Parents

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Having “The Talk” — Get the Right College Fit for Your Student & Your Budget

So your kid has finished with college visits and read through all the admissions brochures and has decided on their top-choice colleges. Now is the time to make sure that potential schools are a good fit–for both of you.
Many parents overlook just how much emotion comes into play when making college decisions. Hopefully, your student has more stringent criteria than which school has the best football team or simply wanting to go to the same school as their friends. Your emotions can also get in the way when faced with the reality of your child heading off to college and the desire to make their dream school a reality. These emotions can lead to some very expensive tuition bills.
No worries, we’re here to remind you about your financial priorities. Before the college applications are submitted and the “dream” school chosen, you need to decide what the maximum out-of-pocket costs you are willing to pay each year for your child’s college education. Setting these funds aside will affect your retirement plans, so you need to feel very comfortable with the amount.
The next step is to sit down your student and share this budget with them. Any school that doesn’t fit in this budget, after merit aid and any additional financial assistance, needs to be taken off the list of potential colleges. By proactively discussing your budget and working with your student on their college list, making a final college choice when the acceptance letters pour in will go that much smoother.
College Funding Group can help your family identify dozens of colleges around the country that are the right fit for your student and your budget. Find out more about College Funding Group’s services.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Have a College Funding Plan

You’ve been saving money for college since the day your child was born. You’ve got a tidy bucket of cash in a 529 plan. Now your little one is a rising junior, and it’s time to plan for her or his college career.

What’s your plan?

If you think that, given your income and/or assets, that you’ll just have to write a check, you’re making a mistake. Would you pay sticker price for a car? Why would you pay sticker price for a college education?

Here are the top 5 reasons to have a college funding plan:

1.    You can pay for college with pre-tax dollars.

  • By taking advantage of often overlooked portions of the tax code, your family can create “tax scholarships.”  A tax scholarship is any new found tax deduction that creates money you can use to reduce the cost of college. In essence, you can have the IRS pay a big piece of your college expenses.

2.    You can get tuition discounts from schools, even if you don’t qualify for need-based aid.

  • If your child is a great fit for a school, that college or university will want your child to attend. Use that to your financial advantage and negotiate with the school, ask about discounts and grant programs that can reduce the sticker price of tuition.

3.    You can send your child to a top school for the same price as a small state college.

  • Using tax scholarships, tuition discounts, merit-based aid, grants, and your negotiating skills, you can reduce the cost of an expensive private university to less than a state school.

4.    You can achieve your family’s educational goals without sacrificing your values.

  • Help your child get a great education without putting yourself in debt, or sacrificing your retirement goals. Demonstrate financial responsibility in service of a life goal.

5.    Your child learns the value of planning, and participates in charting his or her own future.

  • Your college-bound child can learn valuable life lessons by leading the charge on discovering private scholarships, learning how to assess their interests and skills to find the right college fit, and becoming the project lead on one of life’s most important projects.

Work with your college-bound student to help get him, or her, off to a great start on a meaningful education, and career. It’s all in the planning!

 
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