FAQ

/FAQ

Independent studies have shown that students participating in a college’s work/study program have proportionally higher grade point averages.  It may be because they are more focused on completing their education on a limited budget, that they are very motivated individuals, or they are just smart people.

The Education Specialists at EPR realize the importance of having students take ownership of their education.  It’s a good life lesson.

Every college has their own formula for providing financial aid.  Their exact formulas are not public knowledge.  There are resources that provide approximate financial aid information for most colleges.

EPR has done the research that gives you insight into those college formulas.

There are legal ways to structure business expenses that reduce the cost of college.  EPR understands the benefits that business owners have to lower their children’s college education costs and how to implement strategies that get the job done.

529 plans owned by the grandparents do not have to be listed on the FAFSA, however, FAFSA does require students to report distributions from those plans. Worse, the penalties do not occur until the student’s second year in college, often blindsiding the parents with a reduced financial aid award.

If your family has the benefit of a grandparent-owned 529 plan, EPR can provide you a strategy to avoid the costly penalties that can be associated with these plans.

Yes.  It’s all about a strategic plan, understanding the college and government rules, and meeting with professionals in the field of college planning.  If planned well, the result can mean substantial college savings for high income earners.

EPR professionals have helped high income earners save thousands.

The current average time that students take to earn their bachelor’s degree is 5.8 years.  It’s best to motivate your student to get a 4-year degree in FOUR YEARS.  Those extra two years usually adds more than 50% to the cost of a college degree.  You can buy a small house with the money saved.

When Education Specialists at EPR meet with families, we work with the parents and the children to help them understand the true cost of college, as well as help them find colleges that are a good fit to avoid costly major changes or college transfers.

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be lowered on each child’s FAFSA report when more than one of your children attend college at the same time.  The EFC for each child is calculated by dividing a family’s EFC by the number of children attending college at the same time, even if they attend different colleges.

EPR will show you the math specific to your family.

It Depends.  The value of retirement accounts do not count against you on FAFSA, although the contributions in a given year are added to the EFC. Non-retirement accounts (non-qualified) are assessed on FAFSA for all children and after a certain threshold level for parents. If you have assets that count against you on FAFSA it will decrease your ability to receive financial aid.

EPR will evaluate your assets and provide those thresholds so that you can stay below them and increase the grant money you may receive from colleges.

 

YES, if you want to receive financial aid for college.  It is a long form with over 100 questions and about that many pages of instructions.  The majority of FAFSA forms are filled out incorrectly.  In many respects the FAFSA is similar to the IRS 1040 long form.  It’s wise to have your FAFSA reviewed by a professional college planner to ensure you maximize your opportunity for financial aid.

Education Specialists at EPR review FAFSA forms to ensure data is entered correctly.

NO. The penalties and tax consequences are high. Additionally, the annual contributions to your 401(k) during the time your child is a college student will decrease your opportunity to receive college grants.

EPR will show you ways to save for retirement without decreasing your ability to receive free grant money from colleges.

EPR provides knowledge-based strategies to minimize the expense of a college education at no cost to you.

Yes, but only for the more prestigious state colleges, like University of Michigan and private colleges, like Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins and others.  For a list of these schools, go to:  https://profileonline.collegeboard.org/prf/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet.srv.

EPR will show you how to structure your college strategy in order to work with the impact that home equity may have on your ability to pay for college.

The horror stories are real.  Here are some facts.  About 2,000,000 families are paying off college loans while receiving Social Security during retirement, and 300,000 are having their Social Security checks garnished to pay those loans.  College loans are NOT forgiven, even if you declare bankruptcy.  On the positive side, some employers will pay part or all of a student’s loan as part of a signing bonus, but they are VERY unlikely to pay for college loans that are in a parent’s name.

EPR will help you structure your college funding to minimize loans.

Selecting a college is a strategic process.  The advantage of applying to 6-10 colleges as opposed to 2-3 is that there is an increased probability that some of the college responses may reveal financial assistance previously unknown to you.  Additionally, it places you in a better position to negotiate between colleges based on a wider selection of financial aid packages.  In many cases you will find that a private college with liberal gifting (free money) could end up costing less to attend than an in-state public college.

EPR will show you how find the best college (private or public) to fit your student’s career path at the lowest cost to your family.

Scholarships are usually based on a student’s academic, sports, and social achievement (grades, test scores, community service, talent, leadership, etc.), and may also be called Merit Awards.  Grants are based on the financial need of a student.  Both Scholarships and Grants are “free money”, that is, you do not pay it back after you spend it.  Scholarships are less predictable than grants since they are based on a subjective evaluation process, while grants are based on financial need formulas at each college in the country.

EPR will show you how to position yourself for the most grant money.

One of the biggest penalties (and usually not discussed by people selling these plans) is that these plans may significantly increase a family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The EFC is what the Federal government determines to be a family’s minimum responsibility to pay for college.  In many cases the amount a family saves in taxes with a 529 is small compared to the grants that they will not be eligible to receive because of that plan.  There are other disadvantages of purchasing a 529.  If you use the money for something other than specified college expenses, you must pay income tax on the earnings and a 10% penalty.  In most cases you have no control over how your money is invested.  These plans do incur losses if invested in markets that lose value.  Another sometimes hidden part of 529 Plans is that even if you set up separate plans for each of your children, the government counts the total amount of all plans on the first child’s EFC.  For example, if you had a $20,000 plan for each of your three children, the first child attending college must include a $60,000 asset on the FAFSA form that will greatly increase the EFC for that child.

EPR will show you ways to save without jeopardizing opportunities for free financial aid.

…that both parent’s and student’s savings accounts have threshold limits on FAFSA, and being above those thresholds will increase the amount you pay for your child’s education?  EPR will provide those thresholds so that you can stay below them and increase the grant money you receive from colleges.

…that contributing to your 401(k) will increase what you pay for tuition?  EPR will show you ways to save for retirement without decreasing your ability to receive free grant money from colleges.

…that the money you save in a 529 Plan will reduce your ability to receive free money (gifting) from colleges?  EPR will show you ways to save without jeopardizing  college gifting funds.