Additional Resources to Cut College Costs
FAFSA Form: I understand that most families think they make too much money so it’s pointless to fill out the FAFSA form, but I still suggest you to fill it out AND seek out help when completing this form. I’ve seen college planners help families that made over 6 figures annually to receive some need-based financial aid from colleges by “protecting their assets” (moving assets into places that the FAFSA form doesn’t require you to list). *Remember you have to fill this form out each year around January 31st.
For FAFSA form help, I highly recommend Luanne Lee. The consultation is free so it won’t hurt you to at least see if she can help you.
Financial Planners: can come up with creative ways to save you money. I know of one financial planner, Lamont Baxter, that made a genius suggestion for a parent that couldn’t get need-based financial aid through the FAFSA form because his business generated too much income. Lamont suggested that he put his daughter, who was in college, on his payroll for the amount that the father would have to pay for her tuition. Doing this, the business was able to save a significant amount of money on taxes, thus saving money on the daughter’s tuition.
Lamont Baxter, certified financial planner
work: 301-907-9030 ext 1337
SAT or ACT Test Prep: As you’ve seen in week 6, your GPA’s and SAT/ ACT scores can really help you receive automatic merit scholarships from schools. If you need help increasing your SAT/ ACT scores or your GPA, I highly recommend Shuy or Nikkee.
Save Money on Out-of-State Tuition: A friend of mine went to a public college that was out of her state of residency. She found out that in order to be considered an in-state resident, all she had to do was open up a bank account in the same state as the school. She saved $10,000 each year just by opening up that bank account.
So if you want to save money on college costs, but your child still wants to go to a college that’s out of your state of residency, ask the financial aid office for the requirements to be considered as an in-state resident and see if you can find a way to qualify.
A lot of colleges will require you to live in that state for a specific amount of time like 18 months or 2 years. In that case, you might want to look at getting an inexpensive off-campus apartment with roommates for your child (this can end up being cheaper than the cost of room and board). This way, you can receive in-state tuition for at least the last 2 years of your child’s college education.
Note: Private colleges cost the same amount for in-state and out-of-state residents. This only applies for public colleges.
Save on the Cost of Textbooks: My 1st semester of my freshman year, I spent $500 on mostly used books at the college’s bookstore and sold them back (barely touched) for $100 at the end of the semester just 3 months later. After that day, I vowed never to do that again.
The next semesters, I used eBay and Amazon to purchase all of my books and only spent $100 per semester. The best thing was at the end of the semester, I sold them back on eBay and Amazon for $100.
In order to do this, give yourself about 1-2 months before the semester begins to gather all of the ISBN numbers which are found on the back of the textbook by the bar code. You’ll also want to write down the title, edition, and author of the books to make sure that you have the correct one. Search using the ISBN number to get the most accurate results. (It’s okay to get the international versions of books because they are exactly the same as the regular versions in terms of the content. The only difference is a couple page numbers may be slightly different.
You can also rent books or borrow them from the college’s library. A friend used to borrow books from the library so it was free, however, to me it seemed like a hassle having to keep renewing and checking the book out.
Save on the Cost of Room & Board: If you live close to the college, consider having your child commute. It will save a lot of money (about $10,000 each year) by eliminating room and board costs.
Or, you can be a Resident Assistant (RA) where you work in your dorm hall in exchange for free room (and sometimes board too). Ask your current RA how did (s)he get to become an RA to find out the criteria for your particular college.
You MADE it! You have all of the tools that you need to win scholarships and reduce college costs. Keep up the good work and keep applying to scholarships all throughout your college career!