A college education is one of the biggest investments a family makes. We’ve seen families spend more on college than they did buying their home! A financial commitment this large can really benefit from advanced planning. There is more than one way to tackle this upcoming expense – which route is best for you?





DIY: Why can’t I just figure it out on my own? How hard can it be?

  • Low cost
  • Very time-consuming
  • Highly error-prone (approx. 2/3 FAFSAs go in with errors)
  • Potential for costly mistakes
  • Complicated (have to understand how the numbers will be used)

Consult school counselor – The guidance counselor at our school seems smart. Can’t s/he provide some worksheets and point us in the right direction?

  • May be familiar with colleges and the admissions process
  • Do not do financial aid; not trained for it
  • School districts often prohibit discussion of money

Ask tax preparer or financial advisor – I generally take financial questions to my financial advisor or CPA. Aren’t they trained to help people plan for college expenses?

  • CPA is familiar with your income
  • Financial advisor is familiar with your investments
  • Financial aid formulas are not the same as IRS tax regulations
  • Mistakes are made frequently and can be expensive. 
  • Financial advisors are generally not trained in this area.

Hire an expert who specializes in this field – Does anyone actually specialize in this area?

  • Know the financial aid process and what can help or hurt families
  • Familiar with how certain schools put together their financial aid package
  • Can save time and handle questions
  • Guide families through the process
  • May not be able to take on additional new clients if you waited too long