Sophomores and Financial Aid: What you need to know this academic year

Sophomore year may seem a bit early to be planning for funding college, however, understanding your financial aid picture early can save you down the road.

Step 1 – Review financial aid strategies to include the following

  • Expect the minimum cost of attendance to at least being that of your state’s flagship university.  2018-2019 cost estimates below
    • University of MD College Park – $30,789
    • Frostburg State University – $20,944
    • Salisbury University – $20,714
    • Towson University – $24,702
    • UMBC – $28,112
  • Consider a private college – Private colleges that provide generous merit or need-based giving plus graduate the majority of students in 4 years can be less expensive than the state university system.  Read more here.

Step 2 – Sophomore parents need to know that students’ college financial aid awards will be calculated on the base year that starts January 1 of the student’s sophomore year.

  • Move assets out of your student’s name.  FAFSA assesses money in the student’s name at 20% while parent’s assets are assessed only a 5.65%.
  • Inform relatives of the best way to help contribute.  If a 529 plan has been created to help pay for a grandchild’s education, grandparents should consider waiting until after January 1 of the student’s year to make any withdrawals and avoid the dispersion as counting towards income that will reduce financial aid eligibility
  • Consider with whom the student of divorced parents lives – Students whose parents are divorced should research further if living with the parent that will increase their financial aid eligibility makes sense
  • Avoid selling a house during the base year and while the student is in college.
  • Avoid home equity loans as any unspent portion of a home equity loan is considered a cash asset on the FAFSA.
Betsy Greaney
Betsy loves data and how using information and technology can help a student understand his/her key college criteria and provide him/her the confidence and motivation to stretch beyond original ...
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On InstagramVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Pinterest