Financial aid myths

myths about financial aidThe financial aid process seems so complex and intimidating, and the cost of college so high to uneducated observers, that myths and false information are often generated about the process. There are plenty of myths out there that could keep you from attending the college of your dreams, but those shouldn’t stop you. The truth is, you can make college more affordable than you think. Here are the realities of affording a college education.

Myth 2: I don’t really have to worry about paying for college until my student is admitted.

The Reality:

If you start figuring out how you’ll pay for college only when your student is admitted, you’ll have a tough time making the first tuition bill. Paying for college is a complex process, and it involves a lot of costs you won’t think of without extensive preparation. It is critical that you understand how to fund college before actually applying to college.

Let’s put it into perspective. If you had to replace your car and you knew that the most you would ever have to pay was, say, $10,000 no matter what the sticker price of the car, would you plan on buying a used Chevy or a new Porsche? Early understanding of college funding can provide similar college options for your family. Instead of thinking Chevy, you can start thinking Porsche. Plan early and you will upgrade the schools you’ll consider. Now you have the chance to pursue the right educational opportunities for the right reasons.

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Myth 4: Paying for College Is An Investment

The Reality:

That depends on how you define ‘investment.’ An investment means you have a shot at getting your money back. If you’re a parent, in all likelihood, you will never see this money again. Once you send your check to a college, it is gone. That’s not an investment. It is a bill. And for most of us, it is the largest voluntary bill we will ever pay in our lives.

As a student, however, college is an investment. A college graduate will earn up to $1.5 million dollars more over the course of their career than a person without a college degree, so there is money to be made back, and then some. This myth depends on who is viewing the situation, and who is paying for school.

Myth 6: Financial aid is never negotiable

The Reality:

Young-couple-meeting-financialWhile the college financial aid system is largely formula-driven, financial aid administrators are permitted ‘Professional Judgment.’ That means that if they like you and believe you have a compelling case, they may be able to help you find more funding for college.

Work with your financial aid office. Be frank, open, and honest. Also, be prepared to state your case clearly, persuasively and politely, and be sure to come with documentation that evidences your need for more aid.

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Financial Aid Basics