Nine Secrets to Beating the High Cost of College
You are the parent of a college bound student, and you're probably wondering how in the world you're going to pay for four years of college.
You have every right to be concerned since the range of a four-year college education today is between $80,000 and $250,000.
If you’re like most folks, you’ll probably end up mortgaging your house to the hilt or spending your entire life’s savings to muster up enough money to send your child to college. Or even worse, if you don’t have the home equity or money in the bank, you’ll end up sending your child to the least expensive school rather than the college that best suits them.
Either way, you’ll probably end up feeling guilty, frustrated, angry, when you have to tell your child the truth; “I just can’t afford to send you to the college of your choice. You’ll have to settle for a state university or a local community college.”
What if I told you in most cases you don’t have to make these painful decisions?
Here’s the good news: my name is Stuart Grossman. I am the president of College Funding Systems, one of the leading college financial counseling services on the west coast.
I guarantee you we’ll discover how to beat the high cost of college or your money back.
I know that sounds too good to be true, but it really is possible. In fact, many families discover they can send their child to an expensive private university for a cost similar to that of a state university.
I guess you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this. The answer is quite simple: we have personally helped parents like you send their children to expensive private and state universities that they never thought they could afford.
And there’s a good chance I can do the same for you. I am offering you one free financial aid test – one hour of my time ($150 value).
During your free consultation, we will further delve into the nine secrets of beating the high cost of college.
1. Why some middle-class and upper-middle-class parents pay less than we intuitively think for their children’s college educations.
Most middle and upper-middle-class parents automatically assume they won’t be eligible for financial aid if they make over $100,000 per year and if they own their home.
In most cases, these parents are eligible for some form of financial aid. The process also takes into consideration the total number of family members, how many of these family members will be attending college at the same time, the cost of the colleges and universities being applied to, etc. Don’t assume you won’t be eligible. We’ve even discovered a way for higher income, higher tax bracket families earning well over $150,000 per year to pay for college on a tax-favored basis.
2. Why Some High School Guidance Counselors and “Financial Aid Nights” may not Solve ALL your College Funding Problems
Many parents assume that all of their concerns will be answered at “Financial Aid Nights”, or by their child’s guidance counselor. Unfortunately, this may not be the case.
Many guidance counselors specialize in helping students pick colleges according to their interests, but they may not have the financial expertise to help you as a parent figure out which colleges can give you the most financial aid based on your specific needs.
Financial Aid Nights are often targeted towards filling out financial aid forms and meeting deadlines. While you can learn all the basics of filling out paperwork for financial aid, the presenters probably won’t have the expertise to help you ideally position your assets so you can receive the greatest benefit from the financial aid system. Also, they may not be able to help you negotiate to get the best possible financial aid package from each college.
Guidance counselors are fantastic and are certainly an underappreciated resource. However, the above tasks are better suited to a college funding advisor.
3. How to send your child to an expensive private school for a cost similar to that of a state school.
Believe it or not, some private schools end up costing a similar amount compared to a state school.
How can this be? Let me explain.
No matter what school your child applies to, you will have to pay your “family contribution” (the minimum amount of money the government will expect your family to pay at any school).
Let’s say your child applies to two schools; one private university and one state university. The private university costs $50,000 a year and a state university costs $20,000 per year.
Let’s assume your family contribution is calculated to be $5,000 which again, is the minimum the government expects you to pay toward either school.
Here’s what happens: because the private university is well endowed and has a lot of money to distribute, they end up offering you financial aid that will cover a majority of the expenses above $5,000. So all you have to pay out of pocket to send your child is $5,000 plus the small portion they don’t cover.
Unfortunately, the state school does not have a lot of money to distribute and they offer you only $4,000 in aid. Therefore, you end up paying the $5,000 plus the other $11,000 they left you short.
It can actually end up being cheaper to send your child to a private school.
4. How to lower your out of pocket costs and get the maximum amount of money from each school.
Certain assets are counted much more heavily in financial aid formulas than others. Where you allocate your savings and investments could make the difference between being awarded $10,000 in financial aid and being awarded nothing. If you don’t know how to legally and ethically position your assets properly for the purpose of financial aid, you could end up losing thousands in financial aid.
5. How to pick colleges that will give you the best financial aid packages, more free money, and less in loans.
Some schools are well endowed and have the ability to award quite a lot of money to students. Other schools have very little money to give away.
It’s important for you to know this information before you ever apply to a school.
By knowing in advance which schools give you the best financial aid packages, you can have your child pick schools that offer them the best chance of attractive financial aid packages. This way, you don’t waste your money and time applying to and visiting schools that you will never be able to afford.
6. How to fill out the complicated financial aid forms accurately and on time (failure to do so could cost you thousands of dollars in financial aid).
Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. It is imperative that you submit your forms accurately and on time or you will miss out on thousands of dollars in financial aid for which you would have been eligible.
Simple mistakes like omitting a Social Security number or placing assets in the wrong category can cause your application to be bumped. If this happens, you will have to reprocess your financial aid forms which can take them another two to three weeks.
7. How to locate and apply for every need-based scholarship, grant, and low-interest loan that your child may be eligible for.
Leave no stone unturned when searching for money for college. Be sure to apply to all need-based sources of funding through the federal government, the state in which you live, and the colleges and universities to which your child is applying. Most of these financial aid programs can be applied for by simply filling out the federal form (the FAFSA) and in some cases, the institutional form (the CSS profile).
8. How to pay for your child’s education on a tax-favored basis.
Do you make in excess of $175,000 per year? If you answered yes, you may not qualify for need-based aid. What if I told you there was a way for you to make college tuition tax-advantaged. Do you think that might save you some money? On average, we can show higher-income clients how to save $4,000 per year in taxes.
9. How to send your child to the college of their choice without spending your life savings or paying out of your current income.
Just like a good CPA can help you lower your tax liability, a good college funding consultant can often help you garner more money for your child’s college education. But before you pick a consultant, make sure they offer the following services:
- Help you arrange your income and assets to lower your out of pocket costs and increase your eligibility for college aid.
- Help you pick the schools that have the best shot of offering you aid.
- Help you complete (or complete for you) the two main financial aid forms required.
- Help you negotiate the best possible aid packages, once you have received your award letters.
Not taking advantage of these nine secrets could cost you thousands of dollars in forsaken aid. Don’t let it happen to you!