Financial Assets & How They Affect Financial Aid

The article elaborates on assets and how financial assets affect financial aid eligibility. First of all, many who are completing the required financial aid forms do not know that certain assets do not have to be reported. Second, families with certain assets can implement appropriate strategies to increase their financial aid eligibility. If you desire valuable advice from a trained professional with over 25 years of experience, please contact our office.

5 Reasons Why You Won’t Get Free Money for College

Fordham University Success Story

Our client wanted my thoughts on their son’s initial award from Fordham. Based on the numbers and knowing what the school is capable of,  we felt they could do better and recommended to negotiate. After the college received a letter we drafted, they increase the 2nd award by $3,500 of a Fordham Grant for the first year.  Contact our offices if we can give you a complimentary review of your financial aid offer.

Fordham-Updated-Offer Fordham-Original-Offer

Applying For Financial Aid Is Not Getting Easier

The article indicates that filing for financial aid is getting a little simpler. For millions of families this will not be the case. Families who file FAFSA early in the base year and the information does not reflect the actual figures, will be misled in regards to what they really qualify for. My advice to families, do not file FAFSA early. If you would like an early estimate of what you would qualify for without filing FAFSA, please contact our office.

Applying for college financial aid is getting a little simpler
News Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Student Loan Consolidation & Refinancing Programs Tips

First things first. There are legitimate ways to temporarily postpone federal loan payments, such as deferments and forbearance before considering consolidation. If the student does not qualify for either, then they should consider consolidation through the Direct Loan program or shop around for private consolidation loans carefully for a low or fixed interest rate if they can find one, and read all the fine print. The student should never consolidate federal loans into a private student loan, or they will lose all the repayment options and borrower benefits.

FYI, there is no financial benefit to consolidating federal loans, other than having a single monthly payment and access to alternative repayment plans. In addition, consolidation is a bad idea when the student has only a couple more years or a few thousand more dollars to go until they pay of their loans. Switching to a new lender might eliminate any benefits they have earned, like lower interest rates for on-time payments over the years.

Multiple 529 Plans For College Financial Planning

I was recently ask a question regarding multiple 529 plans.

As a general rule, I don’t recommend parents should utilize multiple plans. However there are occasions that call for multiple 529 plans:

  • If your children are more than a couple of years apart in age, you will most likely have different investment objectives for their college savings. You may decide that one particular 529 plan has better equity-weighted investments (suitable for a young child) while a different 529 plan is more attractive for its conservative options (suitable for an older child).
  • If you have a sense of which particular schools, or types of school, your children are likely to attend, the choice of institution may influence your selection of a 529 plan. This is especially true if your state offers a prepaid tuition plan, or if you are considering the private-college Independent 529 Plan. A few of the 529 savings plans also offer extra benefits for students attending certain schools.
  • If you’re simply not sure about your choice of 529 plan, you can hedge your bets by spreading your contributions among two or more 529 plans. You might also achieve some more diversification in your investments by doing so, at least in regard to the fund managers handling your college savings.

When shopping for a 529 plan, you should always consider your own state’s 529 plan, even if you ultimately decide to go with an out-of-state 529 plan. Special tax or other benefits may be available for using your in-state plan.

In some states, you may be able to take full advantage of a state tax deduction by enrolling just one of your children in the state’s 529 plan, giving you more freedom to search outside your state for a 529 plan for your other child. In other states, however, the full state tax benefit is obtained only when both of your children are enrolled in the in-state 529 plan.

Contact us right now for a no obligation assessment to understand if we can increase your financial aid and reduce the stress of sending your child to college.

Pell Grant Changes Affect Students

Congress wants to weaken the Pell Grant program that helps parents and student afford college tuition.  The Pell is important form of financial aid that allows millions of low income students to pursue their college education. What about  the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)? The author does not elaborate on this Grant. Many students who are Pell Grant recipients will qualify for FSEOG. Many critics claim that  programs like Pell increase the cost of college. Not true. What has increase the cost of college over the years is the vast availability of Federal  Loans especially the Parent Plus Loan which parents can borrow as much as they want minus the aid originally offered each year.

If you are looking to maximize the financial assistance for your student to attend college, please contact our office today to learn how we can help.

Congress Wants to Weaken the Pell Program. Here’s Why They Shouldn’t.
News Source:

Best Tips For 529 Plans

Over the years we have seen many clients who utilize 529 plans. These are some of our best tips for 529 plans we think every parent should consider when they invest. The 529 plan should always be in the parents name and never in the students name. Parents assets are assessed to a much lesser degree. Parents should contribute as much as they can to any 529 Plan they start. Multiple sources should also contribute when ever possible.

Whether it’s taxable for other sources is up to the tax professional. All 529 plans utilized for education and/or purposes of education are tax free. Parents should shop competitively 529 plans across others states because they are not specific to the state of residence.

We see 4 main differences in 529 Plans across different states.

  1. To the best of our knowledge 34 states including the District of Columbia allow parents to take full or partial deduction for 529 plan contributions. Most states only offer this benefit to residents who use their home state’s plan. Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana and Pennsylvania offer taxpayers a deduction for contributions to any state’s plan.
  2. Flexible low minimum contribution
  3. Ability to roll over money from one plan to another without state tax penalties.
  4. Various plans will have a maximum contributions to the plan

We advise parents on differences that do impact on how much they can save from one plan to another. Parents should always speak with 529 plan expert to utilize the most current 529 plan offerings specific to their situation.

To learn more how we can help discover additional financial aid for your child’s education contact our office today.

How Much College Can You Afford?

Many factors come into play when comes to how much college tutition a family can afford. What colleges is the student applying to? What is families’ liquid asset situation like? How much was saved for college. What financial aid forms are required? Many colleges require more forms than the FAFSA. Who is completing the forms? Families that utilize a trained expert in the process will historically retain more aid.

The bottom line here is the correct interpretation of the questions and know what information you do not have to disclose. The more mistakes made, the less aid offered. College Aid Consulting Services has been assisting families for 25 years to avoid the mistakes and maximize the Financial Aid available to them.  Contact us today to learn more.

529 Plans Are Good For Parents

Many families do save for college but do not do it correctly for a variety of reasons. One is that they don’t save enough for the appropriate school that the child deserves to attend (private schools). They underestimate the true cost of education. Another mistake, saving the wrong way, a general savings account. Parents should utilize 529 plans. Also, many parents are saving in the child’s name, BIG MISTAKE.

Another reason many parents are exhausting their assets for education is that they are being shortchanged by the financial aid process. Unfortunately the process is convoluted and not user friendly. Less financial aid, more money out of the parents pockets. Contact our office if you like more advice on funding your student(s) education.

Private Scholarships Are Not Worth It

The private scholarship decision is real consideration to many students every year. We know from 25 years of experience the student does not come out ahead. There are things you can do to prevent this from happening. If you are dealing with this situation, contact our office for more information.

Private Scholarships — A Billion-Dollar Rip-Off
News Source: Huffington Post – Private Scholarships — A Billion-Dollar Rip-Off