Written by: Brian Safdari
The daunting task of submitting and applying for Financial Aid for college can be an overwhelming chore to say the least. Now imagine if you and your family find yourselves in a divorced situation. That’s right; it just got 3 times more confusing. Numerous questions may be swirling in your head: Which parent do we file under? Do the schools want both parents’ information? Do we have to provide EVERYTHING? The questions can go on and on.
The good news is that in a divorce situation, you may just have many options in order to receive the most amount in financial aid, assuming you spend some time “planning” and gathering information from a credible source.
First things first are the forms used to apply for financial aid; the FAFSA and CSS Profile. These are the financial aid forms that most state and private schools use to determine financial aid eligibility. From your forms, you will receive a number called your EFC or expected family contribution. Visit our website to get an approximate number of your own EFC. This number is used to determine your financial need. The way a school determines your need is they use your EFC and plug it into the formula Cost of Attendance (The sticker price to attend college including everything) – EFC (Expected Family Contribution (A number that reflects the amount schools think you a can afford) = Need. Our goal, at College Planning Experts, is to reduce your EFC and increase your need. The higher your need, the higher your grants and scholarships.
Now, here come the questions; do you know how FAFSA requires what to list about a divorce family? Do you know legally and ethically how to give them the information but not divulge more than what they need in order to get more free money for college? For example, if you are attending a public university, depending on the specific college, you may be able to submit your financial aid form with one parent. You need to dig deep and know the specific strategies regarding their “non-custodial” rules. One of the families we helped had a student attending a public school that the rule was “Who does the student live with 51% of the time”? In this specific situation, we had the student 51% with the lower income and asset family and we were able to receive $26,000 in grants at UCLA, leaving the family with a total cost of $9,000 per year. No too bad, huh?
Another thing to keep in mind is that since colleges are businesses, they want to have you pay as much as possible for college. Also, we know that the FAFSA, and other Financial Aid forms, have a high error rate (ask for a copy of my e-book to find out more). Avoiding mistakes and seeking guidance (strategic planning) will allow you to make college affordable without going broke.
There are three pillars in the college planning process. Pillar #1 is how to market and position your child to get accepted into the college of their choice. You will be shocked that colleges are not accepting students based on grades and test scores alone, but a big part is what makes your child “unique”. There are specific formulas to implement to increase your chances in getting accepted, even with a low grade point average (GPA). Pillar #2 is getting the most financial aid possible by understanding the financial aid formula we briefly talked about (COA-EFC = Need). All income level families can receive financial aid IF you know how to utilize the financial aid formulas (Come to our Free Workshop, we will show you how). Pillar #3 is funding college. How are you going to pay your share for college? How much can you afford monthly? What type of loans and resources are available to ensure you don’t have to sacrifice using all your savings or jeopardizing your retirement?
Brian Safdari, founder and CEO of www.CollegePlanningExperts.com, made costly mistakes that cost him over $53,000 in student loan debt unknowingly and unnecessarily. Also, he attended his least desired college that was not the best fit school. After the mistakes he made, he devoted his life to share the truth about the higher education system and how to legally and ethically take control of the process to send kids into the college of their dreams and ensure the parents do not go broke.
If you’d like help navigating through this confusing process and want your questions answered give us a call today at (661) 295-9946. Are you divorced? Contact us and we can help you save thousands on college. This will be one of the wisest financial decisions you’ve ever made. Visit our website at www.CollegePlanningExperts.com or give us a call today. Reference this article when you call to receive a special gift.