Most students and families don’t go into the college process intending to graduate with debt in the high five figures. So how does it happen? Here is a great article explaining common mistakes families make in the college planning process that lead to increased borrowing and debt loads.
The change in the FAFSA’s timing from winter to fall has some potentially unforeseen consequences. One is student summer jobs. Even at minimum wage, a student who worked full-time for the summer may have earned $3,000 or more. Students who saved their summer income with the intent to spend it over the course of the school year may Continue reading What to do with Summer Job Money?
This article from Ron Lieber at the New York Times highlights some recent bipartisan efforts to help students and families better understand the cost of college. (As he points out towards the end, even if these come to no avail, the information is available to those who seek it.)
Friends are having a FAFSA nightmare: their daughter’s EFC came back as 60% of their income. They suspect the reason for this is that he consolidated his retirement accounts, rolling several over into a single larger account, and that some or all of that rollover is showing as an IRA distribution. Fortunately they have the records to show that this was Continue reading FAFSA Income Surprises
Here is an article I wrote for another advisor’s site on college affordability.
As fall kicks into gear, students begin looking in earnest at colleges. Kids tend to focus on a few core aspects of colleges when creating and narrowing down a list: majors available, location, big vs small. Later in the school year, I get calls from panicked parents whose students have fallen in love with and often been accepted to wonderful Continue reading What Colleges Can You Afford?
Should you find yourself in the fortunate situation of having more 529 dollars available than needed, there are several things you can spend those dollars on that you might not have thought of: Continue reading 7 More Uses for 529 Funds
This article highlights several trends that may actually be working to bring college tuition down.
The FAFSA’s new timing– fall instead of spring and prior-prior income year– means that many students’ summer jobs will have a bigger impact on their EFC. That’s because any amount of money they made that is still in their bank account when they fill out the FAFSA is an asset that will be assessed at 20%. (Remember, students don’t get an asset protection allowance.) Need-eligible families may want to consider a couple of steps to Continue reading Summer Jobs and FAFSA
One problem with a phrase like “rule of thumb” is that when you type it, it’s in your mind for long enough to seem extra weird. Setting that aside, a recent New York Times article has some good suggestions for simplifying the college savings process. Among them: Continue reading College Savings “Rules of Thumb”