Help, I Need Money for College!                                     by Patti Brugman


I’ve talked about needing money and getting money in earlier blogs.  Needing money is not an easy reality to face. Many students apply all over the country, to any school they want because they are wonderful students who can pay for any college they choose to attend. There is certainly an advantage to “full pay” students, but there is another advantage to high achieving kids with financial need.  Schools will find these students and pay for them to attend.

The students who are in real financial need, are the students in between the rich and the poor. There is often a money gap between what a family is able to pay and what a college offers in aid. Many families are able to pay “something” for college, and many colleges are able to offer those same families “something” for attending. Often times, however, these two plans together don’t meet the full cost of college. So, in the case of a great acceptance and not enough money, who will pay the rest?  That cost is the family’s responsibility.

Getting money to fill that gap is not an easy task. The first step is to fill out your FAFSA forms now before the March deadline. By filing your important financial information, you will be opening yourself up to the college’s financial aid program. In addition, make friends with the Financial Aid Officers at your applicant schools. Check with them about their application deadlines. Being friendly and doing your paperwork are the best ways to get honest answers and the most bucks!

Another great way to help pay for the cost of college is through grants and merit scholarships.  Grants are something that the student applies for. Merit money is offered to the student from the college as an enticement to attend that school. Often, the amount of merit money offered is just what a family needs to make the price of college affordable!

Families need to look seriously at their ability to pay. If you have money in the bank that you are saving for retirement, home repair, or parent care, that money is going to be deemed fair for college tuition by the financial aid board. Far too often, we hear of families who don’t understand how expensive Dream College is compared to State U. Be careful when it comes to accepting the high price of education. There are other options. Don’t put your family or your student’s education at risk because you want the “big name” over a “great school.” Remember, the goal is education. A wonderful student can get that almost anywhere!