Book Review: Paying For College Without Going Broke

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2010 Edition of Popular Reference Book Is Out

Recently, I reported that there are now 58 universities charging at least $50,000 annually to students or if the $40,000 threshold seems more reasonable, then 224 schools meet that “lower” criteria. Oddly, a number of educators believe that there is plenty of room for additional increases before a tipping point is reached, demonstrating just how out of touch some people in the academic world are to the financial pressures facing middle class America families today.

2010 Edition

piggy bankWell, not everyone is in denial as The Princeton Review just published the 2010 edition of their popular Paying For College Without Going Broke Guide (Random House/Princeton Review, October 20, 2009 $20). Written by Kalman Chany, founder and president of Campus Consultants, Inc., a company whose main mission is to help families get the most financial aid possible, this reference book should be picked up by every family with a college bound student.

No, Kalman’s reference book doesn’t make for light reading, but it does inform. In spades too.

Says Chany, “What most families don’t realize is that the most aid – whether it be in grants, scholarships or loans – goes to those who are savviest about applying for it, not necessarily those who are neediest.” That statement alone should be a wake up call for families with six figure incomes who think that they may not be eligible for any aid whatsoever. If you can save thousands off of the total college bill, then you’re already ahead of the game.

Key Points

Digging through the book you can find countless gems including the following topics addressed:

  • If you’re college aid package isn’t as generous as expected, you can still appeal for more aid. Chany offers tips on how to do just that.
  • Independent students, as well as single and divorced parents face challenges unique to them. Learn how to get the aid you need, no matter what your life circumstances may be.
  • Are 529 plans and Coverdells always beneficial? What about uniform gifts or transfers to minors? How will these schemes impact student aid? There are benefits and drawbacks for each.
  • With more students applying for aid, will your chances be restricted? Chany discusses federal and private student loans, with an emphatic warning to avoid the latter at all costs.

Deadlines Loom

Chany tells families to assume that they are eligible for assistance regardless of their personal income and academic performance. Though costs continue to rise at three times the rate of inflation, more aid may be given if your costs are higher.

Oh, by the way, the online version of the FAFSA form will be available beginning on January 1st while paper versions are available in late December by calling 800-433-3243. Consider adjusting your income accordingly before the year is out to maximum next year’s aid which will be based on this year’s income.

Source: The Princeton Review

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Categories: Book Reviews