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Tools to Find a College (Pt. 2)
Submitted by Larry Frank Sr. on Thu, 01/30/2014 - 12:00pm
You and your prospective college...
Pinpointing the most appropriate college means little unless you also find
a way to afford tuition and other costs.
In the...
A financial advisor’s word to the wise: Do not shift your assets around to
try to qualify for more aid. Often you deplete ...
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Advice iq frank 1 30 14

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After settling on a career (Part 1), identifying college and costs becomes easier.

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  1. 1. Tools to Find a College (Pt. 2) Submitted by Larry Frank Sr. on Thu, 01/30/2014 - 12:00pm You and your prospective college student teen know what you want in a college. Here in the second of two articles are sources for finding colleges and, maybe more important, ways to pay for tuition. Start with talking with career counselors at your teen’s high school; the school website probably has a link to the counseling or career center. These counselors know or can find out what qualifications different colleges require, such as types of high school classes. Also, attend programs your high school career-counseling center holds during your kid’s junior year; begin as soon as possible after the start of school. Starting this in your teen’s junior year also means you enter senior year better informed. Once you narrow your list of prospective colleges, ask those schools for contact info of their regional representatives nearby. These websites also help with the college search: Bigfuture by the College Board. These twin sites help you find schools based on your kid’s interests, education wants and test scores or by name. Directory of colleges by state. This one-stop portal also includes business, nursing and art and design schools, as well as community colleges. Your hunt becomes easier if colleges look for your teen. The College Board’s student search service allows colleges to see students they’re interested in. More than 1,100 colleges use the service (free to prospective students’ families) to look for students who match a range of factors such as location, interests and intended major.
  2. 2. Pinpointing the most appropriate college means little unless you also find a way to afford tuition and other costs. In the past half century, college price tags rose about 7% annually, nearly double the consumer price index during that same period. Though hikes in college costs did slow in recent years, students’ families also pay a larger chunk of costs, according to the College Board. Get a better idea of a school’s tuition and fees by searching for “cost of attendance” on the school’s website. Understand too that college financial aid basically means a loan you or your kid must eventually repay. Good sites for financial aid information: The U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center. In your kid’s last months of high school, get into the details of what college will actually cost. Going2College. Career options, planning advice and financial aid sources are broken out by state. The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). This program, cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corp., gives your teen a chance to enter for scholarships. U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid site. Details abound here on availability, qualifications, applications and managing future loans (don’t forget to tell your kids about that last one), as does general advice on preparing for college. You also find a link here to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) site, as well as an aid-estimating tool to use before your kid’s senior high school year. Beware: If you Google FAFSA, you most likely get dot-com sites unrelated to this dot-gov, or official U.S. government, site. Google for scholarships based on interests, academic study and the college itself. Most colleges also offerwork-study programs that provide part-time jobs for students to whittle education expenses. Sometimes colleges also offer grants, or free money for education. Receiving financial aid often hinges on your family’s financial need. Your expected family contribution measures your family’s financial strength, including taxed and untaxed income, assets and such benefits as unemployment or Social Security and your family size and the number of family members attending college in the same year. Take advantage of education tax credits or deductions that cover college expenses. Examples of such tax breaks include the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
  3. 3. A financial advisor’s word to the wise: Do not shift your assets around to try to qualify for more aid. Often you deplete or lock up money for later college costs or your own retirement, usually with little increase in the ultimate aid amount. Good college searches depend on an age-old staple of all education: homework. Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq. Larry R. Frank Sr., CFP, is a Registered Investment Adviser (California) in Roseville, Calif. He is the author of the book, Wealth Odyssey. He has an MBA with a finance concentration and B.S. cum laude in physics with which he views the world of money dynamically. He has peer-reviewed research published in the Journal of Financial Planning. http://blog.betterfinancialeducation.com/. AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily. Topic: College Funding Costs Scholarships

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