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Educational Consultants
1001 Ogden Ave.
Suite 204
Downers Grove, IL

Financial Consultants
1717 North Naper Blvd
Suite 200
Naperville, IL

We gladly use video conferencing for clients who are unable to meet in person.

The Future of Higher Education: A New Workshop

My College Planning Team will soon be rolling out a new workshop entitled: “The Future of Higher Education and How You Can Benefit From It.” We are exited about what’s been happening in higher education during the last few years and and want to share these new developments with parents who continue to be frustrated by the ever rising cost of educating their children. Our new workshop reviews a growing number of alternatives to get a college undergraduate or graduate degree at less than half the…

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Why It Is Always Important to Reduce Your EFC

Parents often ask me if it is really necessary for them to reduce their EFC (Expected Family Contribution) when they already know their student is going to get a merit scholarship that will far exceed any need-based aid for which they would otherwise be eligible.   Though it is possible that a high merit scholarship may eliminate your eligibility for any need-based financial aid, it is still very important to keep your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as low as possible. A lowered EFC can…

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Paying For College Can Be A Partnership Between Middle-Income Parents and Students

In my generation, about half of the students in my incoming freshman class paid for the full cost of their own college education through work, student loans, and personal savings.  It was very rare to find a student who wasn’t paying for at least half of their own college education. Though those days are long gone, occasionally I still meet with middle-income parents who fully expect their children to pay for the majority of their own college education. While this may not…

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The Student Loan Forgiveness Illusion

It took a long time for the very generous forgiveness provisions included in the president’s 2010 Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) student loan program to finally get noticed by the general public. A full three years after launching the program, there were still only a handful of American families who knew about its existence. It’s hard to imagine a program that allowed a $40,000-a-year social worker with a $100,000 student loan debt to pay less than $200 a month for ten years and then have the entire loan balance…

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How New FAFSA Rules May Benefit (or Hurt) Some Families

  Under the new rules just announced by the Obama administration, students entering or returning to college in 2017 and beyond will be able to submit their FAFSA as early as October 1st of the year before they enter college. What this means is that students will be reporting their family’s salary and tax information for 2015 if they are entering or returning to college in 2017/18.  It also means, however, that financial planning to lower college costs must begin even earlier. …

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Book Review: The End of College, Part 3: A Look At The Future

This blog is the third segment of an extensive review of Kevin Cary's book, The End of College, which proposes a new credentialing system that will upend traditional college credits and degrees. Coming soon:  A new college credentialing system In the next five years, students around the world will have a choice of over 5000 online courses featuring some of the best professors from our nation’s leading universities that they can take without cost. These online courses are the same courses,…

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Book Review: The End of College, Part 2: Finding The Solution

This blog is Part 2 of a three-part book review of Kevin Cary's, The End of College. So What Will Replace the Current Model? When we finally realize that we don’t really need a Gucci-priced education for our kids, we will still need something to replace it.  For starters, a new model requires great content and an effective way of delivering that content to the student. In 2013, something happened that put the wheels in motion of the coming transformation.   MIT…

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Book Review: The End of College, Part 1: Defining the Problem

For anyone interested in the future of higher education, Kevin Cary’s book, The End of College, is a well written and thought provoking story.  For a family with college-bound children it is a must read. Cary makes a compelling case that higher education is currently in the process of undergoing a radical transformation that most of us will see unfold over the next 10 to 20 years. Some commentators have suggested that this transformation will come at us “like a…

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Calculating Your College Budget: Real-Time Answers

Calculating your college budget can be a mysterious process.  Families have a difficult time predicting the awards.  In reality, there are still the real-time answers that only the college can answer for you to help prepare your college budget. Stephanie Kennedy was showing me the proprietary software used by her academic team to help families with the college search process.  I was quite impressed with how the software enables her team to quickly optimize a student’s opportunity for earning merit scholarships. Indeed, many…

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Award Letter

Should You Appeal Your Award Letter?

Final award letters will soon be coming to your mail box.  You will  finally know the exact amount of money you have to come up with to pay for college.  What’s next? Do you simply accept the offer from your favorite school? Do you appeal your award?  Or, do you go back to the drawing board and think it over for another month? Here are some important questions to ask yourself before attempting an  appeal: Has there been a change in your circumstances since…

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