February 23, 2015 – Broomall, PA – Franklin Mint Federal Credit (FMFCU) and Clarifi, a nonprofit community resource devoted to Lifelong Financial Literacy, presented a free college planning seminar to parents with high school students at its corporate headquarters in Broomall.
The National Center for Education Statistics reported for the 2012–13 academic year, the average annual price for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board was $15,022 at public institutions, $39,173 at private nonprofit institutions, and $23,158 at private for-profit institutions. Charges for tuition and required fees averaged $5,899 at public institutions, $28,569 at private nonprofit institutions, and $13,766 at private for-profit institutions. This is a pretty hefty price tag for most families.
“Clarifi is an excellent resource in preparing parents and students for what is arguably one of the most expensive items in a person’s life – a college education,” said Allan Stevens, FMFCU vice president and chief credit officer. “It is key for parents and students to identify the true cost of an education, then develop a plan to make it happen.”
Knowing college costs are high and continually rising, determining the best way to pay this large expense can be intimidating. The workshop presented by Clarifi discussed true college costs, understanding financial aid options, and ways parents and students can minimize college debt.
One of the most important things to remember, it is never too late, or early to save. There are practical ways parents, family members and students themselves should consider to ease the financial impact of paying for a college education.
- Start an educational savings account for the college-bound student where funds can be deposited at any time—birthdays, holidays, or just because.
- Grants—often referred to as “gift aid.” Grants are free financial aid from federal or state government that are not paid back by the recipient, and are often need-based. The U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of federal grants to those attending four-year colleges/universities, community colleges and career schools.
- Scholarships are also gifts and usually merit-based, but not always. They are awarded by a number of entities—the college or university the student is attending, federal or state government, private or nonprofit organizations. Finding scholarships are relatively easy, but it takes time and commitment. There are scholarships for just about everyone, and for almost anything—creativity, motor skills, heritage. Most require the applicant to write an essay or story on a particular topic. For example, “If you were an ice cream flavor, which would you be and why?” Or, the applicant is asked to conduct an experiment and write an essay on what was learned, or the overall experience. Consider most scholarship deadlines occur during summer.
Check out these sites for scholarships and grants: