In our work of helping families navigate the college process. it continually shocks me how few have not had the “money talk,” either between the parents and/or between parents and child. Given the cost of college today, this is highly irresponsible at best, if not downright dangerous. I haven’t heard of many married couples not…

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  The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (SECURE) Act signed into law at the end of 2019 includes two significant college planning changes that families need to know about.   529 Plans can now be used to repay student loans Previously, 529 Plans could be used for qualified college expenses and $10,000 annually of…

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Completing the FAFSA when parents are divorced is one of the most confusing scenarios for families, because custodial terms and who claims the child on the tax return do not necessarily apply. Which parent info is provided on the FAFSA? Regardless of the legal custody arrangement, the divorced parent with whom the student lived with more…

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So much energy and attention gets placed on the process of applying to colleges, that families often aren’t sure what to do once they have been accepted. And many are certainly unprepared for the intensity of the courtship that is about to ensue. Here is what every family should know heading into this stage of…

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1 Choose a college that is a fit academically, socially AND financially. And a financial fit inherently means that neither the student nor the parents are over-borrowing (see #2). 2 Borrow an amount no greater than the average first-year salary in your chosen field. If total student loan debt is less than your starting salary,…

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Identify the average starting salary for the field the student is planning to go into, and the family should not have any more than that number in total education loans. Considering a school that would leave you with $35,000 debt for an undergraduate electrical engineering degree? That would pass the test for an acceptable amount…

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With the college admissions scandal all over the news, we wanted to respond as members of the vast majority of the college counseling world that work with families honestly and ethically. It’s incredibly upsetting that people would manipulate the college admission system in this way, and every industry seems to have a very small number…

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Talk about a double whammy! Despite the rising cost of college, families are at the same time seeing an increase in their EFC (expected family contribution), which is what they are expected to contribute before any financial aid kicks in. In other words, a family with the exact same income and assets today as one…

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