1Q: Why do people hire you?
A: Could you file your taxes without an Accountant? Yes. However, many people choose to hire an accountant in order to minimize their tax liability. It’s pretty much the same thing except we specialize in maximizing your student’s aid eligibility and help with strategies to lower your overall out-of-pocket educational expenses. You could do it yourself, as many parents have. You could also work with the school guidance counselor. Or as many parents have done before, you can work with the financial aid officer at the college. However, you should ask yourself three questions.
1.) If you have never done something before, how do you know you are doing it right?
2.) Does your guidance counselor have the time to give you personalized attention and do they have the financial expertise to help you lower the cost of college?
3.) Do you think the financial aid officer at the college is working in your best interest?
2Q: What are your fees and are they worth it?
A: The fees we charge depend on the type of service you select with us. It is all based on your individual situation and scope of work. If you go to a doctor and all you need is a Band-Aid and a prescription, it is probably not going to cost that much. But, if there is a larger underlying issue and the doctor has to take x-rays and run you through the gamut, then it is going to cost much more. That is why we offer strategy sessions designed to your assess your situation. If we can’t make a significant impact on lowering your cost of college and helping you pay for it efficiently, then we will not take you on as a client. In short, the fees we charge depend on your situation, scope of work, and how much value we can provide for you.
3Q: Is this legal:
A: 100%. All of the techniques we employ are followed to the letter of the law. People that understand how the college aid system works get more out of it. Our goal is to simply to help you understand how the system works so you can play by the rules more efficiently .
4Q: What exactly is Financial Aid?
A: Financial Aid is money given by the federal government, state governments, and colleges to help students pay for post-secondary education costs. These monies come in the form of either Gift Aid or Self-help Aid. Gift aid consists of grants and scholarships and does not have to be paid back. Self-help aid consists of subsidized student loans and work study. Knowing how much and what type of aid you qualify for is key to bringing down your over-all costs.
5Q: My parents make upwards of $100,000 a year; can we still qualify for aid?
A: Despite what a lot of parents and students think, the amount you earn is only slightly important. Income is only one of several factors used to determine financial aid. There are many other aspects that come into play such as parents age, other family members in college, and assets. Aid is awarded every year to families with higher than average incomes who thought they would otherwise not qualify.
6Q: I heard that there are unclaimed awards that I can get, is that true?
A: Yes, however these represent less than 5% of all aid dispersed. The majority of aid comes from the federal government and the colleges themselves! That is why it is important to know how to maximize this type of aid to take advantage of these opportunities.
7Q: I have average grades, can I still get Financial Aid?
A: There are many academic merit based scholarships. However, most of the aid dispersed is based on financial need rather than your grades. This is not to say that you shouldn’t try to attain good grades, but they will not be considered in the aid determination process.
8Q: My student has no clue about what they want to do or where they want to go to school. How could you possibly be of any help to us?
A: We offer a complete college planning service. This means that it starts with academic and career planning. If your student has not already decided what career track they want to pursue, we provide the tools, resources, and expertise to make that discovery. It is only by doing this first that we can choose the right school, for the right major, for the right reasons, for the right price!
9Q: I heard that I should only apply for aid after I have been accepted, is that true?
A: That couldn’t be further from the truth. College admission deadline are usually after Aid application deadlines. If you do this, you could be in jeopardy of losing out on aid that would have been otherwise given.
10Q: My family saved money for college, is that going to disqualify us from obtaining aid?
A: Saving for college is a luxury that some people don’t have. So if you have the opportunity not only is it a prudent thing, but a blessing as well. It really depends on where you saved the money (i.e. CD, 529 Plan, Savings acct) and what school you apply to. Different schools have different criteria as to how they will calculate your share of costs (also known as EFC). You won’t necessarily be disqualified; however, you could potentially miss out on aid opportunities depending on how the money was saved.
11Q: When should I start the college planning process?
A: It is never too early or too late to start the process. The most important part is that your process and plan is efficient . If your children are about 14 years and younger, you are going to be me more in the phase of saving than college planning. If your children are older than 14, you are going to be more in the phase of strategic college planning. This means we are going to be bracing for the “impact” of college costs and trying to minimize those as much as possible. Due to the timeline of our business, we do have to limit the number of families we accept. We would love to help as many parents as possible, but that just isn’t the case. The fall is usually our busiest time of year.

Q: If what you thought to be true about the cost of college wasn’t true, when would you want to know?

A: That’s for you to decide!