Preparing Your High School Senior for College
Preparing Your High School Senior for College
For many high school students, college is the next step after graduation. There are a lot of things to think about and prepare for. If you have a senior, TopLine and LSS Financial Counseling are here to give you some tips to help prepare them (and you) for college.
Learn about different types of financial aid.
There are a number of financial aid options available to students:
- Work study
- State aid programs
- Financial aid from schools
Studentaid.gov summarizes the basic eligibility requirements for different forms of federal student aid. Studentaid.gov also provides an info sheet explaining how to apply for student aid (FAFSA), along with the types of aid, eligibility and program details.
This form is used not only for applying for federal student aid; state higher education offices and schools you apply to use it to determine financial aid awards. Fill out the FAFSA form with your child right away to increase their chances of receiving the maximum amount of financial aid. Application deadlines for aid programs differ, and some colleges might have early submission deadlines. (During your child’s senior year, look for the form after October 1.) Filling out FAFSA can be tedious and complicated. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education has a step-by-step guide for filling out the FAFSA form.
Look for college grants/scholarships.
Applying for as many grants as possible can help minimize the amount you and/or your child need to borrow. Here’s how to find scholarships/grants to apply for:
- Check first with your child’s school counselor to look for local grants/scholarships. Ask the guidance counselor what grants may be available for your child from your state and local organizations. When a college has been chosen, the counselor can help find specific grants/scholarships for that school as well.
- Search online. Search online for scholarships/grants that include your child’s location, interests and even potential majors.
Know your student loan options.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of student loans: federal or private. Federal student loans are funded by the federal government. Private student loans are provided by a lending institution such as a bank or credit union, a state agency or the school that the student attends. Even though both federal and private loans serve the same purpose — helping pay for higher education — there are big differences between the two, especially in their repayment options.
Federal Student Loans
The most common type of federal student loans is “Direct Loans.” There are 4 types of Direct Loans:
- Direct Subsidized Loans, aka “Direct Stafford” or simply “Stafford.” Interest does not accrue on these while the student is enrolled in school.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans, also called “Direct Stafford” or “Direct.” Interest does accrue on the loans while in school.
- Direct [Graduate] PLUS Loans. These loans are for graduate or professional students.
- Direct [Parent] Plus Loans. These are taken out in the parent's name for the student's education.
There are several ways to repay federal loans:
- Time-Based Repayment Plans
- Standard Repayment Plan
- Graduated Repayment Plan
- Extended Fixed or Extended Graduated Repayment Plan
- Income Driven Repayment Plans
- Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
- Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)
- Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
- Income Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
Private Student Loans
Private student loans are basically loans from a bank or lending institution. As with a regular bank loan, there are few or no alternative repayment options, no Income Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans and no loan forgiveness. Unlike most federal student loans, the borrower’s credit rating can greatly affect the loan’s interest rate. If the student does not have an extensive credit history, they might need a co-signer on the loan. Unlike federal student loans, payments are generally not automatically deferred while still in school, although some lenders offer this.
Check out TopLine’s upcoming seminar!
Looking for more information on student loans? Join LSS Financial Counseling and TopLine for a workshop to learn how to knock out your loans and become a student loan champ!
In just over an hour you'll learn:
- The different government programs
- Payment plan options
- The rules for different types of student loans
- Qualifying for loan forgiveness
- And so much more!
Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Being a TopLine member gives you and your family access to up to six (6) free private and confidential financial education counseling sessions annually with a certified consumer credit counselor from LSS Financial Counseling. Sessions are available by phone, in-person or online. Contact LSS today for your free financial education session at 1-800-528-2926 or visit LSS online and mention you are a TopLine member.
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