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Negotiating College Costs

Every year millions of high school graduates look forward to entering a college of their dreams. Often, acceptance letters do not equate to admission. Finances stand in the way of many children attending colleges that have already accepted them. Education, however, is a necessity; it is not a luxury. Financial aid encourages young adults to continue education without worrying about finances all the time.

One of the preliminary prerequisites for obtaining monetary aid for education is the completion of the online FAFSA (Free Application for Student Federal Aid). Filling out the FAFSA is generally a long and tedious process, which 123College handles completely for the family. Tax documentation of the family as well as W2s should be collected prior to FAFSA preparation. This aid form will request every possible financial detail about the parents of the student and the student herself. Federal requirements mandate that this form be completed between January 1 and June 1 of each year, beginning as early as the student’s junior year of high school.

Another step involved in the aid process involves the College Board. A CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile, also called the Financial Aid Profile, has to be filled out for certain schools and sent to the universities of the students’ choice. Most prestigious schools, such as New York University and Harvard, require the filling out of this profile. Colleges then request any additional information needed via mail.

Again, this is done via the CSS Profile. The College Board sets up an IDOC account for the student. 123College prepares and submits this on behalf of the students. Afterwards, the student can check the status of the materials sent in IDOC. The CSS Profile and IDOC requirements are not easy to fulfill without the type of assistance provided by college planner such as 123College.

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form allows a student to be eligible for quite a few kinds of college grants. Grants are financial aid awarded by the federal government. Generally, aid is awarded by the federal government, the state government, private universities, private colleges and public agencies. Also, private companies, corporations and foundations try to partially support a student’s education.

Amongst the college grants that are handed out is the Pell Grant. In one way, one can consider the Pell Grant to have been paid by the citizens of the United States. The amount handed out to each student depends on the student’s financial background, including the income of the student’s family. For the 2012-13 academic year, the maximum amount paid by the Pell Grant was $5,500.

If a student is awarded the Pell Grant and needs further assistance, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant comes into play. This Grant is reserved for the families with the lowest incomes. For students who graduated from high school with honors and have completed at least the first year of college, the Academic Competitiveness (AC) Grant is available. The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant is awarded to third and fourth year college students who would be unable to otherwise fund their education. It is a degree-specific grant.

Grants do not have to be paid back. However, student loans are required to be paid back. Nonetheless, most of these loans have little interest. The interest is also tax deductible for most people. Work-study is another way to help finance one’s way through college. This is one option that many students of undergraduate programs choose.

Another way to finance education is to apply for college scholarships. Scholarships are available to average students who have other talents, which are not necessarily academic. A GPA of 4.0 is not an absolute necessity for scholarships. Private institutions usually sponsor college scholarships. Philanthropists sponsor them as well. Different kinds of scholarships are available, even those for left-handed students!

The American Rhodes Scholarship is one great example of a scholarship. It chooses 32 intellectuals every year to sponsor. The value of the scholarship is a whopping $30,000. This trust even covers some adequate vacation and traveling costs for the scholars! The student is elected for two to three years.

The Coca Cola Company sponsors a program that allows eligible candidates to apply for 250 four-year scholarships based on achievements. Roughly 2200 students are selected as semi-finalists towards the end of the year from the applicant list. 250 final candidates are chosen. Each of these candidates is guaranteed to receive a minimum of $10,000. After a national selection committee reviews these 250 candidates, 50 special pupils are chosen and awarded $20,000 each.

After the students have filled out and submitted all the aid forms, sometimes the offers they get do not match their hopes or needs. This is when 123College comes into the equation. The main aim of 123college.com is to help all college-aspiring students. This website helps subscribers with preparation for board examinations, choosing a major and college, and minimizing that college expense.

Most importantly, this website helps to maximize aid eligibility. Once again, 123College helps pupils fill out the FAFSA, the CSS Profile and applications for scholarships. At 123College, aid officers cater to each family’s needs individually.

They let each family know about the colleges in their area and in any other part of the country and which school provides the best aid. They review the aid package given to students and send a response via mail to the family within ten business days. If the aid package is above average, the review tells the family how much more the student is getting and congratulates the student. If the aid package is below average, the aid officers fully go to bat for the family by first preparing a letter for the parents’ signature. The letter requests that the college offer aid up to the last penny of the total cost and asks for scholarships and grants too.

Choosing 123College to help with college decisions helps the child massively. The student receives a 75 to 90-page report talking about each and every individual aspect of aid according to income and assets.

For every aspiring college student or high school student’s parent out there, all aspects of financial aid have been explained. Now it is your turn to make the decisions wisely!