Advisors Offer College Tips to Students

Temple City High School held a presentation for parents on college financial planning.

Written by JASON WU / Published November 19, 2010

Recently, experts from the College Planning Advisors company instructed parents on saving money for college at a free scholarship and financial aid workshop.

Led by Sam Mikhail, the writer of the “Ask ED” Education Column in the Los Angeles Times, he instructed parents, the majority of which were there for their senior high school students, on how they could plan a route for college.

He brought information about gift aid (money given to pay for college in the form of grants, scholarships, and tuition reductions), and taught the parents more about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and explained the cost of attendance (COA) and expected family contribution (EFC).

There are a plethora of myths surrounding financial aid and he eradicated the notions that colleges reject financial aid to families who have high incomes or who own a house, students who have low grades, or only give them to students of special groups, such as of a minority race.

A large part of his presentation revolved around comparing the costs of private and public schools and revealing that although private schools are more expensive overall, they are the ones most generous with scholarships and other gift aid and that in several cases, private schools turned out to be cheaper than their public counterparts.

Private schools in general and more specifically some schools, such as Stanford and USC, have been historically more generous with giving financial aid to applicants.

Mikhael also warned parents about schools mis-awarding or under-awarding students scholarships. In April of 2009, several students were given letters of admittance only to find out later that they were accidental and that they had not made it in at all.

The information covered allowed students and parents alike the knowledge to double and sometimes even triple eligibility for free grants. He had shown examples where his clients, even those from affluent families, were able to save anywhere from 30-75% on college tuition.

Mikhael had first helped begin the business of helping students with financial planning when he had gone to community college due to his family’s lack of financial aid and grades.

His friend in college had built a company specializing in coaching students to lowering college fees and he had joined. He had ended up helping his younger brother, who had the grades to attend a prestigious university go to school without needing to pay at all.

Mikhael will be meeting with families for free one-hour sessions at his new branch in Burbank to families who have signed up.

To contact Sam Mikhael, e-mail him at info@collegeplanningaid.org or visit 4111 West Alameda Avenue, Suite 504, Burbank for more information.

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