By Brandi Schunk
Webinar 1 of 4 - Oct 5, 2022 Financing College (Recap)
With hosts Nikki Vachon from Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and Angela Hurd from Homeschoolers of Maine (HOME)
Today I had the joy of attending the first of four educational webinars geared towards families with college-bound students. I highly recommend registering for this and the remaining three webinars (see link following article) to capture the full scope of information that was offered. In the meantime, here is the highlight reel from today.
With rising costs of living, how to pay for college is a topic on the minds of many families with college-bound students. HOME and FAME have partnered to bring you all the information you need to know for financing college. In this simple, easy-to-follow, 40 minute webinar, Ms. Vachon went through the basic 3 steps for funding higher education.
Step 1: Get ready. Step 1 is really a series of small steps to be completed. Each college has a “Net Price” calculator to help you know the true cost of education with them. Use these numbers to help figure out how much aid you may need. She recommends applying to at least 3 schools so you have options. Research and stay aware of deadlines and forms that each school requires. FAME has an easy downloadable form to help you track all of this information for the schools of your choice. You can apply for scholarships all year, even while you are still in middle school. See UCanGo2.org for a list of scholarships. Start saving now. A NextGen529 plan may be a good choice. Setup an account at StudentAid.gov and get your FSA ID to have ready for applying to colleges and for funding.
Step 2: Apply. Start at FAFSA.gov to begin your application for college funding. FAME has a checklist to help you keep track of all the details.
Step 3: Follow up. Review and correct any information at FAFSA.gov. Colleges you apply for will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR) with funding options available to you, including the best loan option. FAME has a worksheet to help you review and compare costs and financial aid offers.
Ms. Vachon then briefly discussed some options and ideas for when/if financial aid isn’t enough.
For students graduating from high school or earning their G.E.D. in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023, Maine is offering a free community college, including two years of free tuition for qualifying students and programs. Many students find that starting at a community college and then transferring to a college of their choice after the first year is a great track for saving money. Make sure you are communicating with both your community college and future school to ensure that you are following the right academic path.
FAME has many resources to support your journey to higher education, including checklists for high school juniors and seniors, and a booklet with the best tips for funding higher education. All of their resources are free, including their virtual and in-person help sessions.
For more information, visit the web links below:
www.FAMEmaine.com - videos, tips, calculators, help session registration, etc.
www.FAMEmaine.com/affording-education - extensive information for all ages
www.FAMEmaine.com/join - get updates on information relevant to you
This was the first of a series of four informational webinars on getting ready for college, brought to you by Homeschoolers of Maine.
October 5* at 1:00pm - Financing College
October 12 at 1:00pm - Writing the College Essay
October 19 at 1:00pm - Applying to College
October 26 at 1:00pm - How to Ace the SAT and Get Free College
*Note: recordings of past webinars may be accessed via registration below.
For more information and to register, visit HOME’s website.
Brandi lives in Downeast Maine where she homeschools her two children on their small homestead. She works jobs both from home and outside of the home helping to support her family, and is an independent health coach giving people all across the nation access to vibrant health. She enjoys hikes in the woods, sunsets over water, and watching home renovation shows with her husband, Tim.