Michele Clark
Clark Hourly Financial Planning - Chesterfield, MO Advisor
1415 Elbridge Payne Road, Suite 255
Chesterfield, MO 63017 USA
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MOST – Missouri 529 College Savings Plan Offering Matching Grants

April 13th, 2012

The MOST – Missouri 529 College Savings Plan recently announced that they are offering a dollar-for-dollar match up to $500 per year per account up to a $2,500 lifetime maximum for qualified accounts. This is a privately funded grant, rather than funded by Missouri taxpayers.

Qualifying for the MOST – Missouri 529 College Savings Plan Matching Grant
In order to qualify for the matching grant, you must meet certain criteria. Quoting from the website www.most529grant.org :

* Applicant must be a parent or legal guardian of the beneficiary.
* Both you and the beneficiary must be Missouri residents.
* You must be the account owner of a MOST 529 account.
* The beneficiary must be 13 or younger (when you are first approved for the matching grant).
* Your household Missouri adjusted gross income must be $74,999 or less.

You must submit an application by June 30th. You will be notified by August 31st if you receive a matching grant. The matching funds will be applied to the account January 31st. You must reapply each year.

For details and to get the application, go to www.most529grant.org.

Saving for college
There is $125,000 available for the matching grant program per year over the next four years for a total of half a million dollars. With the high cost of college constantly in the news, and frequently on the minds of parents, this seems like a no brainer if you are a Missouri resident with a child under 13 and an income under $75,000.

Investing
College can be so expensive; it makes sense to create a nest egg to offset as much of that cost as you can. People are often surprised to learn how much small regular investments can grow to over time. If you save $40 a month (think of it as just $10 a week) for 18 years assuming 6% annual growth you would have $15,611 for college. Length of time invested is such a terrific boost to your investment, the longer you have the better. However – being invested is the most important factor. The key is to get started.

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FAFSA: Missouri deadline approaching

March 9th, 2012

What is the FAFSA?
FAFSA is the abbreviation for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the form that you complete when applying for financial aid.  Financial aid is awarded as grants (you do not pay it back) and/or student and parent loans (you do pay it back, with the exception of loan forgiveness programs.)

Should you fill out the FAFSA?
Yes. When working with higher income households, people often indicate that they do not intend to complete the FAFSA. I encourage them to fill out the form, so that they may keep their options open. If their student applies to a private school, they may qualify for aid directly from the school. Private schools often have their own pool of funds to draw from when awarding aid to students, and create their own processes for awarding aid. However, completing the FAFSA is usually part of the process as well as the school’s own financial aid form. Public schools sometimes have awards to give as well, and part of the procedure at some of these schools is having a completed FAFSA form, so keep yourself in the game and fill out the form by the deadline in order to keep your options open.

What is the Missouri FAFSA deadline?
The FAFSA deadline for the 2012-2013 school year for Missouri is April 2, 2012. However, each school can have their own deadlines for priority award consideration. As an example, Mizzou’s FAFSA priority deadline was March 1, 2012 in order to apply for money that the University of Missouri had to give. If you missed that deadline you still have time (until April 2, 2012) to apply for money from state and federal programs. Being aware of each school’s individual FAFSA deadlines is a good opportunity for your student to practice their research and organizational skills. The best strategy is to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after the first of the year. Watch the mail for W-2s and other tax forms that you will need.

Where can you go to get FAFSA questions answered?
The US Department of Education’s website www.fafsa.ed.gov is a great place to go to find out deadline information and get questions answered about the FAFSA form.

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