Our experience with All Star Financial Aid
My daughter just graduated from high school. She is not an athlete looking for a college team, but like all parents we are trying to find a way to make her favorite school affordable. We know firsthand how hard that is! *Note, I wrote this in the spring of 2015. She has now completed her freshmen year at this university and we are quite happy with how the finances and her experience have turned out.
Through the Recruiting Code blog I met Jen at All Star Financial Aid. All Star Financial Aid is a private company that assists you in understanding the financial process and enables you to find financial aid and scholarships you would not otherwise receive. I wanted to set up an affiliate program with Jen, but before I would ever, EVER, recommend anything to you, I need to know that it’s worth every penny. So I begged Jen for a “free sample,” and now I am sold on the worth of her product.
If you have been following The Recruiting Code you already know I am not crazy about 3rd party recruiting sites. I feel you should not pay for things you are capable of. In most of the recruiting process, with the right information, anybody can be successful.
Why would I recommend a paid service? I needed to know that All Star Financial Aid could offer financial advice that would be more than worth the cost of the service.
Here is our experience.
I contacted Jen at All Star Financial Aid. Even before I decided to use Jen, she spoke with me for about 25 minutes. She was prompt, friendly, and pleasant on the phone. I have a decade of experience in the collegiate world recruiting players. I have spent a lot of time in admissions and financial aid helping my recruits navigate the process. I thought I knew quite a bit.
In 25 minutes, I learned several high end tips that I could implement for my own daughter. Jen shared things I had never heard before. For example, we were in the process of filling out the FAFSA. Jen told me that the order we listed schools mattered, and that colleges could see the full list of schools we were submitting the FAFSA to. Later in the process the order would affect our ability to let the colleges compete to give my daughter the best value.
I was instantly intrigued with Jen and her company.
We completed the FAFSA and submitted it.
We received an email, “Congratulations, your FAFSA was processed successfully.
Your Student Aid Report (SAR), is now available online at the link below.”
I contacted Jen by email over the weekend and shared our SAR.
I received an email from Jen discussing our EFC and letting me know the next step is to wait for the schools to get back to us with their financial packages.
Over the rest of March and into April my daughter and I worked with schools to get everything in and get the award letters.
I sent Jen my daughter’s award letters from each of the four schools we were pursuing. Jen put together an excel sheet that broke down how much each school was awarding my daughter and the total cost of each institution including room and board.
At this time Jen suggested other ideas as well to offset expenses including summer community college classes, Clep tests, and retaking the ACT and SAT one more time. She gave me a financial tip that won’t help for my oldest daughter, but will save us over $20,000 with our next three children when they are of college age.
She spent about 40 minutes on the phone with me going over the next strategies we would use.
Jen called and went over the numbers and strategies again and prepped my daughter and me for our conversation the next day with our top school. We would be calling my daughter’s admission counselor first because we have a relationship with him.
My daughter summoned up her courage and called her first choice school. She talked to her admission counselor using tips from Jen. It was amazing. The admissions counselor said all the things that Jen said he would. He promised to see if there was more the school could offer and get back to us in a couple of days. Guess what? There was more money available.
By now our daughter had her heart set on this school. Unfortunately, we still could not quite afford tuition, room and board. One more talk with Jen, one more tip to try. And it worked. The deposit is in and summer orientation is scheduled. All Star Financial Aid helped us get $14,000 ($3500 per year) of aid in addition to what we were originally offered.
*Update, All Star Financial is no longer offering these services. But you can still be proactive about saving money and getting scholarships. Check out our new freebie How to Save Hundreds on College and Athletic Recruiting. Or our other freebie 6 Reasons College Coaches Won’t Give You an Athletic Scholarship: Why your athlete won’t get a scholarship and how to fix that. And of course our scholarship posts.