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Thinking About Financing Your Higher Education
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Thinking About Financing Your Higher Education

Okay, Junior and Senior students … the time to become active in your future is now, and part of that means you’re probably thinking about your plans after high school graduation.

Do those plans include any form of higher education? We are hoping so, especially since that’s what SoMD CAN is all about – access to higher education. And since your plans do include higher education (4-yr college, community college, tech or trade institutions), you have to start thinking about how to pay for it all.

I know that we have said this over and over, but you have to realize that SoMD CAN is run by a bunch of MOMS … And this is what we do best – continue to remind our students about what has to be done. Yes, you could say that we are superior at nagging you until we get some results.

The results we want to see before Winter break is that each participant of SoMD CAN has been to a Financial Aid Night (FAN) hosted by your home school. If you can’t make the FAN at your home school, then by all means attend another in your area. SoMD CAN’s Executive Director is the presentor at all High School FAN’s in the tri-county region. So if you miss one – there’s sure to be another one during that week or the next in your county. Just take a look at the calendar at the bottom of this blog page, and the dates are posted. Or you could visit our STILL “under construction” website atwww.somdcan.org .

What are you going to learn at the FAN? You’ll learn about the forms that need to filed and the reason you are actually filing them. And don’t get caught up with the excuse of “why bother? I won’t get any money anyway”. You don’t know that absolutely 100%. Actually, if you are interested in applying and receiving the Federal student loan called the Stafford, you have to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). See – there is a reason to complete the forms!

You and your parent/guardian (this would be a nice time to ask the adult in your life to accompany you to a very informative evening!) will also learn about what college’s really cost and some of the cost that are variable and those that don’t change for anyone.

We’ll discuss how different colleges, from public universities to small private colleges, offer financial aid. It’s pretty interesting once you learn that the school you may be interested in will only meet unmet need by 69%, while the college you thought was way out of reach will meet unmet need by 100% (with 71% of that in the form of grants/scholarships). I won’t tell you which is which – might give you an incentive to attend the FAN.

There’s a lot of information out there, and if you ask the neighbor or the kid in the chair next to yours, they may have an answer for you; but is it accurate? There are plenty of misconceptions and myths surrounding Financial Aid and how to finance a higher education. Take an hour and a half to attend the programs that your high school hosts every year. Don’t think because you heard it last year that you’ve heard it all. Federal regulations change almost DAILY, and with that the way Financial Aid is distributed and awarded.

I hope to see full houses at the high schools in the next two months. SoMD CAN has 15 FANs between now and December 18th. Don’t miss out!

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