The article linked above, Maximizing Your Aid Eligibility by Mark Kantrowitz contains a wealth of information about collegiate financial aid, its calculation, and most importantly outlines several strategies to help maximize a student’s eligibility. These strategies deal mostly with the attainment of government student loans and access to work-study programs. Access to these resources is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculated from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). With careful financial planning, families can significantly increase a student’s access to need-based student financial aid by lowering their EFC. Some of the best ways to accomplish this include;
- Holding assets in the parent’s name, rather than the child’s, even if it has already been determined that the funds will be used for education.
- Maximizing contributions to retirement funds in the years before and during school.
- Accelerating necessary expenses such as home repairs, car purchases, computers, etc to reduce available cash.
- Prepaying a mortgage.
- Carefully choosing the date to submit the FAFSA.
These are just a few of the examples outlined in the article. For more strategies, and a full explanation of how they work please visit the link below.