Saving Employees Money with Early College Planning

Many working parents wait until their child's senior year of high school to think about how they're going to pay for college. Who can blame them? Parents are busy. Between work and family commitments, it's easy to let college planning slip through the cracks. Plus, money is a stressful subject, particularly when you find yourself coming up short. When that first semester's tuition bill arrives, most parents do. Unfortunately, delaying college planning can cost a family thousands of dollars in financial aid.

As former MIT and Babson financial aid officer Robert Weinerman recently explained, 'I learned very quickly that the earlier a family thought about paying for their children's education, the more likely they'd be able to plan without too much financial stress.

Three College Planning Strategies to Save Money

Robert identifies three unique strategies that families can implement, as early as freshman year of high school, in order to maximize financial aid opportunities and minimize out-of-pocket costs:

  1. Liquidate assets prior to the base year examined by colleges to avoid artificially inflating income on the financial aid application.
  2. Identify potentially winnable outside scholarships early in high school, and spend remaining years making yourself the ideal candidate for such scholarships.
  3. Identify scholarships opportunities from colleges of interest, and build academic or extracurricular profile to become a recruitable candidate at those colleges.
Read Robert's full piece on how to prepare for financial aid as a high school freshman here.

Strategies to Get More Financial Aid for Employees

College Coach's finance educators, all former financial aid officers, spent years working with parents who waited too long to start college planning. We saw exactly how this delay cost families thousands of dollars in financial aid and built up unnecessary stress and anxiety within the family. We are now so happy to bring our experience to College Coach, where we can counsel families early on in the college planning process, particularly in our Spotlight Series program, Early Strategies for Getting More Money. In this program, we provide employees with an early understanding of how need- and non-need-based financial aid works, in order to help working parents secure larger financial aid packages for their children. The program reviews:

  • How income and assets affect financial aid, including the timing of investment decisions
  • Why to consider the timing of payments by people outside the student's custodial household
  • How early searches and planning can improve a student's chances of winning outside scholarships
It's challenging to find enough money to finance a degree. But with access to an employee benefit like College Coach, families will find the college process much more manageable ' and that can make all the difference when it comes to their work performance, loyalty, and more

Written by: Shannon Vasconcelos

About the Author

Shannon works with Bright Horizons Education & College Advising corporate clients to deliver college financing workshops and provide personalized counseling to employees. She has over 10 years of experience in student financial assistance, at Boston University and Tufts University, and has also served as an active member of MASFAA’s Early Awareness and Outreach Committee, as a trainer for DOE’s National Training for Counselors and Mentors, and as a volunteer for FAFSA Day Massachusetts.