With my oldest just a few years away from his high school graduation, his college education is at the front of my mind. And that means I’ve already started to look into potential financial solutions that will ensure he can get the education he needs for future success.
Financial aid is not something only students worry about. More than ever, parents are deeply involved in the college application and admissions process.
Some parents may be considering paying for their child’s education in full, while others may be trying to help their undergrad navigate student loans and scholarships.
Even if you decide to borrow money to pay for your child’s education, you should do a fair amount of comparison before settling on a school.
You and your child should be in this together. Their education is partially their own responsibility, but that doesn’t mean they have to figure everything out on their own either.
Discussing finances every step of the way can help you emotionally support your child and allow you both to feel confident about the future. As you tour schools together, keep these questions in mind, and ask them before you encourage your child to accept an offer.
What Percentage of Students Receive Financial Aid?
A school that does not have a significant number of students receiving some form of financial aid likely does not provide ample support or resources for students who need it.
It is a good idea to ask about the number of students actively funding their education through Pell Grants. These grants are awarded by the federal government to students who have evidenced financial need.
A school that has very few students with financial funding could exclude students who do not come from prestigious or wealthy backgrounds. This indicates a lack of diversity and elitism that you may not wish your child to be a part of.
What are the Requirements for Needs-Based Aid?
You should always know your options, especially if you are interested in helping your child receive as much free financial aid as possible. You should also determine whether their income-based eligibility may change if you decide to contribute more substantially to their education.
One way to do this is through a Private Parent Loan. A Private Parent Loan can help you send your children off to college and reduce the fear of tuition cost. You borrow instead of your child, which generally results in a much higher principal and better interest rates.
However, a parent loan may still not cover every expense. For this reason, it’s a good idea to discuss all of the options your student may be able to take advantage of.
Do Students Receive Enough Financial Aid to Cover All of their Tuition?
Gaps occur in financial aid when an award package does not cover the full cost of tuition. This can happen when a school considers the maximum award amount based on a student’s income and it falls under the cost of tuition for the school year.
In some cases, you can appeal this amount and request another assessment in hopes of being approved for a larger amount. However, if the school does not alter their decision, students and families have to look for outside alternatives.
Gapping is something that you should plan ahead for. This means exploring loans, building up savings and applying for scholarships to make up the difference.
Whether you decide to use savings, take out a parent loan, or help your child organize a student loan, knowing about your child’s financial aid options will help you make the best decision for everyone.
And that means you’ll be able to watch your student move forward confidently to their dream career!