out with your child. Then, submit it as soon as humanly possible.
Step #2 - Make Sure Your Child Fills Out A Profile Registration Packet If They Are
Applying To Private Colleges And Universities That Require This Form.
Some state schools and many private schools require students to submit a Financial Aid Profile form in addition to the FAFSA form.
Make sure you find out which colleges, if any, require this form, and then make sure you register to receive your personalized "Financial Aid Profile" packet immediately.
The priority filing deadline date for receiving Profile forms varies from school to school, so make sure you get this form in on time. In some cases, priority deadline dates can be as early as November or December of 2000.
You don't want to miss a deadline if you can avoid it since it may end up costing you a small fortune in college funding!
Step #3 - Make Sure You Fill Out The FAFSA And Profile Forms Accurately!
According to published sources, over 90% of all financial aid forms are received with errors or inconsistencies.
For example, some forms require you to fill them out with a #2 pencil, while others require dark ink.
One minor error could easily cause a financial aid form to be delayed or "bumped" which means you will have to re-submit it costing you valuable time.
Since aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, this could end up costing you thousands in lost college funding.
So, make sure you get your forms in not only on time, but accurately as well.
Step #4 - If You Are Divorced Or Separated, Make Sure You Base Your Information On
The Parent(s) With Whom The Student Resides For The Greater Part Of The
When you fill out the FAFSA, and/or FAP forms, it's important to answer the questions based on which parent(s) the student lives with for the greater part of the year.
For example, if you are remarried, and your child (the student) lives with you, you have to answer all questions based on you and your new spouse even though your spouse isn't your child's biological mother or father.
I know it's "not fair", but that's the way the formula works, so make sure you list the parental information correctly on all the forms.
Step #5 - Make Sure You Fill Out All "Supplemental" Forms If Your Child Has To Fill Out
The Profile Form.
There is a "Business/Farm" Supplement if you own a business or commercial farm. It's used as a balance sheet to give financial aid officers an idea of the "value" of your business or farm.
Try to get help from your accountant on filling this form out, and make sure he (or you) don't over-value the "net worth" of your business.
If you are divorced or separated, your ex-spouse will also be asked to fill out a "Divorced/Separated" Supplement. Many people get worried about filling out this form because they don't want their ex-spouse finding out how much money they make or how many assets they have.
If you are currently divorced or separated, let your ex-husband or wife know that they can fill out this supplemental form privately and send it directly into the financial aid office at each school. Also, let them know that they will significantly reduce your child's chances of getting funding if they don't fill it out!
Step #6 - Find Out If Any Of The Schools Your Child Is Applying To Require Their Own
Some schools are still not satisfied even after receiving information from your child's FAFSA and Profile forms.
In some cases, these schools will require you to fill out their own "Institutional" form.
These forms tend to be repetitive in nature, and ask many of the same questions that appear on the FAFSA and Profile forms.
Therefore, it's important that you make sure your information is consistent from one form to another.
Step #7 - Apply For Financial Aid Even If You Don't Think You're Eligible And Look Into
Alternate Ways To Pay For College On A Tax-Favored Basis.
Even if you won't qualify for "need-based" aid, many schools won't consider you for "non-need-based" grants, scholarships and loans if you don't apply. So, no matter what your income or assets look like, it ALWAYS makes sense to apply for financial aid.
Also, just because you don't qualify for "need-based" aid doesn't mean you don't need help paying for college.
One of the best "tax-advantaged" strategies is using some of the equity you have built up in your home to pay for college. Unlike commercial loans, the interest on home equity loans is tax deductible, and allows you to pay for part or all of your child's tuition on a "tax-favored" basis.
However, not all home equity loan programs are created equal, or even appropriate for financing a higher education. That's why we highly recommend using the services of a competent college financial planning consultant who is well-versed on this strategy, and can help you choose the best program for your situation.
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If you follow the plan we just outlined, the college funding process should go smoothly, and you will start hearing back from the colleges in early spring.
If any of this process intimidates, scares, or confuses you, please feel free to call our office immediately at 631-864-3688 to sign up for a FREE financial aid eligibility analysis or college funding workshop in your area.
Even if you've already filed your financial aid forms, we can still help you come up with a strategy to pay for your "out-of-pocket" college expenses on a tax-favored basis.
So, pick up the phone and call our office right now at 631-864-3688. Or, if you'd like to get a copy of our FREE Report "7 New Ways To Beat The High Cost Of College", call our 24- hour toll-free recorded message hotline at 800-799-0627 or email us at Lernerespo@aol.com.
Well, that about covers it for this month.
Until next month...
Happy New Year,
Jan and Tony Esposito
P.S. Visit our website at www.Collegechannel.net to get an updated schedule of our college funding workshops and a lot more...