(BPT) – As 2023 approaches, many students will choose which college they will attend in the fall. For parents, there are a lot of questions and concerns about the college process, especially when it comes to costs, scholarships, and financial aid.
College Avenue Student Loans recently completed a survey to gain insight into parents’ stress, concerns, and priorities regarding their child’s college expenses. Read on to see six surprising findings from this study to help parents prepare their students for future success.
1. School fees are higher than expected by parents
Three-quarters of parents said school fees are more difficult to cover than in previous years and 71% found the true cost of education surprisingly high. In addition, parents often felt that tuition, tuition, and room and board were more than they had originally expected. Perhaps that’s why a third of parents said their child attended a school outside of their original budget. Starting conversations with parents whose kids are currently in college can help set expectations around affordability.
2. Complete the FAFSA and unlock free help
While 9 in 10 parents completed the FAFSA this year, a majority (61%) found the form difficult to complete. To help clear up the confusion, get all your paperwork ready and talk to other parents who have recently completed theirs.
Registration for the FAFSA is free. Even if you think you don’t qualify, it’s worth filling it out. Your family may qualify for merit aid (money that does not need to be repaid) and, at a minimum, federal student loans, which offer unique benefits, such as income-based repayment plans , compared to private student loans.
3. How families find scholarships
Students and their parents can apply for scholarships in several ways, but they may not know all of their options. According to the survey, 30% of students received scholarships and grants through their school’s financial aid program.
Families also found and received scholarships through the help of a college counselor or the financial aid office, an online scholarship search, a high school counselor, organizations community or local, friends and work. Although these methods have been used to a lesser extent, they provide more ways to pay for a college education.
If you want to help your new freshmen search for scholarships, you can use online tools like Scholarships.com. College Ave also has several resources to help you with the college selection process, including a college application checklistinstruction on how to apply for fassa and one $1,000 monthly scholarship draws.
4. Perceptions of Financial Aid Award Letters
When financial aid letters arrive in the spring, many parents have found the letters easy to compare. However, 74% of parents who received letters found that the family’s expected contribution to their children’s education was higher than expected.
It is likely that due to this higher than expected contribution, families will have to look for multiple ways to finance their students’ education, from income and savings to scholarships and student loans.
5. Preparing Students for Life Financial Skills
Before heading off to college, you need to make sure they have the skills to live independently. According to the survey, parents confirmed that their students learned several skills before college, such as cleaning, preparing meals and doing a job. The most common was opening a current and/or savings account (85%).
However, it seems that many students could practice other important financial skills. For example, only 48% had paid a bill, 26% had balanced a budget and 24% had understood the investments. For parents of prospective students, it’s essential that you help your children brush up on their financial skills before they start school in the fall.
6. Parent-to-parent advice
Parents who have already sent their children to college have valuable insight into the process. They recommend that parents of incoming freshmen encourage their children to apply for more scholarships, complete a FAFSA application, and be prepared for unexpected tuition fees.
Develop a plan to help your student succeed
Even after a combination of savings, scholarships, grants, and financial aid, students and their parents may find that they cannot cover the full tuition. To bridge the gap, you may need to consider student loans.
Use tools like College Ave student loan calculatoryou can estimate your future monthly payment and an easy-to-understand breakdown of the loan amount, repayment terms and interest rates.
If you already have kids in college and have taken out student loans, see how much you can save by refinancing a student loan using their student loan refinance calculator. To learn more about private student loans and other college financing tools, visit CollegeAve.com.