Preparing Financially for College Without Breaking the Bank

Going to college can be a shock for anyone, especially with the inflating prices and the rising costs just to attend.

Before applying to colleges, families should know their Student Aid Index (SAI) number.

This was formerly called Expected Family Contribution (EFC), but the Department of Education just changed the FAFSA rules this year as part of the second COVID relief bill, and this name was one of the things that changed.

Families can go to the Financial Aid website to help them calculate this number. This number would then give families an idea of the minimum the government expects them to contribute per year for their child’s college education.

Now, for plenty of families, this SAI/EFC number is not a number they’re comfortable paying.

If this is the case, families will have to start planning how to save money to meet this SAI number – having a target number is vital during the saving process, or they can make plans to find scholarships that will help their students.

However, if the SAI number is a good number for families, i.e., a reasonable number that parents are comfortable paying each year, then students should apply exclusively to college that meet 100% of demonstrated financial need.

Many schools meet total needs. However, this will mean that parents will only pay the SAI number, no matter where the student is accepted.

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