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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.

Coronavirus Student Loan Scams: How to Spot and Avoid Them

For years, student loan scams have been tempting borrowers with empty or misleading promises that they can have their loans discharged or forgiven. These unscrupulous companies charge fees to enroll borrowers in free Department of Education programs and services including income-driven repayment plans, deferment and forbearance. Now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, a new crop of student loan forgiveness program scams have emerged. Their tactic is the same, except this time they're attempting to charge fees for the protections that are…

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How to Graduate College on Time: 8 Tips

We think of college as being a four-year commitment. But the reality is, most students take years longer than that to earn a bachelor’s degree. At four-year institutions, only 41% of students graduate with their bachelor’s degree in four years, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. At the same institutions, 60% of students complete the same degrees in six years, the data shows.  Between overwhelming degree options, enrollment in the wrong courses, completing too few credits…

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My College Planning Team Social Distancing Guidelines

MCPT is committed to following or exceeding CDC protocols as we slowly begin to resume in-person meetings with our clients and prospective clients.  Beginning June 1, 2020, in-person meetings between our clients and financial advisors may be held in the conference rooms at our Naperville office — if both the client and financial advisor are comfortable meeting in person. Alternatively, phone appointments remain an option.  All meetings between clients and our client service managers or other professionals on our team will…

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6 Costly Mistakes Parents Make when Saving for College

Parents Saving for College Saving for college is undoubtedly important, but there are right and wrong ways to do it.  Be wary of these six common and costly mistakes that families make when parents are saving for college: Saving for college in your child's name Paying for college with the help of a grandparent or non-custodial parent Using retirement funds to pay for college Not using the financial aid appeals process Not applying to enough colleges Not starting early enough…

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Q&A with Jan Miller, Student Loan Consultant 

Jan Miller is a student loan expert and founder of Miller Student Loan Consulting, where he helps clients develop student loan repayment strategies that fit their financial goals.  Previously, Miller spent eight years working in 11 different departments at four student loan servicers — including Nelnet, one of the largest federal student loan servicers. “I saw every side of the industry,” Miller says.  Later in his career, when he was working as an investment advisor at Morgan Stanley, Miller started…

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Watch Out for Front-Loaded Scholarships

You may have wondered, do you get more financial aid after freshmen year? Many sophomores, juniors and seniors begin the school year with a rude awakening: The financial aid packages they received as freshmen have shrunk. Scholarships and grants, which make aid packages so wonderfully enticing for first-year students and their families, often melt away starting the second year of school. Students are often given less aid overall or they're offered mostly loans. This concept is known as scholarship front-loading…

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How to Decline a College Acceptance

After you’ve been recruited and wooed by a college, it can be incredibly difficult to say the “no thank you” to one of them. Here's our advice for how to decline a college acceptance: 1. Say "yes!" to your chosen school First, inform your chosen school that you'll be attending. Submit your deposit before the deadline. Then, write your admissions representative a note  — email is fine — to thank them for their help and give them the good news. …

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Student Work

The Benefits of Student Work in College

« Learn more about financial aid One of the most productive things your student can do with all the newfound free time that college affords is to find gainful employment. Working as a college student is beneficial for everyone. For some students, it can be a great way to keep their lives structured while making some extra money. For others, student work is a necessity to stay in school at all. Student Income and EFC If you have any experience…

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Beware of Student Loan Scams!

Debt, despite how essential it is for many American families trying to afford college, can be in and of itself the cause for quite a bit of stress. When you factor in the further difficulty students are having finding employment after graduation, and loan management companies that can be less than forthcoming with information that could ease your repayment burdens, the tension only grows. Wouldn't it be great if there was a trick or a quick fix to help get…

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Income Sharing Agreements vs. Student Loans

The ever-growing costs of college are often characterized as “an investment in one's future.” In a cruel twist of fate, the price of that investment remains on the rise, while its security begins to wane. What if we treated students as investments instead of debtors? Imagine that the amount you owe is entirely contingent on what you make. This is a reality at Purdue University and could become a well-needed alternative for students all over the country. College is very expensive, so much…

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