NEW YORK, NY, Feb. 4, 2015 /CNW/ - According to the CollegeBoard, a not-for-profit college organization that connects students to success and opportunity, about 60% of 2013 graduating college seniors left school owing close to $30,000. So during February, which is Financial Aid Awareness Month, First Investors would like to help parents reduce the amount of student debt their children carry by taking advantage of all the financial options available to assist them.
"Today, there are many ways to pay for college, including savings, investments, 529 college savings plans, scholarships, work study programs and financial aid," according to Paul Prete, Vice President, for Retirement Programs at First Investors. "The best advice we can offer parents is not to wait for the last minute. You should create a strategic plan when your child is still young, so you know what type of college you can afford and exactly how you're going to pay for it," he said.
"Financial Aid Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to really examine what types of aid are available and how to access them," says Prete. "You should make a list of what types of aid you may be eligible for when your child is a sophomore in high school. Knowing what you could apply for, what the requirements are, and what the deadlines are, will pay off in the long run."
You can obtain financial aid from the federal government, the state where you live, the college you are applying to, as well as a variety of non-profit organizations, charities, and corporations.
There are many different types of financial aid, including:
- Grants—aid that doesn't have to be repaid, and is typically based on financial need.
- Scholarships—awarded based on a variety of factors and interests, such as sports, academic history, ethnicity, or religion, and is not repaid.
- Loans—money that must be repaid with interest
- Work study—a part-time job you secure, typically on campus, to help pay your expenses.
There are so many places to find money for college; you just have to know where to look. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) provides over $150 billion in grants, loans and work study funds each year to eligible students. The experts at First Investors can explain the best way to navigate this financial aid landscape, saving you valuable time and helping you pinpoint which options are best for your child.
First Investors can also help you with long-term investment planning, estimating college expenses, and opening a 529 college savings plan. Authorized by Congress in 1996, 529 college savings plans allow parents and grandparents to save for their children's and grandchildren's college education in a flexible, tax-advantaged investment. Assets grow tax-deferred, so no federal income tax is due on any earnings while invested, plus withdrawals are federal income tax free when used to pay for higher education expenses.
Take advantage of Financial Aid Awareness Month this February by sitting down with your Representative and creating a complete college needs analysis. He or she can teach you everything you need to know, regardless of the age of your children.
If your child will be attending college in September, you should complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) now. To get started, go to the Federal Student Aid website at https://fafsa.ed.gov/.
About First Investors
First Investors is a diversified financial services company helping everyday families reach their financial goals, offering solutions such as investment products, and life insurance as well as strategies spanning saving, investing, education funding and retirement. First Investors Corporation and First Investors Life Insurance Company are subsidiaries of First Investors Consolidated Corporation. All securities products are offered through First Investors Corporation. To learn more about First Investors please visit us at: www.firstinvestors.com
For 140 years, Foresters™, an international financial services organization, has fulfilled its purpose to enhance family well-being for its members and the communities where they live. A fraternal benefit society, Foresters offers quality life insurance and investment products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. Foresters shares its financial strength with more than one million members in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Foresters has assets of $10.5 billion, total funds under management of $25 billion and a surplus of $1.7 billion (all figures in Canadian dollars as of December 31, 2013) and maintains an "A" (Excellent) rating by A.M. Best1. Foresters subsidiary Foresters Life Insurance Company's rating is "A-" and First Investors Life Insurance Company, also a Foresters subsidiary, received an "A-" rating. For more information, visit foresters.com.
Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark.
1 An "A" (Excellent) rating is assigned to companies that have a strong ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders and have, on balance, excellent balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile when compared to the standards established by A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best assigns ratings from A++ to F, A++ and A+ being superior ratings and A and A- being excellent ratings. In assigning the ratings for The Independent Order of Foresters (Foresters) and its subsidiaries Foresters Life Insurance Company and First Investors Life Insurance Company on July 2, 2014, A.M. Best stated that the outlook for all ratings is "stable", which means they are unlikely to change in the near future. See ambest.com for the latest ratings.
SOURCE First Investors Corporation
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