50 Financial Aid Posts Every Parent Should Read

If you’re the parent of a sophomore or junior in high school, you know the trek down the road of financial planning for your child’s college career has already begun. Getting into college in the U.S. is more competitive than ever, whether you’re looking at Ivy League schools or top state universities. With that, the cost of tuition, residence and books are also rising, making financial aid a crucial step for many families.

Remember to let your teen do their own homework and exploring with financial aid, but be ready to approve and sign off on applications. It’s always best to get the ball rolling early to ensure your teen has their ducks in a row before they head off on their own.

Financial Aid Tips for Parents

Like students, parents should begin the financial planning for college as far ahead as possible, even if the bulk of tuition will come from financial aid. Explore FAFSA, scholarships and loans with your child and always have a clear idea of your bottom line, when it comes to savings and family contribution.

    1. How Financial Aid Rips Off Parents on the Coasts Apparently, the U.S. government isn’t taking into account high cost living areas such as San Francisco and New York City when opting how much to give a teen in financial aid for their college education. Read how cost of living calculations aren’t taken into consideration for financial aid.

    2. How to Apply for Financial Aid If you’re just starting out with the financial aid process, this easy-to-follow how-to will tell you everything you need to know about applying. It includes useful tips such as creating copies of all applications to keep for your own records.

    3. Making Community Colleges Work While not all community colleges will give your child a sub-par education, read why the industry is lacking and the changes that need to be make community colleges be seen in a new light.

    4. Mother, Daughter and the Delicate Dance of Decision-Making You may be reluctant to let your child go in their own direction when choosing a college. Know that you’ve prepared them to make such decisions in life and let them blaze their own course like the mother/writer of this informative article.

    5. The Value of College While many argue that jobs no longer require a college education, this article proves that your child may be able to get a job in the beginning, but that says nothing for their earning power in the long run. Learn why there’s still “value”in attending college.

    6. Our Family Makes Too Much Money for Financial Aid If you feel your income is “too much”that you shouldn’t bother with financial aid, think again. Depending on where your child is ultimately going to school will play a major factor in determining how much money they can receive in financial aid.

    7. FAFSA Questions Answered A simple breakdown of all of your burning FAFSA questions such as estimating your family contribution to your student’s tuition and how family sizes effects your application.

    8. FAFSA for International Students If your child is looking to go to school abroad, they can still fill out the FAFSA application. Make sure to explore the potential university’s financial program, as they may have allocated funding for foreign students.

    9. Easy Tips for FAFSA If you run into a problem with your FAFSA application, check this site for plenty of answers and easy tips that will make filling out the FAFSA application a breeze.

    10. Get Ready for College – What You Need to Know About Financial Aid If you open the FAFSA application and are inundated with questions from the get-go, look at this PDF file which serves as a Cliff’s Notes version of the application. It will help you better understand what the application is asking when it comes to word phrasing that may confuse you.

    11. Bike Bliss Bike commuting started as a weight loss plan for this active mother. It’s now turned into a way of life, proving that will power conquers all. Read this blog for inspiration when the going gets tough (and you need to get going).

    12. Community Colleges Provide Opportunity at a Bargain Price For all the jokes and mockery made of community colleges, how many have actually stepped inside a classroom at such an institution? This Wall Street Journal article tells of a normal day a community college in middle America and the lessons that can be learned for an education with a low price tag.

    13. Financial Aid Barriers There’s a reason people get scared at the notion of financial aid applications. See the reasons that financial aid is still an uphill battle for some and the improvements that can be made./li>

    14. 529 Boobytrap – Beware of Taxes On the surface, the 529 plan may seem like a smart idea, but be aware of the fine print. In the event you exceed the amount in the 529 for college expenses (and many families do), you’ll be subject to taxes and a 10% penalty.

    15. Economy Causes Panic Over Paying for School Whether you’re laid-off from work or simply started financial planning for your child’s college fund too late in the game, there are many roads to explore before you hit the panic button. Find out what to do and how to make it work.

Financial Aid Tips for Students

You’ve cared for your child for 18 years. The time has come for them to get their own hands dirty and get to work finding financial aid that will work for their college lifestyle. Of course, the less they have to pay back, the better, so be sure to thoroughly explain this to your teen as they seek out financial aid tips.

    16. Why You Don’t Need a Student Credit Card Credit card companies are all too happy to extend a hefty line of credit to a college student. This makes no sense since most college students aren’t employed and many won’t be for a few years. Read why you don’t need a student credit card to get by in college.

    17. Experiencing a Gap Year Maybe you think you have to have be a trust fund baby to take a gap year. Wrong! Taking a gap year is a great way to enrich your extracurricular activities, volunteer or earn money to utilize towards college expenses the following school year.

    18. Social Media Dos and Donts for College Students In the digital age, it won’t be strange for a scholarship representative to do a quick Facebook search to get a further feel for candidates. Learn how to keep yourself from becoming too exposed on social media sites.

    19. A Student Picks His Way Through Financial Aid Students should understand it isn’t the job of advisors and parents to get the financial planning for college done. This article demonstrates how one high school senior explored a few options and allowed financial aid to be a factor in his decision making.

    20. Financial Aid Easy Planner As a student explores the various colleges they may want to attend, this site has a key way of keeping up with expenses. Whether the student is with a parent or college counselor when they look into a school, this simple flow chart will allow them to access costs..

    21. 10 Financial Aid Tips A carefully executed top 10 list that’s easy to read and fairly simple to follow through with. Planning ahead is a student’s best friend when it comes to financial aid applications of any sort.

    22. The Hidden Costs of College If you think financial aid is going to stretch to cover all of these expenses, think again. There are many hidden costs in college, and that doesn’t include partying.

    23. The 4 Rules of Paying for College in a Recession While the down economy shouldn’t shatter your college dreams, it’s also important for students to understand the reality of the times and choose at least a few affordable schools, while still working hard are applying for financial aid and scholarships by the bundle.

    24. Get the College Preparation Checklist Parents and students should sit down together and examine this college prep checklist to be sure you have everything together when applying for financial aid.

    25. Financial Aid Top Tips This lengthy list runs down the basics of financial aid planning, but also hits on new tips like a student saving his or her own money for certain college expenses, what types of financial aid to apply for first and how to stay on track.

    26. Scholarships Set aside a Saturday or a Sunday to explore this website with tons of scholarships. Sort by state, grade level, major or sport. Realize there are thousands of scholarships to be had and there’s no reason you can’t qualify for one, as long as you plan ahead.

    27. Money Management Tips for Students Maybe your student knows how to manager their money, but this post gives you further instruction for a sound financial future. Remember students should always keep their Social Security number guarded at all times and be thorough with credit card and bank card statements to monitor unauthorized use.

    28. Money Saving Tips for College Students Being on a budget in synonymous with college. Learn tips that will let you have fun and have funds for the necessities while at university.

    29. 10 Tips for Getting More Financial Aid When what FAFSA is doling out isn’t enough, look to these helpful tips for generating more financial aid for your college education.

Financial Aid FAQs, Tips and Forums

Many financial aid applications have a slue of specific questions that can lead to confusion. Check financial aid forums for basic FAQs, as well as individual situations that may help you fill out your own paperwork with ease. If it’s your first time visiting a message board, don’t be afraid to ask questions, visit daily and make friends with folks who can help you with any hiccups you run into with financial aid.

    30. Forgive Student Loan Debt At this active site, you’ll find folks from all walks of life dealing with the one thing that binds many of us – student loan debt. Read about the movement to lower interest and forgive student loan debt all together.

    31. College Confidential This message board has a forum dedicated to financial aid, which includes links and thorough guidelines for several major scholarships.

    32. Student Financial Aid for College Keeping up with deadlines is half the battle when it comes to financial aid. This article tells you how and when to prepare for each phase of planning so things go smoothly and you aren’t frantic come the deadline.

    33. Saving for College Forum Parents can meet parents who are doing the same – trying to save for college. Learn about the 529 plan from those who’ve been contributing for years and get the skinny on state taxes and penalty fees.

    34. Financial Aid 101 Quick tips for juniors and seniors and how to get the financial aid train moving. It also includes tips for younger students, who want to begin examining their financial future regarding college.

    35. Financial Aid Tips Glossary When you sit down to fill out financial aid documents, you’ll see a lot of numbers that may make your head spin. Keep this glossary on hand to know what each number refers to in terms of paperwork you need to have on hand to complete an application.

    36. Tax Credits Yes, some of your child’s education is tax deductible. Learn about tax credits, what’s tax deductible and tax information regarding borrowing from home equity and your 401K.

    37. Scholarship Scams Sadly, there are people looking to take advantage of college-hopefuls who are green and eager for an education.

    38. Explore Financial Aid Options Read this site to figure out what may work for you when it comes to financial aid for college. This site delves deeper and discusses financial aid for grad school and military benefits.

    39. Understanding College Costs A simple breakdown of college costs and where exactly your money goes. This gives you insight that will allow you to plan appropriately and make smart financial moves for college funding.

    40. 529 Plan and Financial Aid If you have a 529 plan for your child, there’s a chance that the plan’s money will effect further financial aid. It’s a complex process that will also depend on the individual university’s rules, so read this post thoroughly to avoid confusion.

    41. Is Your Student Eligible for Financial Aid? Many parents aren’t sure what their student needs to qualify for financial aid. This post gives you a rundown of the things needed before you begin the financial aid process.

    42. FAFSA FAQs FAFSA FAQs and answers straight from the U.S. government. Explore who qualifies for financial aid from the government and how to handle the situation if you’ve been convicted of a drug offense.

    43. International Students Forum If your student is looking to study outside of the U.S., this forum will guide you through the right steps to take to seek financial aid and planning. This forum also discusses sponsors in other countries for students to study.

    44. College Financial Aid Guide Learn everything you need to know about financial aid at colleges across the United States. There’s also an extensive section on financial aid for minorities and disabled students.

    45. Financial Aid Forum If you have questions on FAFSA, student loans or anything in-between, this forum is a wealth of knowledge for those learning about financial aid for school.

    46. Financial Aid Calculators Maybe you have some personal funds socked away for your student’s college tuition. See how this money comes into play with financial aid, the 529 plan, savings or trust funds.

    47. Determining Factors for Financial Aid Read this article to better understand how financial aid is determined from student to student. It also includes helpful tips such as having your taxes done before sitting down to file FAFSA.

    48. An Introduction to 529 Plans If the funding for your senior’s college education is scaring you, remember it’s never too late to start a 529 plan for your younger children. Find out the facts on the 529 plan.

    49. Top 10 Tips for Planning and Paying for College From choosing a college that fits your personality and learning style to getting a head start on the financial aid process, this site is full of information students and parents can learn from.

    50. Types of Financial Aids There are several types of financial aid. Learn the difference between a scholarship, grant and the various types of loans to have a clear idea of the direction you want to go when seeking financial help for college.

Preparing for college and sharing the experience of financial planning with your child will be a great lesson in both responsibility and smart spending as they begin to (somewhat) fend for themselves. Remember to let your college-bound student ultimately make their own decisions, but do not be afraid to guide them along the way.