NEW YORK, Jan. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Recognizing the importance of college financial aid to students' success, Foresters Financial Services, Inc. proudly celebrates "February is Financial Aid Awareness Month."
Currently, more than 40 million Americans are holding more than $1.2 trillion in student loan debt and one out of four borrowers is struggling to pay it off.* On a more personal level, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, conservative figures estimate that "seven in 10 seniors (69 percent) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,950 per borrower."**
"Clearly, it is more important than ever for parents and students to understand their financial aid options," said Paul Prete, Vice President at Foresters Financial. "With college costs expected to continue to rise faster than the rate of inflation, parents and students need to take the necessary steps to start saving ahead of time to cover higher education expenses."
Financial aid eligibility usually begins with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.gov, which is the first step in applying for most federal, state and college-provided financial aid such as student grants, loans and work-study. Once your FAFSA application is completed and processed, the financial aid offices of the colleges you are applying to will be contacted.
Currently, the earliest a FAFSA application can be filed with the U.S. Department of Education is January 1 preceding the academic year that you are requesting financial aid, which is generally limited and first-come, first-served, "so we encourage all prospective students to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible," said Prete. "However, with the help of a Foresters Financial Representative, accumulating the funds you need to pay for your children's education doesn't have to be an impossible task."
"Your Representative," Prete continued, "can prepare a detailed College Needs Analysis, which will assist you in estimating college expenses and determining the funds you will need given your specific situation. Your Representative can then develop a long-term college investment strategy, such as opening a 529 College Savings Plan, where assets grow tax-deferred and withdrawals are federal income tax free when used to pay qualified higher education expenses."
Prete suggests taking advantage of Financial Aid Awareness Month this February by speaking with a Foresters Financial Representative and completing a College Needs Analysis today.
*www.marketwatch.com, November 9, 2015.
*The Institute for College Access & Success, October, 2015.
About Foresters Financial (formerly First Investors)
The Foresters Financial (formerly First Investors) group of companies is a diversified financial services company and includes a registered broker-dealer, an investment adviser, a life insurance company and a transfer agent. Foresters Financial Services, Inc., a broker-dealer, helps everyday families reach their financial goals by offering solutions and guidance through its network of financial representatives working in 42 branch offices across the United States. Foresters Investment Management Company, Inc. is the investment adviser to the First Investors family of funds, which had nearly $11 billion in total assets under management as of June 30, 2015. Foresters Life Insurance and Annuity Company, Inc., a New York domiciled insurance company, offers a range of insurance and annuity products and maintains an "A" (Excellent) rating by A.M. Best1. forestersfinancial.com
Foresters is an international financial services provider with more than 3 million clients and members in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. We provide life insurance, savings, retirement and investment solutions that help families achieve their financial goals and make a lasting difference in their lives and communities. Foresters has assets of almost $12 billion, total funds under management of $28 billion and a surplus of $1.9 billion (all figures in Canadian dollars as of Dec. 31, 2014) and maintains an "A" (Excellent) rating by A.M. Best1. foresters.com
Foresters Financial™ and Foresters™ are the trade names and trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, and its subsidiaries, including Foresters Financial Services, Inc. Securities, life insurance and annuity products are offered through Foresters Financial Services, Inc. Insurance products are issued by Foresters Life Insurance and Annuity Company or The Independent Order of Foresters.
1 An "A" (Excellent) rating is assigned to companies that have a strong ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders and have, on balance, excellent balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile when compared to the standards established by A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best assigns ratings from A++ to F, A++ and A+ being superior ratings and A and A- being excellent ratings. In assigning The Independent Order of Foresters and Foresters Life Insurance and Annuity Company rating on July 1, 2015, A.M. Best stated that the rating outlook is "stable", which means it is unlikely to change in the near future. See ambest.com for our latest rating.