Saturday, February 21, 2009

The 5 Deadliest Mistakes Most Parents Make When Applying For College Funding -- And How to Avoid Them...

Today I read an article sent and written by Scott Weingold, one of the top ten college funding advisors in the country about the 5 Deadliest Mistakes Most Parents Make When Applying For College Funding and How to Avoid Them. They are:

1. Most middle and upper-middle class parents assume we won't be eligible for financial aid because we own a home and make over $75,000 per year.

The reality is that most families with incomes ranging from $50,000 - $150,000 per year who own homes are eligible for some form of financial aid, which is over 150 billion dollars available each year from the Federal Government, the states, colleges and universities, and private foundations and organizations. We need to know how to get a "fair share, not just assume we won't be eligible and therefore give up. According to Scott, this is exactly what the government hopes we will do so they can keep more of these funds. He advise us not to make this mistake! If we fall into this category, it is never hurt to apply and we'll probably be eligible for SOME money.

2. Focusing our time and energy on a private scholarship search instead of spending our time trying to qualify for "need-based" financial aid.

The reality is that private scholarships make up only 2% of the money available to us to help pay for our child's college education. The other 98% comes from the Federal Government, the state we live in, and the colleges and universities our child is applying to. Therefore, we are much better off spending our time and energy going after the 98%, rather than spending our time looking for the crumbs! These so-called "scholarship searches" we read about are normally scams and a complete waste of money. They charge us an arm and a leg and don't deliver. However, if we still insist on at least looking for some scholarships, Scott advise us to call their offices and they will give us a website that provides a free scholarship search.

3. Assuming only minority students, athletes, and academically gifted students get financial aid.

The reality is that nothing could be further from the truth! "Need-based" financial aid is solely awarded based on "financial need" which is calculated by taking the cost of attendance at a school and subtracting the family contribution (which is the minimum amount the government feels we can afford to pay based on our income and assets and our child's income and assets). Whatever is left over after we subtract these two numbers is our "financial need" or eligibility for financial aid at a particular school. If we haven't noticed, according to Scott, this has nothing to do with a student's ethnic background, athletic ability, or grades. It's purely based on this simple formula:
COA (Cost Of Attendance)
- FC (Family Contribution)
= FN (Financial Need)

4. Picking colleges and universities without paying attention to where our student lies in comparison to the rest of the student body.

The reality that to increase your chances of getting the best possible financial aid packages, it is imperative that we pick schools where our child lies in the top 10% of the incoming freshman class with respect to their GPA and SAT/ACT scores. Although schools give financial aid based on our calculation of "need" at their school, they will definitely give preferential packaging (i.e., more FREE money, less loans) to students who lie in the top 10% of the incoming class. The reason they do this is to attract the better students to their school. Use this to our advantage and try to apply only to those schools where your child would fit into the top 10% category.

5. Assuming all schools are created equal and will be able to give us the same amounts of money.

The reality is that all schools are not created equal and will not be able to give us the same financial aid packages. Some schools are well endowed and get a lot of money from alumni and corporations. These schools have more money to give out and are generally able to meet most or all of a student's financial need at their school. Other schools, like state universities, get no private funds and rely solely on state and Federal funds to help fill a student's need at their school. In many cases, these schools leave students short and give them less money than they are eligible to receive. It can actually end up costing us more to send our child to a "cheaper" school if they don't have the money to meet our need. It is very important that we know each school's history of giving money before we ever apply, so we're not blown away when we get a bad financial aid package from our child's top school choice.
For more details , Please visist the website ( and contact Scott Weingold byemail:

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