Alexis Avila of Prepped & Polished, LLC gives you three college financial aid tips for parents. To get more info about college financial aid planning, please contact Todd Weaver at Strategies for College

Tip #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.

Tip #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.

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

This will help you as well as 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.

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