Home » Education and Reference » College and University

Financial Aid Search Terms and 2 Cool Programs to Get an Early Start

Jan 19, 2008
Preparing for college this fall or in a couple of years? The list below covers basic terms and a couple of programs you should know about. The list isn't long, and you can get started on your financial aid search right away.

First, some basic terminology for you to start with:

1. Free Application for Financial Aid, or the FAFSA. Used to calculate your EFC and SAR. This application is the key to most forms of government need based aid, such as subsidized student loans, Perkins loans, Pell grants and the other government grants. Most states also use it for their in-state programs. Use the online form to save time.

2. Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. The FAFSA process calculates how much your family is expected to contribute to your educational expenses. The number may shock you - but that's why you read articles like this - to find more sources of financial aid!

3. Student Aid Report, or SAR. After you have filled out your FAFSA, you will receive a student aid report. It will indicate how much federal student aid you can receive in what types, meaning student loans and grants.

Once you know the terms, you can understand more of the financial aid sites and programs you see. Below I have written a brief intro to a couple of programs you can start before or during college. These require some planning, but offer a great way to get going if you still have some time left before you start.

529 Plans, which come in four varieties.
- First, your state can offer prepaid tuition. You lock in your college tuition cost with this one when you open the account.
- In the second alternative, you can save toward state tuition and get a tax deduction.
- Third and fourth, you can lock in and save toward tuition at a private school through the independent 529 program. Not all schools offer these programs. Talk to a financial planner or the school you want to attend to see what programs they offer and get started.

You'll want to start on this one young if possible. Also, anyone can donate or deposit to your 529, in case you have a grandparent that wants to help. Not exactly financial aid for today, but can help some people. You have 5 to 10 years to set this up, right? FAFSA not required.

Education IRA's are not the same as 529 plans. With the educational IRA, you save tax free, then you withdraw for educational expenses and hope you have made enough to offset taxes. But, like a 529, you need to start ahead of time to let the money grow.

You wouldn't consider this a typical financial aid program, but it does let you invest for your kids or your own future, and you can self direct. Self direction means you don't have to just buy a few mutual funds and bond funds offered in a typical fund. You could buy a couple of rental houses or hold second mortgages, for example, in a self directed account. To self direct, you will need to find a company that offers an account set up for it.

You can find many other financial aid programs and scholarships to apply to if you look. The above are just a few to get you started and help you think about the future. If you are going to school this year, you can probably already fill out a FAFSA, but you may need to have a school picked out, too.

If you have a couple of years, the programs above may help you or your family start saving for when you go. Don't worry too much. I left out the grant programs, where you might get money free. I also left out loans, where you can borrow some money during school then pay it back when you finish. You have plenty more to explore as you get ready to go to college.
About the Author
Need more info on grants and student loans in your financial aid search for money for college? Come to come to Beat-Tuition.com and download my free short report on financial aid
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 183
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources