February is Financial Aid Awareness Month. Its purpose is to provide important information to students and their families about financial aid. If you have children or grandchildren who plan to attain higher education after high school, now is the perfect time to increase your knowledge about the college funding process.
Here are some ways to help you get started:
#1- Complete the FAFSA
There are numerous reasons people choose to ignore the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. Some feel it’s too complicated or time-consuming. Others don’t believe they’ll receive any aid or worry that they’ll reveal too much personal information. The truth is that completing the FAFSA can only help you. The FAFSA application is completely safe and may enable you to find the best financial aid and student loan options available to your child or grandchild. It can also qualify them for specific grants and scholarships.
#2- Search for Grants and Scholarships
While most grants and scholarships take minimal time to apply, they can save your child or grandchild a lot of money on their higher education. This savings is particularly true if they receive more than one grant or scholarship. Most scholarships are merit-based, meaning they are awarded to students based on requirements like their high school GPA, good test scores, or proven athletic ability. On the other hand, Grants are typically need-based and awards based on students’ family’s situation.
It’s a good idea to help your child or grandchild understand the difference between grants and scholarships. You may also want to research grants and scholarships they may be eligible to receive this Financial Aid Awareness Month. Grants and scholarships often come from:
- Federal and state governments
- College and universities
- Private organizations like labor unions, religious centers, and nonprofits
- Online websites such as FastWeb or Scholarships.com
#3- College Savings Options
In addition, if you’ve contributed to your child’s or grandchild’s college savings account, kudos! Review the rules for withdrawing the funds tax-free. If you haven’t started a college fund yet it’s never too late to start. However, the most common college savings vehicles include:
- 529 plans
- Coverdell ESAs
- Life insurance
- Savings bonds
#4- Consult Your Financial Professional this Financial Aid Awareness Month
In conclusion, together we can review you’re your financial plan. Use Financial Aid Awareness Month to help prepare for your child’s or grandchild’s education and make adjustments as necessary. Subsequently, contact our office to schedule your college savings review.
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