INFORMATION UPDATED 4/5/17
To help our Cavendish kids pursue college or post secondary education, below are options beyond the typical 529 college-savings, prepaid plans, Coverdell Education Saving or Roth individual retirement accounts. Thanks to the digital age, there are some new, creative and painless ways to prepare for the expense of college whereby family, friends and even the students themselves can raise considerable money, even if they’ve already started college.
Be aware that Vermont high school students can be earning free college credits. Each of the Vermont State Colleges hosts a full-year alternative to the senior year in high school. Students take standard college courses to complete their senior year of high school and their freshman year of college simultaneously—tuition free. Vermont Technical College hosts the Vermont Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), for students who have a strong academic record and are interested in math science and technology. FMI: Pathways for High School Students.
Raise.me Allows high school student to start banking college scholarship money. The money is tied to students’ individual achievements starting as early as the 9th grade. The better they do in school, the more engaged they are with community the more money they earn from Raise.Me’s college partners. As long as students meet the college's GPA requirements, they can start earning money from as many colleges as they choose -- between $500 to $1,000 per achievement. Students don't get the money until they are accepted to one of the colleges. Currently there are over 200 colleges on Raise.me’s platform. Launched in Aug. 2014, Raise.me received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Facebook.
GradSave: This is similar to a GoFundMe site except you create a free account for the child. Invite friends and family to contribute. GradSave will let them know you added them to your child’s college savings team via email so they can start contributing. Even if gifts are small, over time, they will make a big difference. Friends and family can give a gift easily via your child's profile page (and they love that they are giving a meaningful gift). Your gifts are then transferred to your 529 college savings plan twice a month. GradSave doesn't charge fees for giving or receiving gifts. Next time your invited to a baby shower, consider something very small, and making a larger gift by setting up a GradSave account once the child is born.
Tuition Fundraising: Again built on the idea of GoFundMe, this is a better option for someone already in college who is having difficulty making ends meet.
Give College: This is another option for raising funds on the GoFundMe model.
Free Application for Federal Student AID (FAFSA): The new filing date for FAFSA has been changed from Jan 1 to Oct 1 of the previous years, which allows applicants to submit an earlier year’s income information. This will allow students to know how much money they are eligible for while they are applying to colleges and universities. Students considering colleges in the fall of 2016 will be able to take advantage of the new rules. VT Digger
College Scorecard A new site from the US Department of Education, this is a way to compare the costs of every college and university in the country. Also included on the site are costs after financial aid, graduation rates and what students are making upon graduation.
UVM Among List of Colleges Doing the Most for Low-Income Students: The University of Vermont ranks 59th on the New York Times’ College Access Index, a measure of top colleges’ efforts to boost economic diversity at their institutions. UVM is among universities whose scores “indicate the most effort” toward making college accessible to economically disadvantaged students. VT Digger