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529 Plans

College Planning After a Divorce

Students whose parents are divorced have some planning opportunities if the exes are willing to cooperate. The first step is of course to understand the planning areas. And the first step of that first step is to understand a key definition: “custodial parent.” Custodial parent is used in two primary places for college purposes, and in ways that are completely…

FAFSA vs CSS Profile

I write a lot about the FAFSA, but there’s a second financial aid form that’s also important: the CSS Profile. While all schools use the FAFSA to allocate federal funds such as Direct Student Loans, a subset of schools– primarily private schools– use the CSS Profile in their financial aid calculations. There are a few key differences between the two…

Preparing for the FAFSA

A lot of people ask about how to prepare for the FAFSA. Doing the FAFSA is a lot like doing your taxes. You can absolutely wait until April 15 to fill out your 1040, but you’ll probably save some money by thinking about your taxes in the fall and taking some steps before the end of the year to mitigate…

Ask the Experts: 529s

ICYMI, here is my conversation with Richard Ellis of my529. Some key takeaways: When looking for the “best” 529, start by checking if your state offers a tax benefit for contributions to its plan. If not, look for a plan that offers low-cost, diversified portfolios and low plan fees. Research has shown that students whose families have any amount of…