Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished asks Financial Aid Strategist Todd Weaver to list his three favorite financial aid tips for parents. ‬

1. Know your expected family contribution (EFC)
2. File financial aid forms on time or early.
3. Get to know your student’s financial aid advisor from the college he matriculated.

Today, I’m with Todd Weaver, senior associate of Boston firm Strategies for College. Todd has a BA from Vanderbilt and an MBA from Northeastern, as well as several years of experience working in the financial aid office at Northeastern University. So Todd, what financial aid tips do you have for parents?

#1. Know your expected family contribution.

Parents and students should log into college websites and plug their data into a net price calculator. As of last year, all colleges are now mandated to have a net price calculator on their website that allows a family to plug in their financial data. Sometimes, a little bit more information than just that, like a student’s grades and test scores, etc. Then, learn what that particular college is going to expect the family to pay as a net price. So, it’s not the sticker price but what your family is going to pay as the net price. That’s your EFC dry run, so to speak.

#2. File your forms for financial aid on time or early if you can.

When I worked at Northeastern in the Financial Aid office, I can’t tell you how many times people lost their financial aid when they didn’t get their forms in on time. You need to check out all of the college websites for financial aid to understand what the application deadlines are, what forms are needed and get things in on time.

#3. Get to know your student’s financial aid adviser at the college they matriculate at.

This will help you and your student make sure that things are done in a timely fashion for each of the four years that your student is in college. Not five years, just four. This person will be an advocate for your students in helping them understand what the repayment terms might be after college and what some of the loan forgiveness options are. Perhaps, even talk to them a little bit about income-based repayment terms. IBR is a new program that the federal government put out.

So the takeaway from these three tips is to start early and know what your family is up against in terms of the financial aid ramifications from each college that your student is considering.

Which financial aid tip did you find most useful? Do you find the financial aid process cumbersome?

Post your tips/comments below.

Become a Fan on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter