One of the goals of the Better Off podcast is to make the daunting seem doable. And there is no more daunting topic than college. Whether it’s saving for higher education, going through the selection process, or the heavy lifting of tuition payments (whether out of pocket or with grants and student loans), the whole subject produces anxiety for students and their families.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, according to our guest Kelly Peeler. Kelly is the founder and CEO of NextGenVest, a free text message service to help students navigate the college selection and financial aid and student loan processes.
It’s the busy time of year for Kelly and her team, as college acceptances are rolling in and families are trying to figure what to do with all the various forms. And those forms are KEY. Can you believe that more than $2.7 billion—yes billion with a B—of unclaimed financial aid money is left on the table every single year primarily because people don’t fill out the FAFSA form. That blows my mind.
By using NextGenVest, students and their families are connected with Money Mentors who will help coach them through the process and also provide key financial aid deadline reminders, form annotations, and on-demand help via text message to get more financial aid in high school and beyond. Mentors will also answer questions such as:
- How do I find scholarships I can actually apply to?
- Am I filling out the right FAFSA forms?
- Am I allowed to negotiate my college tuition?
- Is working during college a good idea?
- Can I still get scholarships even if I don’t have great grades?
Aside from discussing the dreaded but necessary forms, we also talked to Kelly about the student loan bubble and why she feels it could be the next financial crisis.
This article originally appeared on Jill Schlesinger’s LinkedIn.
The opinions stated on the Better Off podcast are those of the host, Jill Schlesinger, and her guests, and not those of Betterment or its employees. Any third party links provided are offered as a matter of convenience and are not intended to imply that Betterment endorses, or is affiliated with the owners of or any information contained on those sites, unless expressly stated otherwise. Listen to a preview and subscribe to “Better Off” here.