Posts by Chris Wills

4 last-chance financial aid strategies for parents of juniors

With last year’s big change to the FAFSA, families of current HS juniors (2019 grads) will now use tax information from 2 years prior to their year of HS graduation when they complete their first FAFSA in the 2018-2019 school year. This is a huge deal because whatever those families are doing (or not doing)…

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4 essential FAFSA tips

The FAFSA is now available for families of HS seniors and college students starting October 1 and will use tax info from 2 years prior to the term being applied for (2016 tax year info for students starting college in Fall 2018), which was a change made last year. We see families commonly make significant…

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Federal student loan rates go up for 2017-18

For families that take out federal student loans, college just got a bit more expensive. Starting July 1, 2017, federal loan interest rates are going up for loans taken out to pay for the 2017-18 academic year:   Undergrads will pay a rate of 4.45%, up from the current 3.76% Graduate students will pay a rate…

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5 tips for negotiating with colleges

For many colleges, May 1 is National College Decision Day, the deadline for families to make deposits to attend the college of their choice.   But before families make their final decision and begin forking over lots of money to attend college, they should know it is possible to negotiate with colleges to get a…

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The big problem facing Twin Cities’ small colleges

CIT’s Jay Benanav was recently interviewed in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Small private colleges are being pinched by higher costs and declining cash levels, and national trends aren’t in their favor  Patrick Rehkamp Data Reporter Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal Several small Twin Cities private colleges use adjectives such as “innovation,” “creativity” and…

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Top strategies to help grandchildren with college

With the holiday season upon us, there is a new way grandparents may want to consider spoiling their grandchildren. Today’s retirees have accumulated wealth at unprecedented levels and combined with the rising cost of college, many now are taking advantage of an opportunity to provide a legacy of education to their grandchildren. However, without understanding the…

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3 ways families can lose financial aid

As if it isn’t hard enough to finance college, many families overlook the strings attached to maintaining the financial aid they received freshman year. It’s easy to see how this happens. Families are grateful for any financial aid they get and simply assume it will be the same every year. But there are a number…

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Asset protection allowance down sharply

As if paying for college wasn’t hard enough for families, the amount of assets you are allowed to have that are exempt from the federal financial aid formula plummeted by 29% from just a year ago and a stunning 60% from 10 years ago. First, a quick overview of the asset protection allowance: The general concept is…

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