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Posts about Financial Aid

Saving for College in 2018: An Update on Tax Treatment of 529 Plans

What is a 529 plan, and how can it help you and your college-bound student?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a 529 plan is “operated by a state or educational institution, with tax advantages and potentially other incentives to make it easier to save for college and other post-secondary training.” (See 529 Plans: Questions and Answers | Internal Revenue Service)

In 2015, A+ published an informational article on the benefits of 529 plans for Pennsylvania residents, specifically in relation to state and federal taxes. We thought we would revisit the subject to see what (if anything) has changed in the last three years.

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Posted in Paying for College, Cost of College, Financial Aid

Getting To Know The New FAFSA

In the past families spent the summer between a student’s junior and senior years of high school focusing on researching colleges and beginning work on admission applications. While some families were thinking ahead about financial aid, in most cases they did not need to start thinking about financial aid at this stage.

Due to the introduction of the new FAFSA with the 2017–2018 financial aid cycle, this will all change.

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Posted in Financial Aid

Five Things You Need to Know About Grants and Scholarships

By Stephanie Welder

For parents, the most worrisome aspect of college admissions is finding colleges that are affordable. We hope that chosen schools will offer significant money that won’t have to be paid back. Parents also wonder where they can find outside scholarships to supplement college-based aid. Here is useful information that will help you find the money you need.

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Posted in Financial Aid

Saving for College: Tax Treatment of 529 Plans

This article contributed by Lesley M. Mehalick, J.D., LL.M of McAndrews Law Offices, P.C. 

The tax deferred nature of a 529 plan can make it a desirable option to assist in saving monies for your child’s future college expenses. This article will provide an overview of the key points for the current Federal and Pennsylvania tax treatment of 529 plans.

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Posted in Paying for College, News, Financial Aid

The ABCs of College Interviews

In this article I will provide you with information and tips about the college interview process.

There are three main types of college interviews: evaluative, informational, and financial aid. A college's admissions office uses an evaluative interview to gather information to supplement the information provided in the student's application.

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Posted in Educational Reference, College Admissions, Financial Aid

How the Financial Aid Process is Impacted by Divorced Households

The following article was written by Blaine Blontz, MBA, www.financialaidcoach.com.

We hope you will find this article a good resource as you prepare to navigate the financial aid process. 


The financial aid process can be extremely confusing for all families, sometimes exponentially so for divorced households. While there are several opportunities related to families of divorce navigating the financial aid process, I'll take a look at one below.

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Posted in Financial Aid

Three Myths about Student Loans

The following article was written by Blaine Blontz, MBA, www.financialaidcoach.com

We hope you will find this article a good resource as you prepare to navigate the financial aid process. 

With many high school seniors having made the important and exciting decision of where they will attend college in the fall, parents and students alike are looking at the next set of hurdles standing between them and the first semester. One of those hurdles is putting together a payment strategy. Hopefully this includes grants, scholarships and other forms of aid provided by the school. Additionally, families may have education (529s) or other savings accounts to go along with installment payment plans provided by schools. With the rising cost of college, even with the options previously mentioned, many families will still need help financing the college experience.

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Posted in Paying for College, Financial Aid

College Finances: Why It's Not Too Late to Plan for College

Families know they should plan for their children’s college education. They know it’s going to cost them a significant sum, and most realize this significant sum could largely impact their future financial plans and goals.

Still, many families find planning for college a stressful experience. For many, it can be an overwhelming burden, thinking of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that this process can require. This often results in families feeling anxious and, in some cases, essentially throwing up their hands and saying it will be what it will be.

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Posted in Financial Aid

How Much Does Private College Cost? Perhaps Less Than You Think

When deciding which colleges to apply to, many parents and high school students never consider private schools because they fear they won’t be able to afford the higher tuition. Cost often plays a big part in which schools a student applies to; specifically, it may turn some students away from applying to private colleges and universities that would otherwise be an excellent academic fit. In reality, though, a college’s “sticker price” may not accurately reflect your required financial contribution. So, don’t take private schools off of your student’s college list just yet.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 was designed to help families calculate a more accurate estimate of how much college costs by requiring colleges and universities to include net price calculators on their websites. A net price calculator asks families a few questions, then shows an estimate of their tuition payments once financial aid is included. The College Board published a report in 2013 that showed on average full-time undergraduate students at private four-year schools actually pay less than 50% of the published tuition price.

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Posted in Paying for College, Cost of College, Financial Aid

Paying for College

The following is a guest post from our friends at Clarifi College. 

When it comes to college planning, getting in is only half the battle. One of the biggest challenges facing families is figuring out how they will be able to afford their child's college education. Specifically, many families find themselves in a position of uncertainty as to how much aid colleges will offer and how much tuition they’ll have to come up with on their own.

Understanding how to navigate the financial aid process can be time-consuming and, for some, a bit overwhelming. For families who don’t understand their options, they can find themselves taking on more debt than they expected and ultimately facing an unmanageable amount of college debt.

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Posted in Paying for College, Cost of College, Financial Aid

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