College and Private Education Planning
College planning and private education funding can be a complex process. Navigating the options and decisions can be time-consuming and extremely expensive. Our team helps you understand all the available strategies and determine which ones apply to your family’s situation. With education costs skyrocketing year after year, your intentions will most likely have an impact on your retirement planning or other future goals. We help you intertwine the competing demands.
Our Planning Approach Considers 5 Key Components:
- Paying for college – Best strategies for saving and paying
- Financial aid – Two types: merit aid and need-based aid
- College selection – Only 15% of students are happy with their college choice
- Responsibilities – Outlining the responsibilities of both parents and students
- What to avoid – Common mistakes and inappropriate advice
Education planning is about integrating each one of these areas into a comprehensive coordinated plan.
At Total Wealth Planning, we have developed a four-year college planning checklist, which begins with each child’s freshman year of high school, to help manage the planning process. As each year of high school progresses, so do activities of both parent and student. It specifically outlines the responsibilities of both parents and students each year. It starts with simple things like establishing good study habits, striving for a high GPA and enhancing vocabulary and writing skills. For parents, step one is beginning to understand the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)—and whether repositioning of income and assets to increase eligibility for financial aid—is warranted. In addition, parents must decide their own financial commitment. This is not an easy decision, but one that must be planned out by establishing specific goals and objectives.
What to Avoid
In our “what to avoid step”, we help parents avoid certain mistakes that can harm a student’s ability to receive needs-based or merit-based financial aid. We help you become aware of the numerous scholarship search scams and college consultants promising a whole host of awards and other aid packages that typically do not come through.