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

Financial Consultants
1717 North Naper Blvd
Suite 200
Naperville, IL

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Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to get the latest college-planning updates, including information about scholarships, coronavirus-related annoucements, financial aid tips and more.

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

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: 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 1. Saving for college in your child’s name The form…

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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

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 or bait-and-switch financial aid. About half of colleges front-load their grants, according to…

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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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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…

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Analyzing your College Award Letters

College award letters are already fairly confusing. What's worse, they can often be somewhat misleading. This is especially problematic– considering major decisions are made based upon that first award letter; when the next one could be dramatically different. Before you accept a school’s award, there are a few steps you can take to better ensure you won't be left out in the cold later. Avoid the Bait and Switch What you see may not end up being what you get.…

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Education Budget

Budgeting for College

There’s quite a bit more to paying for college than just tuition. It’s the fact that most of the other expenses can vary so wildly that makes budgeting for college so tricky. Will your student live in the dorms? Will they go on a meal plan? As is the case with most other aspects of college, how you budget is largely dictated by your personal circumstances. Be that as it may, there are tips and tricks that just about everyone can use to save money…

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Campus Visits on a Tight Budget

Helping your student choose the right college is one of the most important decisions you will make during the college search process. It is a decision that requires significant research and, in many cases, information that can only be gathered by visiting campus. Experiencing residence life, meeting with professors, or sitting in on a class could likely provide invaluable information that could influence your decision, which is why campus visits are essential. With spring break right around the corner, many…

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