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5 Facts to Know Before Submitting Financial Aid

EVERYONE should file a FAFSA but not everyone should file the CSS Profile.  One of the biggest mistakes is assuming you make too much money to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Whether your child is getting ready for the first year of college or the last year at high school, this is an important time for you. While your child focuses on studying, you have to worry about paying the college bills.

And applying for aid isn’t easy.  In addition to keeping an eye on your child’s grades and exam results, your family will also need to review all of your tax and financial assets to ensure that you can afford the fees that the college demands.

Here are the five most important facts about financial aid:



How Divorced Parents Plan For College











There is so much misinformation about how divorced parents plan for college. Coupled with the emotions and stress you may feel about sending your children to college, it is no surprise many families make big mistakes.

As a child of divorce, I can tell you there are many worries going through your child’s mind. They fear that college will be another dividing issue. The last thing you want is to reopen their wounds or reinforce any thoughts that they were the reason for the split. It doesn’t take a psychologist to understand that young minds are still struggling with the family situation.

However, this is a great time to eliminate some scars from the past and help your child move on.

Here are some basic steps and pitfalls to help make a hard time happy.



Your 6 Step College Plan

The college plan is a very important process to lay out in detail. Sometimes, families can feel overwhelmed or stressed out by all the information, the forms, the applications, the deadlines, and the requirements. Now, if your child is already in their senior year of high school and hasn’t started on their college plan…well, let’s just say it’ll probably spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

So, how can you and your family get on the right track before trouble hits? Our team has 6 steps to help you get organized and get those documents submitted. Is your child plans to go to college in the next two years? Then this is the time to pull out all the stops.



The 5 Top Considerations for Early Decision and Early Action Success

ED vs EA












College applications can be a frenzied process. Parents are worried about their student’s future. Students are worried about hearing back from that dream school. Those of you with a student who is already set on a particular school may have come across the terms ‘early action’ or ‘early decision’. These terms are deceivingly similar. But, there is a huge difference in each. It is very important that families know what kind of contract they are signing when considering these application tactics. This will literally define your student’s future.

To compound this confusing problem, many families forget to ask their college planner about the benefits and limitations of these application tools. In this post, we cover two core components of the Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) process. Understanding these two terms is critical for your planning strategies. Specifically, utilizing financial positioning and a college’s acceptance rates.

Financial Positioning

You must know your financial position before beginning the college application process. This is even more important as you review using EA or ED. By knowing your financial position beforehand, you are able to accurately estimate a potential aid offer. Combining that with the higher acceptance rates usually produced by the EA / ED strategy can create an admissions win for the family. The pitfall of this strategy comes without a proper plan. If your family does not do their homework, then committing to a school too soon can be a disaster. You must know what kind of aid you can get, how your financial package will look, and if your family can really afford this school. All of this before earlier application deadlines. Sounds a little scary, right? Let’s break down the terms so you have a better idea of what your student will be getting into.

Early Decision Applications

ED programs are usually binding. This means applicants commit that they will attend that school if accepted. One advantage is applying to a highly-selective school that admits 26 to 50 percent of students from the early admissions pool. This can be a great technique for a student with a dream school and an application that may be overlooked in a larger pool.



Build a Better College Funding Plan

Save on the cost of college












Building the best college fund is a huge topic of concern for families. At least once a day David, Teresa, or I are asked, “How should I plan and pay for college?”

Even before I formulate a response, parents will say, “with a 529 account?”. 

Now, as someone who has witnessed the evolution of the 529 account, I cannot recommend its use 100% of the time.   Like any financial product, there are benefits and limitations to its use.  It is not a perfect tool for everyone.

Most people view the 529 account as a college funding strategy, but it is simply a financial product with benefits and limitations. I’ve seen the first hand impacts of said limitations in the form of higher costs for tuition.



How much does college cost?

College Costs are high

Many people ask me: “How much does college cost?”

Before providing a number, I am reminded of the families who have saved thousand using the college success plan and those whom called years later wishing they had followed the path outlines.   Now, how I answer that question will impact the colleges they select and potentially the happiness of their child for the rest of their lives.

See, if I tell them the average private school cost of attendance (COA) is $42,000+ annually, they might dismiss all private schools as too expensive or the average out of state public school cost is $32,500 on average, they might think “I can only afford to stay in Georgia.”

What they need to ask is: “how do I save save and have a successful outcome?” (more…)


Free Money for College












Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to more than 200 families on college financial aid at the AtlantaCares STEM event at Georgia Tech.

The last person scheduled, I had to follow a speaker that literally was a mix of Tony Robbins, Steve Harvey and Tyler Perry – he even had interactive props!  What can be learned is this…great information needs no props.  Our topic:  Free Money for College.

Understanding the three-legged stool of college planning can help your family save time, save money and most importantly be successful.  The core of the college success plan centers around helping you find the best college fit.  Following this recipe, your student should receive plenty of free money. (more…)


Get In-State Tuition at an Out of State Colleges

2 Strategies to Get In-State Tuition at an Out of State School

Get In-State Tuition – Academic Common Market

Paying for college tuition is a sizeable investment, but did you know out-of-state tuition may cost 2-3 more than in state tuition. At Peachtree, we want to help you find that “unicorn” college – one that fits the social and academic needs of the student and the affordability (financial fit) needs of the family.  Proper planning can deliver that perfect fit college for your child and pocketbook. You may have heard one of the following two strategies to help save on out of college costs, but please be cautious before you use them.



The Biggest College Planning Mistakes

Imagine looking back and realizing you made a mistake with your student’s college planning. Could things have been different?  How would that make you feel?  What if you had the answers you needed?  Don’t let mistakes we have seen families make unnecessarily over the last 10 years happen to you.   (more…)


5 Hints for Parents of College-Bound Families

College may seem far away (even for seniors) but it will be here before you know it. In no time at all, you’ll be helping your child settle in at their new school, and signing your first tuition check. You should begin preparing now, even if your child is in ninth grade.

For parents of seniors, you should be familiar with the schools in which your student plans apply. We suggest having a strong mix of safety schools, reach schools and other colleges you know your student will flourish. For all other parents, you should really start by understanding your financial fit and learning strategies to find the best colleges for your budget.

We’ve discussed Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and if you are unfamiliar with this term, you should start here. This post will cover a few recommended hints all families can implement to start saving before tuition kicks in.


Get 5 Hints for Parents with College-Bound Students…




5 Things To Do After Submitting For Financial Aid

Congratulations! Hopefully, you have completed your 2018–19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA) form!

If not, here is where you start. Your first step is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You need to fill out this paperwork every year for each student. The FAFSA allows your children to be eligible for any form of federal aid, including grants or loans. Fill out the FAFSA in early October . Once you submit your FAFSA, the financial aid administration will read through your application and calculate how much financial aid you will receive towards tuition—and how much you will pay on your own.

What should you do after filing the FAFSA?



Maximize Financial Aid with These 8 Tips (week 7)

College funding

Let’s face it, college tuition isn’t like any other major expense. If the price of plane tickets goes up, you can put off your vacation until prices drop. If interest rates sky rocket, you wait another year or two before upgrading your car.

Colleges around the country have found that the only way to get all the money they need is to ramp up tuition fees to historically new levels. Whatever budget you were imagining could fund your child’s education, there’s a good chance that you’re going to have to rethink the strategy. Fortunately, there are a number of options available that can help you pick up all the financial aid you need. At the very least, with the right advice, you should be able to take a significant amount of pain out of the annual budget. In fact, make the right moves now and you might even find it easy to pick up all the help you need.

So, how can your family maximize financial aid…?



5 Steps for a Fantastic Financial Aid Award

Walk onto any university campus and you’ll find two kinds of students.The first student barely has time to fully devote themselves to studying. They’re too worried about filling the holes in their financial aid award. While their friends are sitting at home writing papers and studying for exams, they’re serving fries in a restaurant to pay rent. Instead of buying books and getting a head start on the next week’s reading, they’re on the wait list at the library and praying that the book will be returned on time. These students hardly get to enjoy the college experience. And they aren’t necessarily the children of low-income families. They’re just as likely to have parents who are middle or even top earners.

The second type of student barely ever worries about their financial aid package. It’s just not a major issue. Their parents can easily finance the tuition bills. If they work, it’s just to top off the parental contribution or to give themselves an independent income. The parents’ lifestyles haven’t been changed by their student’s decision to go to college. This student has all the time and focus they need to graduate in four years. The parents of these students aren’t necessarily millionaires–they’re just more informed about the financial aid system. They figured out what they had to do get all the financial help they were entitled to. While their children were finishing high school, they were meeting with a college planning advisor and preparing properly for the college process.


So what do you have to do NOW to get a

fantastic financial aid award?



8 Questions for Your College Visit

A college visit can be stressful. Visitors need to take in a lot of new information and locations can easily blur together. However, if you are prepared for these trips they can be very successful. Our College Planning Team is here to help facilitate your visits! Summer is usually the easiest time to squeeze in college tours, but prospective students could lose out on experiencing the college in full swing. Weather can also have a huge impact on your student’s enjoyment. If your child hates the cold, definitely make them visit any Northern prospects during the winter. Make sure your family carefully considers the time and season in which you visit a campus. With these helpful tips on mind, view our list of questions below!


What to Ask on a College Visit


How We Can Help:


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