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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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What is EFC (and Why Does it Matter)?

EFC stands for expected family contribution. It’s the amount that the government and colleges calculate you should be able to pay out of pocket toward college costs. It's also used to calculate the amount of need-based financial aid students qualify for. Many families don’t know that they have some control over their EFC. By understanding how your expected family contribution is calculated and used by colleges, you can learn EFC-reducing strategies that can increase your student’s financial aid eligibility and…

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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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Css Profile

How To Get Help Filling Out Your CSS Profile

« Learn more about financial aid Applying to college is exciting, but it’s also up there among some of the most stressful things you’ll ever do. Part of the reason for that is the confusing process of applying for financial aid.  If you’re like almost three-quarters of applicants recently surveyed by Citizens Bank, applying for financial aid is even more stressful than applying to colleges! So, if you’re at your wit's end about the aid process, you’re not alone. That…

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Financial Aid Appeal:  How and Why

You’ve just received your Financial Aid Award Letter from your favorite college, and it just isn’t enough.  Besides the thud of your disappointed heart hitting the floor, you hear a small voice in your head, “I’ve heard you can negotiate your college costs! How can I appeal my financial aid?” Whoa there!  Take a step back.  That’s not quite true.  Accepting or declining a financial aid award is not like negotiating on a used car!  Prepare for a bit more…

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How Work Study Works

Financial aid comes in several forms. Some are more helpful than others. These various aid types are separated into two categories: gift aid and self-help aid. As you can probably imagine, gift aid is the kind you want – it is essentially free money. On the other hand, self-help aid is more than likely what you will receive the most. Self-help aid is the kind you are expected to work for one way or another. Student loans are perhaps the most well-known form of…

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Avoiding FAFSA Fraud

The financial aid process can be a daunting one. It’s often a good idea to seek out help when filing your FAFSA. How you file can be the difference between receiving or not receiving quite a bit of money. More financial aid is (ostensibly) allocated to those who express the most need. It is one of the few instances in which the worse your finances look, the better you are for it. The savvy filer will create the worst possible snapshot of their financial…

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Navigate FAFSA Verification Like a Pro

Have you been chosen for FAFSA Federal verification? Don't 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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Use Caution Before Using Insurance or Annuities to Reduce EFC

There are a lot of financial advisors out there who are anxious to sell you insurance, annuities, 529s or other financial products in the name of helping you lower your college costs. Annuities for college education are not always the best idea. The advice I always give people is to do their homework before they act on any advisor’s recommendations. Not doing your homework on annuities for college fund can actually end up costing you much more, not much less for college. « Learn…

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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! So, you're probably wondering how to file FAFSA. « Learn more about financial aid  How to File FAFSA 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…

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FAFSA

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

  Under the new FAFSA 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…

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