The following guest post comes from Beth Feinberg Keenan, Senior Manager of College Finance at College Coach and former Financial Aid Officer at Northeastern University.
The best part of my job is when I am able to help an employee. Families often spend years planning and navigating paying for college. Unplanned events can throw a wrench into their plans, and even employees who think they have the best plan in place may need additional college finance support.
Paying for College: One Employee's Story
Recently, I worked with an employee in the pharmaceutical industry who had designed a comprehensive plan for paying for college. Soon after college acceptances started to come in, however, he was diagnosed with an unforeseen illness, throwing his college payment plans into a tailspin. I recommended that this employee explain his special circumstances to the colleges his daughter had been accepted to, and, utilizing my experience as a former college financial aid officer, helped him draft a letter to his daughter's dream school, identifying the key facts that would highlight the necessity for additional funds. The letter emphasized his expected decrease in future income, medical expenses and his daughter's desire to be part of the incoming freshman class.
He submitted his letter to the college's financial aid office and the outcome of the appeal was very favorable. The school increased his daughter's assistance so that it included a full tuition scholarship, renewable for 4 years. Situations like this, where employees college payment plans are side-railed, are not uncommon, and College Coach finance educators spend a great deal of time with these families, talking about their particular situations, comparing financial aid packages and helping them appeal for additional assistance.
Financial Well-Being and Reduced Stress for Employees
In 2013, we worked with over 70 families to appeal financial aid offers, and more than half received additional funding. Over $120,000 was awarded in additional grants and scholarships. The average increase was about $4,000 per family for freshman year. Many of these increases are renewable, saving the average family close to $16,000 over the course of their child's education.
The senior year of high school is not only stressful for students, awaiting those college decisions. It is also a stressful time for parents, waiting for financial aid packages and hoping they have planned appropriately to pay for their child's college education. Many do not account for loss of employment, illness and other unforeseen circumstances in their college plans, and these unexpected events can cause working parents additional stress, taking time and energy away from the job while they anxiously search for a solution to their college funding dilemma.
The insider information that we provide at College Coach can help direct employees to additional funding opportunities quickly and easily, ultimately increasing productivity in the workplace and creating a sense of loyalty to the employer who helped their child achieve his or her college dreams when even the best laid plans have gone awry.