Executive Director of HESAA Shares College Planning Tips
Steve Adubato and David Socolow, Executive Director of Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, talk about how parents and students should plan for college by first determining the financial options available to them, including the ways HESAA can work with students to navigate the student loan process from start to finish.
"We're joined by David Socolow, who is, in fact, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. [laughter] And the acronym is? HESAA. It is HESAA? Yeah, it's HESAA. It's still HESAA? It's still HESAA. You got it. [laughter] Yeah. And tell folks exactly what you guys do. So we're the arm of state government that helps students and their families get resources and information about affording the price and cost of college, post-secondary education, both financial resources, information, and strategies for helping pay for college. Okay. So let's get this out of the way. FAFSA? [laughter] F-A-S-F-A? Free Application...? Yeah. What are the...? F-A-F-S-A. So it's Free... Free Application for... ...Application for Federal... ...Federal Student Aid? ...Student Aid. Yeah. What is it? And why is it the key for those of us who have had young people go to college? [laughter] And I'm like, "This form... you got to do this?" Yeah. Talk about it. So the FAFSA is the key to all financial aid, and the most important thing is, every school, every institution of public and private higher ed, uses the FAFSA as the starting point. And so that information tells the federal government first of all, but then also the state, through the additional state questions that are right at the end of the FAFSA, all of your financial circumstances to help determine need-based aid, but also aid that might be given out by the school. Hmm. And so the... that's called institutional aid. Sure. And so there's state aid, which HESAA administers. There's the federal aid, like the Pell Grant, and the federal programs - S-E-O-G - other federal programs... Do you think there's enough acronyms? [laughter] Yeah there's a lot of acronyms in student aid, but the key point is there's money that you don't have to pay back. Right. That's called grants and scholarships. And then there's money that you do, that's called loans. Those are loans? And all of it starts with the FAFSA. Which is fafsa.gov - that's where you go to fill it out. So... you know, I'm curious about this David. The whole question of... not just affordability, college affordability, but the debt? Right. Are we making a dent, if you will, or making any significant improvements in the debt that young people, or others... you don't have to be that young, who graduate from a higher ed institution, and says, "Oh my god! I've got all this debt!" A, are we making a dent? And B, what advice do you have? So I think that there's a lot of efforts going on right..."