- FAFSA dates have just changed
Even if you think your family makes too much money to qualify for aid, most experts say you should apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) anyway, because colleges, state scholarship agencies, and foundations use the FAFSA when deciding who gets their scholarships, as well as how much each student will receive.
For students college-bound in the 2017-2018 school year (as well as students already on campus), there is an important date change: the application date was just changed from January 1, 2017 to October 1, 2016, and 2015 tax data must be used even if your income will be lower in 2016. Details here.
Students already in college should apply every year. And remember that school deadlines may be different from FAFSA deadlines.
- In terms of job prospects, college is more necessary than ever.
According to the Department of Education,“a postsecondary credential has never been more important” because:
- College graduates with a bachelor’s degree typically earn 66% more than those with just a high school diploma and are less likely to face unemployment.
- The average bachelor’s degree recipient will earn about $1 million more in their lifetime than those without a postsecondary education.
- By 2020, an estimated two-thirds of job openings will require postsecondary education or training.
- The cost of a college degree is high…second only to a home mortgage.
It’s no secret that college costs have skyrocketed. “College has never been more expensive…over the last three decades, tuition at four-year colleges has more than doubled, even after adjusting for inflation,” according to the Department of Education.
For the 2015-16 school year, the College Board estimated the average tuition and fees to be $9,410 per year at four-year, in-state public institutions. Room and board was about $10,000 annually. When you total various scenarios, the average cost of a bachelor’s degree ranges from $52,000-$130,000, depending on whether your child attends in-state or out-of-state, public vs. private university, attends community college first, and whether or not they have housing and food provided.
- Student debt is the highest in history
The average class of 2016 graduate will each college with a student loan of more than $37,172, the highest level of debt ever. Almost 71% of bachelor degree recipients will graduate with a student loan, compared with less than 50% two decades ago.
- Try NOT to sacrifice retirement for college
A recent survey of parents by HSBC Group found that 98% of U.S. parents are considering a college education for their child—and 60% would be willing to go into debt to fund it. And 37% of U.S. parents say their children’s education is more important than their own retirement savings.
Commenting on the findings, HSBC’s Global Head of Wealth Management said:
“The financial sacrifices that parents are willing to make to fund their children’s education are proof of the unquestioning support they will give to help them achieve their ambitions. However, parents need to make sure that this financial investment is not made to the detriment of their own future wellbeing.
“By having a financial plan to meet their family’s overall needs and reviewing it regularly, parents will be better placed to support their children’s studies without compromising on their own long-term financial goals.”
A recent segment on CNBC agrees: Watch here.