“The cost of college tuition has risen three times the rate of inflation, which is about a seven to eight percent increase annually.” There are also, “15% of students dropping out of college within the first year and only about 40% graduating in four years or less.” The financial risk of college is increasing. Lyle Higger and Carol King of Academic Financial Services presented all the major steps, statistics, and costs to consider when sizing up the price tag of college.
The financial aid process includes three main steps. First determine the EFC, or expected family contribution, then find how much of a family’s financial resources should be available to help pay for a student’s education. Finally, analyze financial aid packages based on what is offered, what is covered, and if the plan can cover your areas of interest or concern.
The workshop also taught attendees how to write to colleges to determine how much aid they are entitled to, “down to the penny.” It also included a college and career planning assessment tool to help students choose their major field of study and find which college would be best for obtaining the financial aid needed.
Higger, a counselor at Loara High School in Anaheim, has been a college aid coordinator for 12 years, a licensed financial planner since 1981, and has taught economics for 19 years. In the past he has helped “put kids in Harvard, Stanford, and Yale.”
Higger made sure to also state the importance of not only performing well academically, but being a well-rounded, involved student of the school and community in order to be competitive in college admissions by stating, “It’s not just your SAT or GPA, it’s your DID,” meaning what you did above and beyond what was asked of you.
Academic Financial Services, located in Fountain Valley, has been in business for 28 years, allowing many students to attend the college of their choice with financial assistance. 123college, its affiliate, has also been working on retirement planning, college funding, and financial aid since 1994.
Academic Financial Services also has an affiliation with Kaplan Co. which is known to provide SAT and ACT preparatory lessons, as well as books and online help. Higger added in regards to this affiliation, that taking both tests “will be worthwhile,” because while colleges are very interested in students with high SAT scores, they are also very interested in the ACT, another college aptitude test.