The best way for you to start your financial planning is to visit the counseling office at your school or the counseling office at the college you plan to attend. They can give you all of the information you need about applying for financial aid, tuition payment plans, and qualifying for student loans, scholarships, and grants.
Before receiving financial aid of any sort (loans, grants, or scholarships) you will be required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you are a dependent student (still supported by your parents), you will be asked to include financial information reported on your income tax returns and/or your parent's or guardian's income tax returns. You should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of the year you plan to attend college. Pay attention to any deadlines for when financial information due.
Advice for Parents
Saving for your child's education is an investment for their future. A college education can open the door to a world of opportunity. Over the past decade, the cost of attending a public university has risen nearly 51%. Saving, even a little at a time, can make a big difference, and the earlier you start, the better.
529 College Savings Plans
529 plans are tax-advantaged investment plans designed to encourage saving for future educational expenses of a designated beneficiary (typically a child or grandchild). The plans are named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code and are administered by state agencies. The tax benefits can include tax deferred savings, tax free earnings, and tax free withdrawals for qualified educational expenses. If the beneficiary chooses not to go to college, the account can be transferred to another family member. If money is withdrawn for reasons other than educational expenses, the account owner will pay income tax on any earnings and a 10% penalty. Contact your financial advisor for more information.
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