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Help With College Costs

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Ok, ok. You young’ens don’t want to hear about what college cost back in the “old days,” or, in my case, the '70s. It’s like hearing your grandfather talk about the price of gas, or parents talk about buying their first home for $6000 and a sofa.

But, I can’t resist. So I’ll say it. Yale University - yup, that fancy schmancy college that saves money on paint by letting ivy grow up the dorms - cost me $7800 in 1973! That’s for everything. The whole year, including air fare back home to sunny Chula Vista for Christmas, where I tried to explain a bagel to my folks.

So what financial advice do I have for today’s college-bound kids besides marry rich or learn to love the outback? Here‘s some tips that I picked up from doing the story about the Royal family - the ones in the O.C. not Buckingham Palace - who were smart enough to start early and go to a college advisor at a great non-profit called Get College Funding.

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  1. Start planning in your Junior not Senior year. That is, choose your colleges, start learning about federal and state loan programs. This will give you and your parents time to adjust finances so they’re in the best position to qualify for aid.

  2. Don’t accept unrequited love. You may fall in love with a brand-name school like Cal, Stanford, and USC, but that doesn’t mean they will love you back. Be open-minded. What’s really important to you? There’s as much variety in colleges as there are proms dates. And the right one who likes you will very likely offer much better financial aid.

  3. If your folks are going through tough financial times, take advantage of need-based financial aid. The basic rule of thumb is that for every $10,000 drop in family income, there is a $3000 drop in the amount they are expected to contribute to college. So try to make the most of a tough situation.

There are dozens of other tips and important at get Get College Funding. They also have a nifty downloadable program that will very accurately predict the all important Expected Financial Contribution (EFC) from your folks. The site also features many webinars that could save you tons of $$$.

Onward and upward you young-ens. And best of luck.


Val Zavala

Anchor, SoCal Connected

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