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Insider tips for the week of August 22, 2016

Below are our insider tips to help your family with the complicated college process!   How one student saved $20,000 on college – It wasn’t lots of scholarships but rather some very savvy planning and decisions. In this must-read for you and your child, Money’s Megan Leonhardt provides a terrific playbook on how average families…

Insider Tips for the Week of August 1, 2016

Below are our insider tips to help your family with the complicated college process!   Scholarships with August deadlines: Check out this terrific list from our friend Jessica Velasco and find a couple that may be a good fit for your child.   15 things every parent needs to know – A thought-provoking list from…

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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…

MOO regional meeting slide show 7-14-16

Click the link below to download Chris Wills’ slide show from the MOO regional meeting on July 14, 2016. CIT Chris Mutual of Omaha power point

College costs even more than you thought it did

NPR has a helpful article on little-known costs of college. My two favorite takeaways: 1) Students living at home aren’t always saving money because they get less access to aid, and 2) Financial aid calculators overestimate how much parents can pay. Take a few minutes to read their 6 key findings.

New FAFSA rules help grandparents contribute

With future FAFSA forms now using tax returns from two years prior (known as “prior prior” in the college world), that adds another year that family members can help pay for college without it negatively affecting financial aid eligibility. First, some quick background: The three main factors used to calculate financial aid eligibility are Non-retirement…

Beware of bait-and-switch pricing

This helpful article from US News and World Report points out the financial aid award you receive only applies to the first year and some colleges reduce aid in subsequent years (or students don’t meet the criteria to continue to qualify). Either way, if combined with tuition increases, your family could be paying a lot…

How is an independent educational consultant different from a HS counselor?

Shane Bybee, owner of of Bybee College Prep, writes a wonderful explanation of how independent educational consultants (IECs) like College Inside Track complement the terrific work being done by high school counselors.

11 Common FAFSA mistakes

We recommend families always complete the FAFSA because you need it to receive any need-based aid, and even if you don’t qualify for financial aid based on your income, some colleges award merit aid (sometimes a few thousand dollars) just for completing it. With some recent changes to the FAFSA, the US Dept of Education recently shared a…

Holiday gift cards for college

You can give gift cards for Amazon, iTunes, and your favorite restaurant, so why not college? Check out this creative idea featured in the Chicago Tribune that you may want to share with your relatives!