This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

3 Tips for the Search for College Funding

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The race for college funding for the 2013 academic year is on, and harried parents are looking into any nook and cranny that might contain a few shekels for Junior's tuition bill.

The bill for college is growing larger every year. Here's what the U.S. Department of Education has to say about the current costs for college, and its high rate of growth:

For the 2010-11 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, room and board were estimated to be $13,600 at public institutions, $36,300 at private not-for-profit institutions and $23,500 at private for-profit institutions. Between 2000-01 and 2010-11, prices for undergraduate tuition, room and board at public institutions rose 42%, and prices at private not-for-profit institutions rose 31%, after adjustment for inflation. The inflation-adjusted price for undergraduate tuition, room and board at private for-profit institutions was 5% higher in 2010-11 than in 2000-01.

More than 2 million collegians are just now applying to U.S. colleges and universities, and many millions more are already on campus and looking for more cash to keep the motor running until graduation day. That's a lot of competition, and some savvy parents may already have a head start in what amounts to a "first come, first serve" college funding market.

How can you level the playing field?

Kaplan Test Prep offers three "key tips" for families looking to finance a college education or two:

  • Get your FAFSA form in early. Kaplan advises completing the Free Application For Student Aid Form as soon as possible. Technically, Uncle Sam wants to see the form completed and delivered by the middle of February for the upcoming academic year. But Kaplan says the secret to FAFSA is that it's a "first come, first serve" program and the sooner you get the form completed, the better your chances for getting college funding. Find the form here.
  • Make your college funding campaign a part-time job. According to the college financing website Cappex.com, more than $11 billion is available in merit aid from colleges and universities. Sure, your chances of getting a scholarship depends largely on good grades, but there are plenty of "niche" scholarships available in areas such as athletics, charity and community service for college students. The key, Kaplan says, is to take the time needed to pore through all of the options. A big head start? Go to Finaid.org for a huge list of available scholarships, grants and loans just there for the taking.
  • Don't be reluctant to negotiate. When it comes to college funding, the hunt isn't over until you say it's over. Kaplan advises negotiating hard if your financial aid package doesn't meet your needs -- even for your dream school. "Unlike FAFSA offers, which are non-negotiable, financial aid packages awarded directly by colleges can be considered first offers, not final offers," Kaplan says. "Since they've already accepted you, they more than likely will work with you. Respectfully tell the college why you are a "must have" student or how your family's financial situation may have changed to warrant more aid. The worst they can say is no."

The good news is that, the harder you work and the more creative you get you'll increase the odds of a "yes" instead of "no" on college funding -- but you have to act now, because that collegiate clock is certainly ticking.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,086.63 -26.91 -0.16%
S&P 500 1,987.01 +3.48 0.18%
NASDAQ 4,473.6970 +17.6810 0.40%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs