May 1st is the National Decision Day for high school seniors to make their college decision. Congratulations on finding the right college fit! It has been a difficult task to narrow down the criteria of right environment, academics, and affordability. It is time to celebrate and take a deep breath. Both parents and students can enjoy the next few months of graduation, parties, and proms.
As we are always trying to keep you ahead of the storm, here are a few things to be aware of as you and your child transition into the world of college.
Here is a quick list for the college-bound student:
- Respond to your offer of Admissions
- Submit your nonrefundable deposit
- Decide on housing and food service by signing the service contract
- Sign up for new Student Orientation and take any assessment test required
- Make sure you submit your final high school transcript documentation
- Check your new college email and student portal regularly. Include your parents in the items that you are unclear. The colleges expect students to take ownership, not the parents.
Here is a quick list for the parents:
- Parents make sure your child is aware that financial information such as tuition bills, registration, and orientation deadline will be sent to them. They will need to keep you updated.
- Review your offer of admissions again. Any questions about loans or merit scholarships can be addressed to the financial aid office.
- If you haven’t completed a FAFSA, it is not too late to submit it. Families are not eligible for federal loans unless a FAFSA is completed.
- Parents should turn on the DRT FAFSA verification.
- Start investigating financing options if necessary. Your financing options will include federal student loans, private student loans, Parent PLUS and maybe a home equity loan.
For students and parents, the final bill for college will arrive sometime in late June or July. I am mentioning this so that families can review their paying for college strategy and start thinking about their payment options. Check with the college about what payment options are available and if they have any tuition installment plans. Some schools have payment plans that allow up to 10 payments in a year. The bursar’s office would be the place to start your inquiries. The first payment is usually due in August, so there is plenty of time to plan.
Congratulation again to both students and parents on making your decision. Remember to focus on the outcome of the college education. A college education is an investment in themselves and lays the foundation for their financial future.