Financial aid award letters are confusing primarily because colleges like it that way. It’s in a school’s interest to confuse families so they think an award letter is more generous than it really is. This award letter from the University of Arizona illustrates just how misleading these letters can be: Figure 1: Example of an Unclear Financial Aid Award Source: Lynn O’Shaughnessy It’s easy to see how the recipient of this award might have thought that his first year of colleg
If the thought of paying for college keeps you up at night, you are not alone. Between 2005 and 2016, the cost of an undergraduate education at public colleges and universities increased 34%. And it goes up more each year—by an average rate of 3.1% for a 4-year public university. That's on top of the average annual rate of inflation. Given the steep price and the well-documented financial impact of student loans, it may be worth asking your friends and family to contribute to
Parents may assume they earn too much to qualify for financial aid.
However, there are a number of strategies that even wealthy families can employ to cut expenses. While it’s no surprise that parents stress about how they’re going to pay for college, you may be shocked at those who are arguably the biggest worriers. Usually, the people who are most proactive in seeking ways to cut college costs are affluent and wealthy parents.
The good news is that simple yet effective st
One of the biggest questions that parents with college-bound children puzzle over, is whether their child has a chance for financial aid. This is more confusing than you might think, because at some schools a family could qualify for need-based aid if they make $200,000 a year, and at another school, the ceiling for aid could be $70,000. The first step that you should take when grappling with this issue is to obtain the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). And you should do th
Distributions taken before an IRA owner reaches age 59½ are subject to a 10% early distribution penalty, unless an exception applies. For those who claim exceptions, it’s vital to maintain documented proof, as the IRS may deny the claim for exception in the absence of sufficient documentation. And that can be costly. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of college for an academic year can be over $39,000. Faced with the high costs
Decision Point Planning: If you believe the hype, families these days have their kids applying to 10 or more schools, and acceptance rates are at record lows. What’s going on? Lynn O’Shaughnessy explains what a sensible college application process can look like for 2019. Step 1: Relax! Most schools accept the majority of applicants. Every year we have media stories declaring, “Oh my gosh, the acceptance rate at Harvard has dropped. The acceptance rates of Stanford and Yale ar