4. My student is only a high school sophomore. Is it better to wait until they’re a junior/senior to get started?
While it’s tempting to wait, the sooner you start to plan, the more choices you will have. Your financial history for financial aid purposes begins as early as the end of your child’s freshman year of high school. By starting your planning early, you may be able to position your assets such that your student will have more opportunities to qualify for maximum financial aid. You will also have more time to plan for the costs you’ll be expected to cover.
5. What are the biggest mistakes people make when they try to do this on their own?
We have seen a wide variety of “mistakes” over the years – from clerical errors on the forms, to misunderstanding the questions (and providing incorrect or overstated information) to not knowing how the financial aid process works to errors in college selection to . . . . But the biggest mistake most families make is “winging it” and failing to actually have a plan for how to pay the costs they are expected to cover.
Beacon College Funding Solutions answers these questions and more! We provide information and guidance to Bay Area parents helping them determine how best to anticipate and meet the costs of college with the least negative impact on their family’s present and future financial security. Just as importantly, these parents gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing they have someone on their side.
6. What if I already have enough money that I can just write a check to pay for college? Why would I need your help?
While you may have those resources available, there may be other options such as merit aid or specific tax treatment considerations that could make better financial sense for your situation. Also, the unexpected has a way of happening at the wrong time (COVID-19, stock market crashes, job loss, health issues, etc.) and should be factored into your plan.
1. We do not qualify for any need-based financial aid. Why should we work with a college funding strategist?
Paying for college requires more than need-based aid. It often includes school selection for merit-based aid, possibly student jobs (summer and perhaps during the school year), and – especially – optimal use of the family’s assets and income. This includes tax strategies, best sources of money to use, how to negotiate with a school for a better package, etc. It’s very much like creating a mosaic – it’s all about putting together the pieces of your puzzle so that you can pay for all the years of school for all your kids – affordably.
2. What can we expect from BCFS?
You can rely on us to complete all forms accurately and on time. We help reduce your out-of-pocket costs as much as legally possible. And we show you all applicable strategies to pay for education as affordably as possible.
By working with us, you’ll ALWAYS have pro-active advocates looking out for you and working on your behalf. In short, we deliver PEACE OF MIND.
3. What if I use my liquid assets to pay off my car, lower my mortgage, buy a new car, a new real estate property? Will this make me more eligible for financial aid?
The short answer: No. The financial aid formulas look at your overall situation, sometimes over a few years, and are likely to consider your new real estate property and increased equity in your home as “available assets” for funding education.
What may sound logical can actually backfire, because not only have you not reduced the amount considered “available assets” for education, but you have made those assets much more difficult to access.