College is often the largest single financial investment and expense that parents face for their children, and the sticker price keeps going up. College funding is about your family’s overall financial life- the more you spend for college the less you’ll have for other things, and they do not give scholarships for retirement.
We work with families to help with Early, Accumulation, and Late Stage College Financial Planning. Determining how to make smart choices about colleges and educational funding is not easy, but fortunately there are strategies to make college costs more affordable. Besides the admissions process, college financial planning involves areas such as investing, financial aid, taxes, and how they all interact for education funding purposes, so understanding which strategies work best for your family can be complex.
Each Family is Unique
Some families have years to save, while others are looking at college costs in the near future. Beyond how much to save, and if it should go into a 529 plan, there are many questions, such as: Do high-income students have an advantage or disadvantage in the admission process? How does home equity impact financial aid? In what order should we draw funds from?
The out-of-pocket net cost of college for a family is the difference between the sticker price of a college and the total financial aid (if any) that the student receives to help pay for it. So it is important to get a good idea of which schools and colleges a student may get into, and how to maximize aid possibilities.
Regardless of whether your child qualifies for aid, your family still needs to figure out how to come up with your share of the cost of college – an amount that will often be very different from one college to another. Will you rely on your income, assets, student loans and gifts from grandma? If so, how will that all work? Will you be able to claim one of the education tax benefits? If so, which one will impact your child’s financial aid eligibility the least? Additionally, what about navigating deadlines and staying on track with the overall process?
The Best Late Stage Strategy
Your family’s best strategy to pay for college begins by considering your financial resources, the cost of the colleges that your child is considering, your child’s academic profile, your child’s eligibility for financial aid and the family’s eligibility for education tax credits. We use all of this information to identify your best strategy to pay for college, and produce answers to questions like:
Where might my child be able to get into college and get aid?
What is our best strategy to pay the net cost after aid is considered?
Do we make too much money to qualify for student aid?
Did we make a mistake by saving in our child’s name?
What can we do if we don’t qualify for aid?
How can we save money on taxes while paying for college?
What is the best way for grandparents to help pay for school?
We enjoy helping families create and implement a strategy to pay for college that best fits their unique situation. Our goal is to save you time and money, simplify the college planning process, help with the overall timeline, and integrate this decision in your family’s larger financial life.
If you are interested in a “Get Acquainted” meeting at no charge, give us a call!