When I saw the article titled, “Financial Fitness: Shopping around for financial aid to ease college debt”, I thought that it was just another jumble of well-known facts rearranged to complete an assignment given to a novice journalist. Thank goodness that I give most things the benefit of the doubt.
In this article, Kevin Klug responds to typical financial aid questions using language that everyone can understand. The refreshing part of his responses was that he tells the reader why it is important to do the things he suggests. I was also surprised to see that he suggests a good place to start the process is with award letters themselves. Just this month I was contacted by a client who was totally confused about which college was giving them the best deal AKA, the lowest cost of attendance. Mr. Klug offers a way to compare award letters that actually makes sense to someone not familiar with financial aid awards. It is made very clear that you should be aware that all the money included in a financial aid offer is not free money. Loans only defer the expense of attending a college.
The thing that most impressed me is that the overall tone of the article was calming. With so much hype and stress already attached to the college application process, this message stood out as a voice of reason when making some of the final decisions about where your child and your money will reside in the fall. Heeding the words of this article could mean that significantly less of your money will follow your child off to college.
Just consider that a prestigious private school offered your child $25,000 each year for four years in scholarship money while the state school three hours away offered them $5,000 each year for four years. If tuition and fees at the private school are $50,000 per year and the state school tuition and fees are $25,000 per year, your child can still attend the state school for $5,000 less per year. This is an over-simplified example of what an actual financial aid offer might look like, but you get the idea.
You can find this article at http://fox11online.com/good-day-wi/financial-fitness-shopping-around-for-financial-aid-to-ease-college-debt. I suggest you take five minutes and read it. The benefits could range into the thousands of dollars over the next four years.