Written by: Gregg Cohen, President and Founder of Campus Bound
Ever since I started Campus Bound over 20 years ago, I have been passionate about helping people navigate and decipher the complicated financial aid process. Assisting families with various ways to make college costs more manageable has always been a meaningful part of my job.
The financial aid process is going to look A LOT different this year. For the first time in decades, there will be major changes to the FAFSA form, language, and formula. Campus Bound will be taking a look at these seismic changes in a five-part blog series over the next few months. Today we’ll review some of the common terms in the financial aid vernacular that will be changing and how these changes affect you, the consumer.
New, Limited-Time Offer- Aid Eligibility Assessment
In the process of developing and finalizing a well-rounded college list, financial considerations can be one of the most complicated pieces. Many colleges offer need-based grants and merit scholarships. However, understanding how much your family will receive is perplexing. There are potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake but to say that colleges lack transparency is an understatement! Adding to the challenge for students is that they have to narrow their potential targets without knowing what the costs will be until much later in the process.
Could you imagine walking into a high-end car dealership with no idea if the price of the car is going to be $60,000 or $30,000 until after you have done the test drive, talked to the sales manager, and done a credit check? Well, that’s somewhat like what the college financial aid system is like except it can be multiplied by 4-5x of those amounts or more for the 4 years of college.
A question we receive often at Campus Bound is from families wondering what the best ‘strategy’ is for applying for financial aid. When you google financial aid strategies you are inundated with personal opinions about the financial aid process. Some of these articles are curated by professionals with years of experience in the field while others are written by individuals without credentials. Either way, it can be hard to know who to listen to and what information is valid.
By Gregg Cohen, Campus Bound Founder and President
At Campus Bound, we believe that finding a college that ‘fits’ each individual is extremely important. There are 3 core areas to determine if a college will position a student for a successful college journey and beyond. The first two – the academic program and non-academic factors such as size, geography and school culture, tend to get a great deal of attention and discussion. The third, the financial fit, often times does not receive the due diligence it deserves.
Many students and families will face a waiting period after college admission applications have been submitted and before the admission decision has been rendered. This is a perfect opportunity for families to familiarize themselves with the financial side of the college selection process and begin planning on the financial commitment to come.
“I don’t think I’ll get anything, is it even worth it?” I receive that question often this time of year. Financial aid applications have been compared to a root canal so it’s not exactly something one would choose to do unless it was going to have some benefit.
By Campus Bound Founder, President and Financial Aid Lead, Gregg Cohen
I’ve heard people use the expression that being a parent can bring some long days but short years. The time can fly and there is no way to slow it down. Having helped thousands of people with the financial side of college, I know that many feel the same way about the prospect of paying for college. Generally speaking, this isn’t a deadline you can move. Unlike your retirement, where you may decide to delay a couple of years or get a second job, the first college bill will come quickly, in the summer after high school graduation.