If you’re thinking about changing careers or have recently made the leap, chances are you may experience a temporary — or even permanent — cut in pay with that change. And what if your child just happens to be getting set to make his own leap – to college? According to Todd Weaver, Senior Associate at Strategies for College, Inc., you may be better off than you think. In fact, you may have stumbled into the perfect storm… at least from a college financial aid point of view.
Really? Out of work? Starting a new career with little to no income for the near future? Surprisingly, those circumstances could actually work in your favor. Here’s why…
College financial aid is based on the income tax year prior to the year the student enters college, i.e. the “base year”. Colleges will ask for that year’s data when putting together your student’s financial aid award for their freshman year. If it so happens that your income is low that year due to a career-change (or for whatever reason), you may be putting yourself in a more favorable position for need-based financial aid.
If you do the math, you will find that, for most kids, this “base year” begins midway through the junior year. Translation: If you have a college-bound high schooler who is a junior this year, you have less than 2 1/2 months – until December 31 - to get your financial aid ducks in a row, so to speak. So set a good example for your kid, a.k.a. prospective college aid recipient, and don’t wait until the last minute to do your homework!
Todd Weaver is a Senior Associate at Strategies for College Inc. who specializes in college admissions counseling and cost management. He writes a blog called College Search Game Plan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.