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The content published on our website is written within the context of  existing FAFSA rules.  These rules are subject to change for students entering or already in college in 2024.  Please read our newsletter to regular updates on the status of these proposed changes which, though codified into law, are still subject for revision by the Department of Education.

Despite Savings, Three Year Degree Not Catching On

Three year degree anyone? They are doing it in Europe where it’s routine for students to get their degree in three years. Yes, it means less socializing, fewer extracurricular activities, and more homework. Every year, a couple of colleges somewhere in the country will announce that they are offering a "degree-in-three".  The announcement will create the usual buzz in the national press but, in the end, nothing much comes of it.  Even at the colleges promoting three-year degrees, only a very…

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Door 1 or Door 2: The SAT or the ACT?

Great news! Unlike the game show set-up, behind either door lies a prize: the chance for your student to impress the socks off the nice folks in higher-ed admissions. With the bewildering array of choices scattered along the pathway to college acceptance, this is one area in which you can't make a terribly wrong move. And what a relief that is. That being said, there is little reason to take both tests. The overwhelming majority of schools require just one.…

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Some Additional Perspective On Outside Scholarships

After reading Stephanie Kennedy’s blog on outside scholarships for college, I thought I would jump into the conversation and give some of my own perspective on using them as a valid money-saving strategy for college.   Know The Limitations Though Stephanie already mentioned that many schools will replace other grants with these scholarships, resulting in no benefit to the family, some will allow you to use them to reduce your student loans.  Still, others will apply them to your “unmet…

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Leverage Your Unemployment for Appeals in Financial Aid

If you were unemployed anytime during the three years preceding your base year, that period of unemployment can be leveraged to get you additional financial aid--if you appeal for professional judgment. The additional aid can help you get through some difficult financial times. You need education financial aid for unemployed. « Learn more about financial aid Take Action Fast If you want that additional financial aid it’s important that you act immediately after receiving your award letters.  Many colleges will…

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What If Your Student Is Not Ready For College?

Many parents I encounter seem to have some blind spots when it comes to their student’s readiness for college. Their student’s lack of readiness is not usually an academic issue but, rather, a maturity issue. Many students have no idea of what they want to study by the time they arrive on campus.  This, of course, is the reason so many students are taking six years to graduate. If your student is going to be in college for six years because they…

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Why Your Financial Advisor Must Be a Fiduciary

Many clients have asked me why My College Planning Team (MCPT) requires me to approve the financial plans provided to them by our other financial advisors. After all, these advisors have often had as much experience as I and have worked as trusted advisors to hundreds of clients throughout their careers. MCPT implemented this policy to make sure all of our college and financial plans have been reviewed by someone with fiduciary responsibility. This means that the person reviewing their…

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5 Myths About Career Assessments

Some independent educational consultants specialize in interest, personality and career assessments. Many students just don't know where to start in picking a major or exploring careers. The most respected website to check out is O*Net.gov.   A thorough career assessment with a qualified counselor can be very helpful. There are some common myths about career assessments that should be debunked.  Let's consider some that we often hear: Myth #1. “I already know what I want to be/major in.” If you really do know what you…

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Get More from College Admissions Fairs

Here are my tips for success as you visit local College Fairs (or College Expos) this spring and summer: 1. Arrive early so that you get a head start on the popular schools. Parking can be difficult! Allow for extra time! Admissions counselors at college fairs talk to many people in a short time, so catch the important ones early. 2. Bring with you a sheet of mailing labels (like Avery labels) on which you've printed your name, address, phone…

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Working Students Get Better Grades

Many parents are reluctant to require their students to work during their college years.  They don't want to work to distract from the main task at hand--studying and maintaining a good grade point average. There are recent studies, including one published last year in Inside Higher  Ed , however, that contradicts this assumption.  The study concluded that the more money parent pays for their children's college expenses, the worse the children perform. According to a recent article in U.S. News even students…

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Tax Planning Tax Bill

The Base Years Change Everything!

As a tax accountant and financial planner for over 25 years, on many occasions, I have found that my usual tax and financial planning recommendations are significantly affected when I learn that my clients are approaching the base years for their college-bound children. (The base year is the calendar year immediately preceding the year in which their child will begin college.) Here are a few examples of the typical tax and financial questions I ask clients who do not have…

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