Headed to college? NWFCU offers various resources to help students prepare, pay and stay in school
HERNDON, VA (January 27, 2014) — For thousands of high school seniors and their families across the region, January is often when talk turns serious about college plans. One topic families can’t afford to leave off the discussion list is funding college expenses. And Northwest Federal Credit Union announces it is here to help.
According to the College Board, the average cost to receive a higher education has grown to nearly $23,000 annually for in-state, public universities and $45,000 per year at a private institution. Many families and students seek assistance when planning and funding this expense, and Northwest Federal encourages families to learn all they can about the extensive financial aid resources available to them.
“People recognize the value of obtaining a college education, but rising tuition costs can make it challenging,” said Chris McDonald, President/CEO of Northwest Federal. “The key to a successful experience is planning, and it’s never too early – or too late – to start.”
For high school seniors, Northwest Federal suggests this college prep timeline, which starts this month:
January/February – Obtain a Federal Student Aid PIN at www.pin.ed.gov.; complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid); and have high school transcripts sent to colleges where you wish to apply.
February – Complete scholarship applications.
March/April – Compare acceptance letters, financial aid and scholarship offers.
May – Take Advanced Placement exams; make college decision by May 1 and mail commitment deposit check.
June – Send final high school transcript to selected college; confirm fees and deadlines for tuition, room and board.
July – Secure student loan.
“This is an exciting and anxious time for students preparing to attend college in the fall,” said McDonald, “and the decisions they need to make can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help both students and families.”
Here are programs and support opportunities Northwest Federal provides:
Northwest Federal’s educational webinar, How to Prepare, Pay and Stay in College, is available at www.nwfcu.org/prepare. It includes key information and tips to help students and their families research colleges, and apply for scholarships – including help with writing application essays. The webinar also provides details and guidelines for those seeking college grants and loans.
Each year, the NWFCU Foundation awards 15 college scholarships in honor of Ben DeFelice, the Credit Union’s longest serving board chairman. Since 2005, the Foundation has recognized 126 scholarship recipients with awards totaling $554,000. Recipients are recognized for their school leadership, dedication and commitment. Northwest Federal accepts applications March 1-April 15. Visit www.nwfcufoundation.org for more information.
Northwest Federal provides the top-ranked CU Student Choice loan program for families needing additional funding assistance. It avoids the higher fees and costs associated with other private lenders, carries no origination or pre-payment fees, and offers flexible payment options and the ability to secure financing to cover the entire undergraduate program. CU Student Choice also offers competitive rates, the convenience of an online application and 24/7 phone support.
Today, there is more than $100 billion in federal aid available for funding higher education, according to the U.S Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid. These awards include grants, scholarships, work-study programs and loans, and can be used to pay for tuition, room and board, books and transportation.
Yet for many families, federal funding alone isn’t enough to foot the bill. And that’s where Northwest Federal says it is ready to help.
“Even with the best of savings plans, funding college can be tough,” said McDonald. “But there are multiple resources available to students and their families who know where to look and whom to ask.”
To learn more about Northwest Federal’s products and services designed for soon-to-be college students, visit www.nwfcu.org/college or call toll-free 1-877-709-8901.
About Northwest Federal Credit Union
Northwest Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial institution ranking among the largest credit unions in Virginia and in the top 50 credit unions in the nation. Established in 1947 and headquartered in Herndon, Va., Northwest Federal is dedicated to providing financial services and education to its members and the community. The Credit Union currently serves more than 125,000 members and has assets in excess of $2.5 billion. For more information, visit www.nwfcu.org.