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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.

Navigate FAFSA Verification Like a Pro

Have you been chosen for FAFSA verification? Not to worry! According to U.S. News, over one-third of FAFSA applicants are chosen for this type of audit. Some small colleges even elect to verify 100% of their applicants. As deadlines have passed and you have filed your FAFSA, now comes the time when financial aid offices may be contacting you or your student about the verification process. Essentially, it’s an audit that colleges do to verify the numbers you submitted in your original filing. While this…

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Filing Your FAFSA: Not as Scary as It Sounds!

  The financial aid eligibility process can be tedious and difficult to navigate. Planning ahead and starting the process early is a great way to ensure that your journey is as smooth as possible! It is in your best interest to make the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) a priority as early as January 1st of your senior year and every year thereafter while you are in college. Understanding that it is unlikely that your…

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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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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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How Subsidized Loan Usage Limit and Transferring Can Affect Your Eligibility

For many students from middle-income families, at least a portion of their student loans will be subsidized—i.e., interest-free during the school years and for the first six months after graduation. Recently, however, a new rule called the “Subsidized Usage Limit” (SULA) has been put in place to limit those loans.  This, of course, can affect what your students end up paying for their education. Here are the current limits on subsidized loans: Subsidized Loan Eligibility Limits (School Years): Bachelor’s Degree –…

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Common FAFSA Mistakes That Affect Eligibility

During my past 8 years in Financial Aid, I have seen many mistakes made by parents and students throughout the Financial Aid process.  Many of these mistakes could have been avoided and a lot of time saved if the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) was completed correctly. Submitting a FAFSA that is error free also will reduce your chances of being selected for verification. Here are 7 of the most common mistakes that I have seen. Indicating that…

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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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There’s More To Be Scared About than Paying For College

There is no doubt that the ever-accelerating costs of paying for college are daunting for almost every family--the good news is that there are experts and professionals out there who can help you. A competent financial advisor who understands how the system works can work with you to uncover any number of potential strategies that may help reduce your out-of-pocket cost for college.  They can also create cash flow strategies, educate you on different types of loans, and even blend in tax…

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Newest Kickback Scheme: Campus Debit Cards

Last week, while catching up on my research on private student loan sources, I encountered this attention-getting headline on Huffington Post: “Proposal Would Prevent Kickbacks that Steer Students Into Campus Debit Cards.”  According to the article. there are now about 900 campuses loading their students’ financial aid money into prepaid debit cards and peddling them to students. Sound convenient? Convenience, however, is coming at a big price for students. It turns out that banks and colleges are splitting millions of…

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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 a professional judgment. The additional aid can help you get through some difficult financial times. 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 have limited aid left to give out, simply because most of it…

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