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A New Approach to College Planning – Benefits and Testimonials

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Diamond Package – Never Overpay for College

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Why You Should Apply for Financial Aid, Even if You Can Afford College

Why You Should Apply for Financial Aid, Even if You Can Afford College
As you already know, college is expensive! Many families across the country are kept awake at night struggling to figure out how they will afford to put their kids through college. If you are one of the lucky few that are financially secure for such an expenditure, you may be certain that you will not qualify for financial aid. You may ask yo [...]

Beware of Financial Aid Deadlines

Beware of Financial Aid Deadlines
I recently met with a family who was extremely frustrated by the lack of money that they received from the school that their daughter was going to attend. The student scored a 33 on the ACT Test, however she was awarded zero dollars in financial aid. She was attending a state school and therefore a 33 should have been more than enough to re [...]

Differences Between MyTuitionScore and the Scorecard

Differences Between MyTuitionScore and the Scorecard
You may have already heard of the government’s updated “College Scorecard.” This Scorecard compiles data from two-year and four-year schools nationally so that you may compare colleges’ annual cost, graduation rates, and average salary for students post-graduation. Also, the Scorecard site will calculate your family’s eligibility [...]

Understanding the Role of SAT Subject Tests

When the time comes to submit college applications, it’s easy to look back at what caused the most consistent stress: A bevy of timelines, deadlines and requirements. Once the application process has passed, the worst feeling for a student or parent is a sense of regret at missed opportunity. Beyond the obvious, better grades, activities an [...]

Private Loan Options

  Whenever the news examines college funding in America, you can bet the topic of student loan debt will be front and center. While it is impossible to trivialize a 1 TRILLION dollar problem, issues with parents going into debt seems to garner far less attention. In reality, many students can only borrow a limited amount for college [...]

Five College Application Tips

  Imagine the feeling of four years of hard work yielding your child’s greatest dream: Admission to their first choice college. Now imagine all of that hard work going by the wayside due to a poorly completed application. Here are five tips to help the college see a true picture of your student’s high school experience: 1. Understa [...]

Financial Aid Award Negotiations Tips

We have put together three quick tips to help you understand financial aid award negotiations. Tip #1: Understand the Principle Terms for Negotiation Before a negotiation can take place, it is first necessary to review the SAR or Student Aid Report which indicates the EFC or Expected Family Contribution. This number when coupled with the scho [...]

The CSS Profile

  Step into any lecture on financial aid for college or even college financial aid offices themselves and the following will likely occur: The acronym FAFSA will be pronounced in ten different ways. The FAFSA, which stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the federal formula designed to determine the Expected Famil [...]

The 568 Presidents’ Group

  Colleges come in all shapes and sizes with populations that mirror all facets of our great country. Each university brings something unique to the table but some universities view themselves differently than all the rest. In the college world, the exclusive 568 Presidents Group are a group of school’s that march to a beat of a diffe [...]

Federal Loan Programs

  America is a melting pot in which individuals from various races and ethnicities come together to form our great country. While we all have our own customs, traditions and problems, one commonality unites us all: We borrow a considerable amount of money for college! One way to borrow for college is through federal loans that are off [...]

The Pell Grant Myth

  I have a statistic for you: 94% of families think the college process is extremely difficult. Do you buy it? Well, it may actually be close to accurate but like many of the stats out there, it is made up. Clever, right? The college process is filled with inaccurate information and it is imperative to be able to tell the difference [...]

Introducing The WUE Program

  Some say that the west coast is the best coast but we don’t discriminate. When it comes to saving for college though, some of our friends out west do get to enjoy an exciting advantage over the rest of the country. While reciprocity or tuition discounts for neighboring states is not specific to the west coast, the Western Undergrad [...]

Three College Admission Essay Tips

  Life today is a lot easier than it was back in the mid-1800’s when famous American Novelist Herman Melville was at his best. However, Melville didn’t have to worry about the SAT’s, his GPA and having a strong balance of extracurricular activities. Interestingly, one of the New York City native’s most famous quotes parallels what st [...]

EFC: The Basics

  In the college world, the term Expected Family Contribution would seem to have an obvious definition. Logically, one would think the Expected Family Contribution or EFC would signify what a family can actually afford to pay for school. Yet, this could not be further from the truth. The EFC itself is just a starting point. Let’s beg [...]

Working With An Independent Counselor

  The college admission process is overwhelming. Applications to complete, exams to take, campuses to visit, grades to maintain, endless information, and the need to keep peace in the home. It’s enough to turn normally rational parents and students into over-stressed and anxious worriers. How are some families able to navigate the pro [...]

Two Common Pell Grant Myths Explained

Two Common Pell Grant Myths Explained
Statistics can be awfully misleading. Consider the fact that the average Pell Grant appropriation has increased over 300% since the program started in the mid 1970’s. Sounds terrific doesn’t it? In theory it might, except for the fact that the cost of tuition and room and board in that same span has increased over 600%! We could [...]

Tips for a Successful College Admission Essay

Famous American Novelist Herman Melville never had to worry about the rigors of applying to college. Life today is a lot easier than it was back in the mid-1800’s when Melville was at his best but at least he didn’t have to worry about the SAT’s, his GPA and having a strong balance of extracurricular activities. However, one of the New York [...]

EFC: Deductible or True Cost?

On the surface, the term “Expected Family Contribution,” seems to have an obvious definition. Logically, one would think the Expected Family Contribution or EFC would signify what a family can afford to pay for school. Thus, it would appear that the EFC would represent a true cost for college and provide families a number to plan for. Howeve [...]

The Athletic Scholarships Myth

All across America on Saturday’s in the fall, friends and families join together to enjoy the pageantry and excitement of college football. In mid-March, the same type of jubilation occurs as fans get together to root for college basketball players with the ability to burst or boon their NCAA tournament brackets. These athletes put on displa [...]

Myth of the Availability of Merit-Based Aid

College recruiters are in a sense like parents of small children. In order to get their children to behave, act in a certain manner or perform a sometimes very simple task, an award is offered. Take away the award and many children, through no fault of their own, are less likely to follow directions or put their best foot forward. College re [...]

Planning for College: Factors to Consider

Take a moment and rewind 40, 30 or even 20 years and consider what constituted the college planning “process.” For many families it went something like this: student takes the SAT’s, student applies to a school or two of interest, student gets accepted, student (or family) pays the bill or the student borrows a minimal amount of money for lo [...]

Let’s Discuss The WUE Program

Let’s Discuss The WUE Program
With the outrageous cost of college these days, many families dread hearing the following: “Mom, Dad, I want to go to college out of state.” While private universities are also very expensive (the same in-state as out of state), with the additional merit based and need based aid available at many of these schools, it is the out of state unive [...]

The Value of High School Internships

The Value of High School Internships
Entitlements and short term thinking have a considerable impact on the world we live in today. This is especially true of the younger generation that have access to technology and ease in a way that previous generations could not relate. With this mindset comes a bottom line mentality and a need for instant gratification. Internships are a g [...]

Free Money vs. Loans: Am I Being Tricked?

Free Money vs. Loans: Am I Being Tricked?
On a frigid winter day with streets covered in snow and slush, a career as an auto mechanic might not sound appealing. Of course given the specific skill set needed to be an auto mechanic, this career may not appeal to many people even on a 95 degree island. One advantage however to being a mechanic is an advanced knowledge of cars, a subject [...]

Student Borrowing Increases Among Affluent

This story was written by By Janet Lorin and originally published on Bloomberg.com. Students from affluent families are taking out loans for college at twice the rate of two decades ago, the fasting-growing borrower’s group. Fifty percent of graduates in the class of 2012 whose parents had incomes of more than $125,700 left college with loans [...]

Understanding Federal Loans

Understanding Federal Loans
In the world of borrowing for college, we finally have some good news for families: The percentage of money borrowed to pay for college, as opposed to the amount of money paid out of pocket, has decreased by five percent! Here is an “exciting” snippet from the Wall Street Journal citing information from this year’s study by Sallie Mae and Ips [...]

Mastering the Format of the SAT

The following words when spoken by a teacher are simply dreadful to the ears of the stereotypical slow test taker: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, pencils down class!” Individuals like yours truly understand the agony that comes from having several blank questions and zero time left during a standardized test. Especially when it comes to the SAT, time is of [...]

Why The College Application Essay Matters

Many young adults in 2014 do not have a strong sense of history and thus cannot appreciate 60’s/70’s Classic Rock bands like The Who. Arguing about the merits of music during a golden g-g-g-g-generation is certainly not what this article is about but one song from The Who, not the song subtly referenced earlier in this sentence, ties directly [...]

The College Process: Why So Challenging?

The following is a fictional conversation between a mother and her junior in high school daughter, but it may seem awfully familiar. Mother: Alright kiddo, it’s time to start discussing college so we can figure out how we are going to pay for your education. Student: But I’m not sure what I want to do or where I want to go, how am I supposed [...]

Finding the Best Resource for Financial Aid Planning

Within our business, we constantly hear concerns from families about their struggles to fund the cost of college. Unfortunately, given the yearly increases to these brutal college prices, this difficulty will not soon go away. As in any difficult situation however, parents can ease their burden by understanding the value that comes from seeki [...]

Include Renter’s Insurance In Your Plans

In life, perhaps only one time period represents a feeling of near invincibility. This grand time is known as college but perception is often not reality. While it is easier to bounce back from a lack of sleep or a big, greasy meal as a young adult than as an adult, college students are far from invincible. Just like adults need Car, Homeowne [...]

Five Admission Application Tips

By fall of senior year for high school students, the bulk of the work has been completed. Stressful standardized testing continues for some but the picture presented to the college has all but been set in stone. However, the last step of the process of gaining acceptance to college is arguably as critical or more critical than the rest: Physi [...]

The Cost of Travel for Students & Parents

For the Roberts family, the big day has finally arrived: Ralphie Roberts is moving into his dorm room! Ronald, Regina and little sister Rachel are feeling bittersweet about the experience. On one hand, they will miss Ralphie tremendously but on the other, they are thrilled that he is about to begin a new, crucial chapter in his life. After th [...]

Dorm Room Necessities, Amenities & Style Items

Some adults take a great deal of pride in our ability to decorate and setup our homes. Developing a style, sticking to a theme and making the home feel right are all very important to many families. In this same way, college students want to feel comfortable and excited about their dorm rooms and require the same necessities that adults need [...]

3 Factors in Making the College Decision

High school guidance counselors provide an invaluable service to students across America. These talented individuals help students chose an appropriate schedule, learn how to mature enough to attend college, juggle modern-day personal issues and collect college applications to send out to sometimes 10-20 colleges. This is just a summary of wh [...]

Financial Aid: Going All In

In today’s world of distractions, parents have the dubious task of trying to focus young people with heads in smart phones, iPad’s and whatever else just came out yesterday. As new technologies evolve, the challenge becomes greater but ultimately it is parents that need to instill character-building qualities in their children. One important [...]

Free Money vs. Loans: Am I Being Tricked?

Free Money vs. Loans: Am I Being Tricked?
On a frigid winter day with streets covered in snow and slush, a career as an auto mechanic might not sound appealing. Of course given the specific skill set needed to be an auto mechanic, this career may not appeal to many people even on a 95 degree island. One advantage however to being a mechanic is an advanced knowledge of cars, a subject [...]

Mastering the Format of the SAT

Mastering the Format of the SAT
The following words when spoken by a teacher are simply dreadful to the ears of the stereotypical slow test taker: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, pencils down class!” Individuals like yours truly understand the agony that comes from having several blank questions and zero time left during a standardized test. Especially when it comes to the SAT, time is of [...]

Why The College Application Essay Matters

Why The College Application Essay Matters
Many young adults in 2014 do not have a strong sense of history and thus cannot appreciate 60’s/70’s Classic Rock bands like The Who. Arguing about the merits of music during a golden g-g-g-g-generation is certainly not what this article is about but one song from The Who, not the song subtly referenced earlier in this sentence, ties directly [...]

The College Process: Why so Challenging?

The College Process: Why so Challenging?
The following is a fictional conversation between a mother and her junior in high school daughter, but it may seem awfully familiar. Mother: Alright kiddo, it’s time to start discussing college so we can figure out how we are going to pay for your education. Student: But I’m not sure what I want to do or where I want to go, how am I supposed [...]

Finding the Best Resource for Financial Aid Planning

Finding the Best Resource for Financial Aid Planning
Within our business, we constantly hear concerns from families about their struggles to fund the cost of college. Unfortunately, given the yearly increases to these brutal college prices, this difficulty will not soon go away. As in any difficult situation however, parents can ease their burden by understanding the value that comes from seeki [...]

Include Renter’s Insurance In Your Plans

Include Renter’s Insurance In Your Plans
In life, perhaps only one time period represents a feeling of near invincibility. This grand time is known as college but perception is often not reality. While it is easier to bounce back from a lack of sleep or a big, greasy meal as a young adult than as an adult, college students are far from invincible. Just like adults need Car, Homeowne [...]

Five Admission Application Tips

Five Admission Application Tips
By fall of senior year for high school students, the bulk of the work has been completed. Stressful standardized testing continues for some but the picture presented to the college has all but been set in stone. However, the last step of the process of gaining acceptance to college is arguably as critical or more critical than the rest: Physi [...]

The Cost of Travel for Students & Parents

The Cost of Travel for Students & Parents
For the Roberts family, the big day has finally arrived: Ralphie Roberts is moving into his dorm room! Ronald, Regina and little sister Rachel are feeling bittersweet about the experience. On one hand, they will miss Ralphie tremendously but on the other, they are thrilled that he is about to begin a new, crucial chapter in his life. After th [...]

Dorm Room Necessities, Amenities & Style Items

Dorm Room Necessities, Amenities & Style Items
Some adults take a great deal of pride in our ability to decorate and setup our homes. Developing a style, sticking to a theme and making the home feel right are all very important to many families. In this same way, college students want to feel comfortable and excited about their dorm rooms and require the same necessities that adults need [...]

Making the Correct College Decision, 3 Biggest Factors

Making the Correct College Decision, 3 Biggest Factors
High school guidance counselors provide an invaluable service to students across America. These talented individuals help students chose an appropriate schedule, learn how to mature enough to attend college, juggle modern-day personal issues and collect college applications to send out to sometimes 10-20 colleges. This is just a summary of wh [...]

Financial Aid: Going All In

Financial Aid: Going All In
In today’s world of distractions, parents have the dubious task of trying to focus young people with heads in smart phones, iPad’s and whatever else just came out yesterday. As new technologies evolve, the challenge becomes greater but ultimately it is parents that need to instill character-building qualities in their children. One important [...]

Student Borrowing Increases Among Affluent

Student Borrowing Increases Among Affluent
This story was written by By Janet Lorin and originally published on Bloomberg.com. Students from affluent families are taking out loans for college at twice the rate of two decades ago, the fasting-growing borrower’s group. Fifty percent of graduates in the class of 2012 whose parents had incomes of more than $125,700 left college with loans [...]

Borrowing for School: Understanding Federal Loans

Borrowing for School: Understanding Federal Loans
In the world of borrowing for college, we finally have some good news for families: The percentage of money borrowed to pay for college, as opposed to the amount of money paid out of pocket, has decreased by five percent! Here is an “exciting” snippet from the Wall Street Journal citing information from this year’s study by Sallie Mae and Ips [...]