Category Archives: Cost saving strategies

Earnings and Debt by Major

Last month, the Department of Education announced the release of earnings and debt levels by major and school. This is a fantastic level of transparency when a career path is already in mind. The data is available on College Scorecard.

For example, a student looking at Seattle University would see that the average annual cost is $35,006, with graduates’ starting salaries ranging from $22,000-$84,000 and median debt between $19,000-$27,650. Those are huge ranges, so not particularly helpful– owing $25,000 is not a problem if you’re making $80,000, but it probably is if you’re making $20,000. If you’re a nursing student, on the other hand, the numbers are considerably better:

SU RN

Where do you find this data? Go to College Scorecard, then search for a school, then expand the Fields of Study link.

Why Saving Early for College is So Important

A recent Sallie Mae study shows that on average, parents begin saving for college when their child is 7 years old. This makes sense: it’s right around when a child transitions from preschool or full-time daycare to full-time school, so for many families it’s the first time that they have any financial breathing room. Continue reading Why Saving Early for College is So Important

Haven’t Done the FAFSA Yet? Here’s Why You Should

Many families think there’s no point in doing the FAFSA because they assume they don’t have financial need. That reflects a fairly limited view of the FAFSA; in fact, there are plenty of good reasons why every family of a student who’s even potentially college-bound next year, regardless of the family’s financial position, should do it. Continue reading Haven’t Done the FAFSA Yet? Here’s Why You Should

Do AP and IB Classes Save Money on College?

High schools and others often promote AP, IB and dual credit classes as a way to save money on college, and for some students that’s certainly true. These classes have plenty of benefits other than saving money; however, I’m all about saving money on college so that is what I’m writing about. Continue reading Do AP and IB Classes Save Money on College?

FAFSA Basics: Student Income

Student income seems pretty straightforward on the surface. Students get an income protection allowance of $6,840 plus the same tax allowances as parents. Income in excess of the allowance is assessed at 50%. Given the prevailing minimum wage, it would appear that student income is not much of a factor. However, there are a few big items that get added into student income: Continue reading FAFSA Basics: Student Income

FAFSA Basics: An Example

Having gone through the FAFSA formula, let’s take a look at how it works with a few scenarios that illustrate how small changes can have big impacts on EFC, or alternatively, how big changes can have small impacts. Our hypothetical family is a family of four with two children, one a high school senior and the other a high school junior. Both parents are 48. Their 2018 household income was $106,800 and they filed married filing joint in 2018. They live in Oregon. To simplify life, let’s assume that all $106,800 is earned income. Neither student has income above the student income protection allowance ($6,840), nor does either have any assets. Continue reading FAFSA Basics: An Example