Many families with high school seniors have started and will begin to compare financial aid packages. Unfortunately, the early returns for aid now are not looking as generous as in past years.
Some believe that colleges are nervous about major changes regarding federal aid and the way it is distributed. Colleges may be concerned that in future years, they may have to dig into their endowments.
When financial aid letters do arrive, the different kinds of aid that make up the package can be confusing. There will be many questions, such as "What has to be repaid? What are the interest rates and terms for loans? Which items are renewable? What is the true cost with all the fees and living expenses?" And before families make their final decision, there are some critical things they need to know:
What is the TOTAL Cost?
Families need to look closely at the total cost of each college (tuition, room, board, fees, books, travel). They then need to subtract the amount of financial aid awarded to determine what the out of pocket expenses will be. Most schools will not include fees and living expenses on their award letters, thus the overall cost looks lower than it is.
What Has to be Repaid?
Families should not only worry about the total amount of their award. They need to know how much debt a student will graduate with; this should be a key factor in their assessment. So what steps should be taken?
First separate out money which does not have to be paid back, like grants, scholarships, merit awards and tuition reductions. Then make sure to check the terms of each portion of the package to determine which are renewable for future years. Next, look at the work study and loans. Side note: work study is paid to you throughout the year. Compare the amount of aid that does not have to be repaid across all your colleges. Then, look at the loans as a separate amount.
Appealing the Offer
What? Appeal? Most families don’t realize it, but you can appeal your financial aid offer. Colleges usually reserve 10-15% of their financial aid pool for appeals. Work with our consultants, and wecan guide you on how to appeal and ask for more money. Note: Colleges will offer more money in an appeal, but it will rarely be the full amount requested.
Filling the Gaps
For many students, even after an appeal, there will be a gap between what they can afford and what they receive in aid. In some cases, it can mean looking at outside loans. Ask the financial aid office at your desired college for their recommendations. They may have approved lenders with good interest rates on loans. Private scholarships are another option, but be sure to check the terms of your financial aid package before accepting outside scholarship money. You are required to report all scholarship sources to your college. Also, keep in mind that private scholarships are usually just for one year vs. college-based aid which will often be renewed. Lee Academia Consultants can guide you in scholarship searches and applications.
This week, Lee Academia's team gathered data from 2002-2013 and created this graph on the left. We can see the increased interest in U.S Colleges/Universities as more and more International students apply and seek LAEC's High School/College/Graduate School Counseling.
Lee Academia limits the number of students we work with, as we dedicate our expertise and professionalism in helping each and every one of our clients. In 2012-2013, we see a tremendous increase in our International Students (especially from China) applying to U.S. Colleges seeking our help during the Spring and early Summer term, thus limiting our availability for American students.
Here are sample services that we helped our International Students with:
The cost of a college education is one of the second largest financial investment next to purchasing a home. Currently, many private tuitions range between $180,000 and $250,000, and state governments have been decreasing their funding. Your financial decisions will benefit from our professional guidance.
As many students choose a college without adequate investigation and research regarding what the college has to offer them, research shows that one out of three college students leave or transfer to another college and five out of ten students require five or more years to earn a degree. Our objective assessment of the student’s needs at Lee Academia help us to use current research beyond website information to find the right “student-college fit”.
Many colleges have become more selective and Lee Academia's College Consultants understand what is needed for top students to gain admissions. However, finding the right college for the average or learning differences students is just as important. Many less competitive colleges have higher drop out rates and lower graduation rates, therefore it is essential we carefully place average students in appropriate educational settings.
High school counselors – both in public and private institutions – are so overwhelmed with student caseloads, federally mandated paperwork for special needs students, dealing with disciplinary situations, and scheduling courses. There is little time left for quality personal contact between counselor and the student applying to college. Guidance counselors will write a letter of recommendation, assemble a transcript, and include a student profile in the college packet – nothing more.
For more information and to contact us for a consultation: click here.
Whether you've been studying for months, or just realized that your March SAT is only two weeks away, speak to us about our 2 week study calendar to help you study smarter.
Here are the three steps to ensure you get your dream SAT score on March 8th:
So now, ace the SAT!
Some colleges were accused of violating the federal law that bars institutions from requiring student-aid forms other than the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, according to an investigation by Congressional Democrats.
111 institutions were identified that appeared to be establishing additional requirements for students to complete costly additional forms, such as College Board's CSIC/Financial Aid Profile. Of the 111 colleges identified, 58 of them explicitly stated that applicants must submit the Profile form to secure any financial aid. The other schools directed applicants to submit both the FAFSA and the Profile to obtain aid, though they did not specify what each form was used to assess.
While more than 200 institutions use the Profile to evaluate students' eligibility for institutional aid, they also asked for more detailed and complicated financial questions than does the FAFSA and students had to pay a fee to submit it. President of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said he doubted the colleges were withholding federal aid from students who had failed to complete the Profile, but he acknowledged that some of their websites could be clearer. He also mentioned that if there was a practice where schools would not award federal aid, then the schools should be held accountable. More likely it would need to be more clear on the consumer-information piece.
For more guidance and information about the FAFSA, tuition cost, or financial aid process, contact Lee Academia financial consultants can help. Contact us now.
As students are consulted by their Lee Academia Consultant and waiting to receive their College Athlete Game Report, here are the next 4 steps to prepare:
1. Develop your Initial Email correspondence.
2. Develop your Student Athlete profile.
3. Develop your Personal Video.
4. Organize your upcoming schedule to be included in your correspondence.
After receiving and understanding the College Athlete Game Report, here are next 4 steps to take:
1. Send out your finished email to your initial contact.
2. Be sure to respond to every correspondence you receive from the coaches.
3. Expand your contact list, as needed. Your College Athlete Game Report will only have 30-50 schools.
4. Master the college interview process... Be prepared to talk to college Face to Face.
Need Help developing your email, student athlete profile, and/or your video? Call Lee Academia @ 347-948-8863 for more details on these services. Get your College Athlete Game Report today!
By 2018, 63% of all job openings will require a post-secondary education.
In other words, almost 2 in every 3 jobs will be COMPLETELY CLOSED to you if you don’t have a college degree.
And considering that those with a college education make an average of 64% more than those who don’t...This fact should really freak you out.
If you haven’t started earning college degree, or if you took classes but never finished, the time to take action is NOW.
Lee Academia experts can guide you through choosing degree programs available, and help you qualify for government grants or scholarships.
With approximately 450 boarding schools in 2012 and tuition at these schools ranging from free (yes, free!) to well over $50,000 per year, many parents and students choose to go to boarding schools.
There are plenty of reasons why attending an independent school is a great idea. With boarding school experiences adding another dimension because it involves the student 24/7 for weeks at a time; the academics, athletics and extracurricular activities are interwoven into a student's schedule in a remarkably balanced way. So whether a coed school or a boys' school or girls' school is chosen, you will find a boarding school which meets your requirements. Additionally, you can find boarding schools that offer military training, educating students with learning differences and special needs.
Financial aid is given at several boarding schools with general financial aid packages.
Everyone boarding school is unique so ranks do not matter there. What does matter is finding the school which best fits the child. Find the right boarding school for a child is one of the most important and expensive decisions you will ever have to make, similar to the college process.
Parents and students can research thoroughly on their own, only to find that most websites look alike and very few give information on the profile of typical accepted students. Families who want the guidance often turn to independent educational consultants, like Lee Academia's Educational Consultants, who have worked with over 50 students and parents this past admissions cycle.
These professionals are paid by the families to advise them on the boarding school search and admissions process. Many offer full service comprehensive packages that span over a year’s time, and others have shorter packages or an hourly rate. A typical consultation will start with a focus on the student’s background and interest in boarding school; this includes a review of his transcript, testing, activities, interests, and academic successes and challenges of the past. Lee Academia's professional consultant will talk with the student and parents about goals for the future and what they hope to get out of the boarding school experience. We have given examples of schools that are nurturing or offer learning support, or those which give extra help to students when they need it. We discuss the pros and cons of the more rigorous schools, or might help a family decide whether to repeat a year. Lee Academia's professionals know the inside scoop on boarding schools, and they get this through their campus visits, meetings with admissions officers, and by seeing the successes of the students who they place at schools. We help families determine a list of schools to apply to, and this discussion customarily takes many months, but in certain cases can be done within one meeting.
For information or a consultation to see if boarding schools are right for you or your child, contact us.
Stay tuned to our success and admissions results, as they will be posted up on the website as we receive them.
The TOEFL Junior is a Standard Test of English created by ETS for young learners ages 11-15. With the ever-increasing number of young international students applying for admission to schools in the United States, this test meets the demand for an English language assessment. There are many types of institutions that can use the information provided by the TOEFL Junior tests to help make placement decisions or measure student progress in English: English-language programs, private middle schools, and schools in Non-English speaking countries.
There are two TOEFL Junior tests: Standard (launched in Oct.2010) and Comprehensive (launched in July 2012).
The TOEFL Junior Standard test is administered in paper-based format testing: Listening Comprehension, Reading Comprehension, and Language Form and Meaning. Each section contains 42 questions, and the approximate total testing time is 2 hours, with total score scales ranging from 200-900.
The TOEFL Junior Comprehensive test is administered on computer testing: Listening Comprehension, Reading Comprehension, Speaking, and Writing. Each section in Listening Comprehension and Reading Comprehension contains 36 questions, with each of the sections in Speaking and Writing containing 4 questions each. The approximate total testing time is 2:15 hours, with total score scales ranging from 140-160 in the Listening and Reading Comprehension sections, and score scales ranging 0-16 for each the Speaking and Writing sections.
For more information about this standard test or our TOEFL Test Prep Programs, you may contact us.
Contributed by Joyce Mei, Hunter College HS (Class of 2015)
We’ve heard countless times that the early bird catches the worm, but what happened to slow and steady wins the race? So in terms of applying for college, is it better to rush to submit our applications early? Despite the common belief among teens and their parents, there is no need to submit an application in mid-August when the deadline is in early November or December. It is better to have a more thorough and complete application that handing in an early, rushed application.
In addition, college admissions officers have admitted that they do not look at applications until they are “complete” with transcripts and recommendation letters from high school. Therefore, an application submitted in August will not be looked at for weeks until all the necessary paperwork is handed in as well.
Submitting in applications early also gives more time for students to worry about if they will be accepted into the college of their choice. Students now also have to stress out about if they filled out the applications correctly, if they wrote their personal statements to express who they are in the best way, and if they change their minds about anything in the upcoming months.
Once we hit “submit,” there is no going back. Therefore, take your time and make sure your applications are done right. For more information, contact Lee Academia experts.
Stephenie, having been a tutor/instructor/mentor since 1996, discovered her passion and founded Lee Academia Educational Consulting, LLC. after she left the dental and medical field. She loves teaching/mentoring and counseling her students. Her passion lies in educating others and helping them pursue their educational path. Today, certified in College Counseling and with more than 10 years of experience, Stephenie and her team continues to blog about current updated educational news and events.
Lee Academia Educational Consulting, LLC