Heidi Hamler, an independent college adviser in Napa, has announced four considerations that parents and students should know regarding paying for higher education.
Napa, CA – November, 2016 – The cost of getting a college degree has increased exponentially, leaving many students scrambling to come up with the tuition, or opting out of higher education altogether. Heidi Hamler, who offers college consulting in Napa, has announced four terms parents and students should consider while researching financial aspects of obtaining a higher education.
- Cost of Attendance (COA)
COA is the estimated full cost for completing a full academic year of college. COA includes tuition and fees, living expenses such as room and board, books and supplies, transportation costs, and miscellaneous personal expenses.
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
EFC is an estimated dollar amount that represents what financial aid formulas determine your family should be able to pay for one year of your child’s college education. All colleges use EFC figures in determining financial aid offers to students and their parent(s). Most families don’t know their EFC figures, but can determine them by using an EFC calculator. It is highly recommended that all families get familiar with their EFC figures. One of the best EFC calculators is on the bigfuture.org website:
EFC figures are primarily based on parents’ income and assets. Student’s income and assets, if any, are also considered.
- Net Price
Net price is the difference between the full price a college charges minus any eligible grants and scholarships a student might receive. Each college decides the net price it will charge a particular student. This decision is based on a student’s credentials, such as GPA, SAT and ACT test scores, any special talents, and extracurricular activities, as well as the parents’ income and assets.
A net price calculator (NPC) can be an invaluable tool to estimate a student’s net price to attend a particular college. Every college in the U.S. must provide an NPC on its website for families to use. It is recommended that all families run net price calculators for colleges they are considering. (Note: Some NPCs are more accurate than others. The more questions the NPC asks, the more accurate the net price calculations usually are.)
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
FAFSA is the online application form families must complete in order to apply for financial aid from the federal government. Families cannot qualify for any financial aid from the federal government without submitting this form. It is recommended that all families complete and submit the FAFSA, even if they don’t think they’ll qualify. FAFSA applications became available on October 1, 2016 and may be submitted now for the 2017-2018 school year.
Some colleges use the information from the FAFSA to award merit-based aid as well as need-based aid.
Merit-based aid is financial assistance in the form of scholarships largely determined by the student’s credentials such as GPA, SAT and ACT test scores, any special talents, and extracurricular activities.
Need-based aid is financial assistance determined by the family’s ability to pay. This aid may come in the form of scholarships as well as loan and work-study options.
Heidi Hamler believes that students and parents should not have to forgo a higher education due to financial concerns. She has dedicated herself to helping students navigate paying for college. For more information, please contact Heidi Hamler directly.
About Heidi Hamler
Heidi Hamler offers college consulting in Napa for teens and their families, and has helped hundreds of students reach their educational goals.
For more information, please visit: www.HeidiHamler.com