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I am a single mom with a daughter that will go to college next fall. She is a strong student and has heart set on going to a top school. The problem of course, is how to pay for it. Dad is out of the picture and will not be contributing support.
I make a modest salary of 48K. I don't own a home and have no real property to speak of. I did, however, receive a bequest 2 years ago when my mom passed away (roughly 120k). I am not very knowledgeable about financial matters, and because of the wall street meltdown of the last few years, I have not felt confident to invest it anywhere. So now it is just sitting in a savings account. My daughter also received a few thousand dollars in the bequest, which I put in a custodial savings account linked to mine. (As she is a minor, I'm not sure if this counts as a parent asset for fafsa purposes.)
This represents my entire life savings, and I had hoped to use it to buy a house with a little something for retirement. But FAFSA is now due, and I discover from looking at the Estimated Parent Contribution on various cost calculators, that FAFSA will expect me to pay large chunks of money, which will rather quickly deplete my savings and wipe out any future security I might have.
How best to shelter these funds? Can they be moved to other accounts or investments (IRA, 529, real estate) that will cause FAFSA to regard them in a different way? And can I change my FAFSA later this year if things change? Any and all advice welcome!