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Insider tips for the week of February 3, 2020

  Major change to 529 Plans – The SECURE Act signed at the end of last year includes a major change that now allows 529 Plan dollars to be used to pay for student loans. However, certain states need to conform their tax laws to the federal one, otherwise folks in those states may face…

3 tips for having the college money talk

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…

Insider tips for the week of January 13, 2020

  College savings cheat sheet – Financial aid guru Mark Kantrowitz shares some tremendous advice with Katie Couric on how parents can best approach the financial aspect of college. Among my favorites: Parents overestimate eligibility for merit aid, underestimate eligibility for need-based aid, and aren’t aware that most colleges meet financial need with loans, not…

2 valuable college planning changes in the SECURE Act

  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…

Insider tips for the week of Dec. 9, 2019

Need-to-know financial aid info – Mycollegeguide.org has a handy summary of everything your family needs to know about financial aid. Insightful questions for an admission officer  – It’s hard to make the decision of what college to attend. Use this helpful list of questions from Road2College to ask the admission office at each of the…

Filling out the FAFSA when there are divorced parents

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…

You’ve been accepted, now what?

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…

5 Nuggets of College Planning Wisdom

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,…

Insider tips for the week of Nov. 4, 2019

Student Loans from A to Z – Trying to figure out the borrowing side of college? Road2College.com has a nice summary of student loans and pros and cons of each type. One important message: Students should always max out federal loans before looking into private loans, but you must fill out the FAFSA to qualify…

Insider tips for the week of Oct. 7, 2019

Are you a guilted parent? – Saying no to our kids is hard, especially when it has to do with their education and future. Lynn O’Shaughnessy writes an important article on parents feeling guilted to pay for a college their teenager wants, but they may not be able to afford. 6 questions that should be…