All too often families find the college of their dreams, look at the “sticker price,” and walk away thinking it is not affordable. What they don’t realize is that the “sticker price” is an irrelevant number. What really matters is the “net cost” to the family. After factoring in possible grants, scholarships, tuition discounts, financial aid, and reasonable loans, that dream college may be far more affordable than previously thought.
Financial aid is often thought of as a package of loans and work study. That is largely true for public colleges, but there is a deep pool of gift aid, available from private colleges, that is used to compete for top tier students whom they want to attract. Qualification for this aid begins with filing financial aid forms, such as the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. These determine the Expected Family Contribution or EFC. This figure is unique for each family, and it represents the amount the family is expected to contribute to the cost of education. One mistake on these forms can cost a family thousands of dollars in forfeited financial aid. We assist families in completing these important forms to maximize the opportunity to get every dollar of aid to which they are entitled. We work with families to reposition assets, restructure debt and income to lower EFC and best position their financial picture to qualify for the maximum amount of aid, especially gift aid.