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Many children look forward to going to the college of their dreams. It has been ingrained in them that the next step after completing high school is attending college. They think of all of the new fun, friends, and interesting courses that will surround them. While caught up in all of the appealing aspects of college, there is a crucial piece that most people don’t spend enough time (if any) thinking about – the financial portion.
Whether you or your child is in middle school, high school, or already in college, it is never too early, or too late, to talk about finances. The conversation does not need to be uncomfortable. Children should be well informed that their college decision will have a cost, and they should know exactly what that cost is. This is especially important if the student will be borrowing money.
Once accepted, colleges will usually send a financial aid package. The amount of financial aid can be determined by academic achievement, athletic talent, and/or family income, which is established based on the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is an important application you can fill out in an effort to get needed financial aid. Although the term “aid” may seem like the support is free, the money given may come at a cost. The package may include grants, scholarships, and/or loans. It is critical to know which aid will need to be paid back and which will not. Grants and scholarships generally do not need to be paid back, but there may be certain terms associated with each that the money can be contingent upon. Loans will need to be paid back. There are two main types of federal loans usually present in a financial aid package: direct subsidized and direct unsubsidized. With a subsidized loan, the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest while you are in school and for six months after graduation. With an unsubsidized loan, the interest will accrue during college and be added to the principal loan, to be paid back by the borrower.
Make sure to carefully read through your aid package and determine the actual cost of each school you or your child are considering. Remember, although there might be a lower amount to be paid for the year at the bottom of the offer, make sure to add the cost of loans that may be included that will need to be paid back, with interest, after leaving college.
High School Seniors: Get Ahead Sooner with Scholarships
Pittsford FCU is proud to offer college-bound high school seniors the opportunity to compete for scholarship awards. The Rochester Chapter of New York State Credit Unions will, once again, award a minimum of $10,000 in scholarships. Pittsford FCU will award five additional $1,000 scholarships, exclusively to Pittsford FCU member-applicants. The process is simple: students wishing to be considered for a scholarship can begin the application process on our website at PittsfordFCU.org/Scholarship. Applications are due by January 31, 2018. Get started today!