Can You Afford College? Answers to the Top Three Questions That Parents Face

By Laurie Evans

While the students in your house prepare for college, many parents are preparing for their own challenge — how to pay for college.

Lexington Family Magazine answers three of the most pressing questions.

1) What is a FAFSA form and does my child need to fill it out?
College is expensive. How much financial aid your student will qualify for depends upon your financial situation — and this depends on something called your Expected Family Contribution or EFC.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine your Expected Family Contribution by analyzing your need according to your financial information, such as income, assets and other household information.

After you submit the form and it is processed, the results are electronically transmitted to the financial aid offices of the schools that you list on your application.
FAFSA is the application used by nearly all colleges to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans and work-study programs.

2) Is KEES money still available and, if so, how do I claim it?
Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA), is funded by Kentucky Lottery proceeds.

Students who make good grades (2.5 GPA or higher) can earn scholarships for college or technical school in Kentucky. The higher the grades, the more students earn toward college scholarships.

Home school and GED graduates may earn awards based on their ACT scores.
You do not have to apply for a KEES award. It is sent automatically to college once you are attending classes.

Students who attend out-of-state schools may still be eligible for KEES money.

3) Are loans still available?
Federal Stafford loans are still available for students, and Federal PLUS loans are still available for parents.

New rules for some federal loans will allow parents to defer interest and payments until their students have finished college, a bonus for parents in times of recession.

Private or alternative loans from sources other than the federal government are getting more difficult to find.

Parents can visit the website and click on the link to The Student Load Marketplace.

Parents can fill out one application, which is distributed anonymously to a variety of lenders who offer rates and payment plans.