The Financial Aid Handbook – A SavvyReview

The Financial Aid Handbook: Getting the Education You Want for the Price You Can Afford

Paperback: 251 pages

Publisher: Career Press (2017)

Co-author Carol Stack is the former director of admissions at Macalester College and Augsburg College, and served as a college counselor at both the International School of Brussels and St. John’s International School in Waterloo, Belgium. For the past 20 years, Stack has worked as a principal at Hardwick Day, an enrollment consulting firm that works with the admissions and financial aid offices of colleges and universities. She has consulted on financial aid policy at dozens of colleges and universities from coast to coast.

Co-author Ruth Vedvik has held the position of director of admissions at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Ball State University, and Agnes Scott College. For the past 14 years, Vedvik has worked as a principal at Hardwick Day and served as interim vice president for enrollment at more than 20 colleges and universities.

The Value of Education

I have discussed the importance, and financial challenges, of attending college in numerous posts on this blog. I have noted previously I don’t believe it is a stretch to say that for the population as a whole those who have more education tend to have better jobs which pay more and offer benefits. Moreover, those with greater education are more likely to be financially savvy and be comfortable with investing, whether it be in the stock market, in real estate, etc.

I don’t believe the questions are “should I attend college and will it be a worthwhile return on my investment?” The questions should be, “What should I be studying at college and what is the best way to finance it?” One answer to the second question is financial aid. But of course, utilizing financial aid is not necessarily as straight forward as it could be. The Financial Aid Handbook, a revised edition, is intended to help student and parents navigate the financial labyrinth.

Is College Worth It? | RetirementSavvy

The updates in this revised edition reflect changes in federal processes and timelines; and includes new chapters, fourteen and fifteen, for undocumented and homeless students. Each of the fifteen chapters takes a deep dive into specific topics such as debt, cost-based search for a college, merit aid, and understanding ratings/rankings.

The most critical takeaway from The Financial Aid Handbook is that students should not, and don’t need, to overpay for a college education. At the end of the day colleges are businesses; and parents and students should treat their interactions with colleges the same way they would any other business transaction.

Final Thoughts

To their credit the authors provide engaging explanations, straightforward language, and meaningful tips to maximize the use of aid, reducing the student’s financial burden to the greatest extent possible. The Financial Aid Handbook: Getting the Education You Want for the Price You Can Afford is available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

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