College Planning Network │Scholarships & Grants Pay College
The once generally accepted tradition of Mom and Dad footing the bill for a child’s education and other accompanying costs is quickly diminishing, say experts such as those at the College Planning Network. Current trends show that more and more students are looking into other outlets to either substitute or supplement the big bucks that parents were traditionally expected to cover.
The issue is not that parents are no longer invested in their children’s futures or unwilling to help financially, say experts in the area of college planning and funding such as the College Planning Network. The problem is that many families today are having a difficult enough time trying to make ends meet, let alone come up with the thousands of dollars needed to not only cover tuition, but also everything that goes along with it such as room and board, textbooks, and school supplies.
While the economy may be picking up, it is not picking up fast enough. As college tuition fees continue to skyrocket, household incomes seem to remain the same, or in some cases, even decline, due to factors such as job loss. Although many parents still do what they can to help out in the hopes that their children will have a brighter future filled with opportunities, sometimes all they have to give just is not enough, leaving it up to students to search for other avenues of financial assistance to make it through college.
College Planning Network Recommends Applying for Grants and Scholarships to Cut Costs Both Now and Long Term
While the outlook may seem bleak to some, experts say that there is no reason for students to feel their college aspirations are hopeless. There are numerous ways to help fund one’s college career, and among those ways are federal financial aid, scholarships, and grants. Unlike student loans, which must be paid back after graduation, scholarships and grants do not have to be repaid. Experts strongly advise students as well as parents to use all the available resources, such as the SET For College Solution that College Planning Network has mapped out for parents of college-bound families, to learn about the various types of scholarships and grants.
CPN, for example, helps students to discover which merit-based scholarships they may be eligible for, as well as giving them estimates of how much “need-based” financial aid they will receive from various schools. That way, students and their families can be prepared early on and determine which schools would be in both the student’s and family’s best interest economically, since some schools award significantly more financial aid than others.
They will also be better equipped to plan and budget for the impending school year, and calculate costs in addition to tuition, such as housing, if the student plans to live on campus, or in an apartment near campus. Other factors that need to be considered in determining costs are the geographic location of the intended school or schools. Will he or she be going to the state university that is only an hour away? Or is the first choice school out of state? What does that particular school charge for out-of-state tuition? Approximately how much money is needed to cover moving expenses, and what is the average cost of living in the area?
However, students should not feel that they should necessarily give up on their dream school, or one that may be better suited than others to help them achieve their specific career goals, simply because of financial concerns. The wealth of online resources available today makes it much easier for students to find a wide range of various scholarships and grants tailored to specific needs and situations.
An added benefit is that there are resources out there that provide tips, counseling and advice for obtaining such awards, whether they are based on need or merit. The College Planning Network, for instance, has experts in the industry available to help students and parents fill out their FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, an absolute must for anyone considering entering college, regardless of household income or situation.
Many prospective students are swayed from applying because they feel that they either make too much, or that their parents make too much, to qualify. However, according to the College Planning Network, this is a common misconception that too frequently costs bright and capable individuals from fulfilling their dreams and living up to their full potential. The FAFSA and other financial aid forms such as the CSS Profile not only enables students to determine if they qualify for aid based on financial need, it is also often times necessary and required for those seeking grants and scholarships based on merit, regardless of household income or situation.
Nevertheless, it is important for students and parents to set realistic goals when it comes to funding education and acquiring money for living expenses and other related costs. Once a student and his or her family have determined what they can reasonably afford without putting too large of a dent in the bank account, they can then more accurately develop a strategy for paying for college, room and board, and additional necessities, like groceries and gas or bus fare to and from campus.
It is also important for the family of a college bound student to factor in the monthly living expenses for the rest of the family, and calculate costs such as mortgage or rent, car payments, utilities, and other bills. As the College Planning Network and other industry experts continue to emphasize, smart and sensible planning is the first step for prospective students to make their dreams a reality.
The College Planning Network has revolutionized the industry with their unique and innovative approaches, such as their flagship SET for College Solution, which allows the families to navigate through the whole process from financial aid to admissions. For more infotmation visit College Planning Network on Segment