MIKE’S MEMOS

The One Place To Get Insider Strategies On College Admissions, Saving Money On Tuition & Much, Much More

The Federal Loan Forgiveness Plan – Part I

The Federal Loan Forgiveness Plan – Part I

The cost of college has nearly tripled since 1980 and Federal financial aid has not kept pace. Pell Grants once covered about 80% of the cost of a four-year public college degree for students from working families, but now only covers a third. This erosion of tuition...

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The Use of a Crummey Trust for a College Education

The Use of a Crummey Trust for a College Education

A Crummey Trust is one of several strategies for accumulating and protecting funds that are to be dedicated to a child’s education. None of these methods is superior to the others, but they have unique features that appeal to parents in different circumstances. In...

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Coverdell Education Savings Accounts

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (Coverdell ESA) are trusts set up to pay the college expenses of a beneficiary. They involve two parties: a custodian, who manages the account, and a beneficiary, who receives distributions from the account. The parties are usually...

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Using a CollegeSure CD to Save for College

Using a CollegeSure CD to Save for College

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the cost of college tuition is 1,447% higher in 2022 than it was in 1977. During that time, tuition has experienced an average inflation rate of 6.28% per year, so a college charging $20,000 for four years of tuition in...

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Shifting Income to Fund a College Education

Shifting Income to Fund a College Education

Gifts of Business Interest In previous posts, we covered methods of deferring investments in the equity markets such as Qualified Tuition Plans (529 Plans). However, a better strategy is to defer all of the child’s income taxes to their college years. There are...

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Divorce Planning to Cover the Cost of College

Divorce Planning to Cover the Cost of College

Careful college and tax planning through a divorce transition can result in the preservation of more of the income and assets of both parents and their children. The preserved income and assets can be used to fund future college costs of the children. Property...

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Using Distance Education for a College Degree

Using Distance Education for a College Degree

The traditional image of college education features students in a classroom with a professor lecturing them. But lately, more and more students are opting to take college courses online from home. Instead of a classroom, students engage with their coursework,...

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The College Level Examination Program

The College Level Examination Program

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is the most widely accepted college credit-by-examination program in the United States. While Advanced Placement (AP) courses are usually taken by above-average students, CLEP exams benefit average and non-traditional,...

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Using Testamentary Trusts for College Education

Using Testamentary Trusts for College Education

When a grandparent does estate planning, they often wish to provide for their grandchildren’s education. The grandparent may want to ensure that funds left for grandchildren are used to cover the expenses of college and nothing else. To achieve this result, a...

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AP Exams Can Reduce the Cost of College

AP Exams Can Reduce the Cost of College

There are two signs of the success of a student’s college admissions campaign: being accepted by targeted colleges and being able to afford them. The achievement of high grades on Advanced Placement (AP) exams fosters both outcomes. A proven way for students to stand...

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Do Families Know Enough About Paying for College?

Do Families Know Enough About Paying for College?

While 81% of college-bound juniors and seniors view college as a path to a better life, only half of them feel confident about being able to finance their college education, according to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Research for Sallie Mae. The survey examined...

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State Financial Aid Programs

State Financial Aid Programs

With the cost of tuition sky-high and climbing, most families need to secure funds from external sources to help pay for a college education. The most easily accessible and largest source of financial aid is the Federal government, which awarded $46.4 billion to...

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Finding the Right College

Finding the Right College

The first of four steps in identifying the right college for you is determining your educational and career goals. Once you have completed this important first step, the next is to consider your strengths, weaknesses, interests, goals, skills, and talents. This...

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Simplified FAFSA To Be Released in July

Simplified FAFSA To Be Released in July

The FAFSA Simplification Act was signed into law on December 27, 2020, as part of the Omnibus Act for 2021. The purpose of the FAFSA Simplification Act is to make it easier for students to complete the FAFSA form and to make the allocation of Federal student aid...

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Should the Pell Grant be Doubled?

Should the Pell Grant be Doubled?

The Pell Grant program has been the foundation of Federal student aid since it was created in 1972. The program provides student assistance grants based on need to low-income students to help pay for college education. Students from all 50 states rely on the Pell...

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“Administrative Bloat” and Tuition Increases

“Administrative Bloat” and Tuition Increases

The astoundingly rapid rise in college tuition in past decades is well known. Perhaps less well known is the increasing unwillingness of students to pay exorbitant tuition prices at all but a few elite institutions. Applications and enrollments have declined at most...

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Beware of Financial Aid Scams

Beware of Financial Aid Scams

The U.S. Department of Education (ED), like most other public agencies and large consumer-oriented companies, conducts most of its business with individuals over the Internet. Although doing business this way is far more secure than paper-based systems, there are...

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The 2022-23 College Financing Plan

The 2022-23 College Financing Plan

Students face a confusing array of options as they consider where to go to college and how to finance their education. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has developed and maintains the College Financing Plan (CFP) to assist them. The CFP is a consumer-oriented...

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Update on Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness

Update on Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness

For some time, a public policy controversy has raged over the excessive debt burden that a high percentage of college students owe after graduation. These debt loads are attributed to the skyrocketing of tuition at public and private institutions over the last few...

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Funds to Reverse Declining Enrollment

Funds to Reverse Declining Enrollment

Many students experience a constant struggle to remain enrolled in college due to financial insecurity. In early 2020, this situation worsened as a result of the pandemic, which brought about a steep decline in service sector jobs and affordable off-campus housing....

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Comparing College Financial Aid Offers

Comparing College Financial Aid Offers

Late March and early April is happy season for college applicants. It’s when they receive letters of acceptance and financial aid offers from the schools that have admitted them. The happiest are those who receive more than one offer. But these students won’t simply...

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How Inflation Affects College Tuition

How Inflation Affects College Tuition

In the Opinion section of the March 1, 2022, edition, the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled “How Inflation Affects Universities: Rising Tuition Is a Concern for Students”. Yet on December 2, 2021, Forbes had run an article titled, “Why College Tuition Is...

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Be Ready for Loan Payments to Resume in May

Be Ready for Loan Payments to Resume in May

On December 22, 2021, U.S. Department of Education extended the COVID-19 student loan repayment moratorium through May 1 of this year. The moratorium has been providing the following relief measures for eligible Federal student loan holders since the enactment of the...

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Mistakes in Financing an Education

Mistakes in Financing an Education

Some parents view the need for student financial aid as a sign that they haven’t earned enough money or didn’t do a good job of saving for their child’s college education. It’s important for these parents to realize that the cost of college tuition has been spiraling...

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Financing Education with UTMA’s

Financing Education with UTMA’s

The Uniform Transfers To Minors Act (UTMA) is a law recommended by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1986 and subsequently enacted by most U.S. states. It provides a mechanism under which gifts can be made to...

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Colleges Value Demonstrated Interest

Colleges Value Demonstrated Interest

While colleges want to love you as an applicant, they may also want proof that you love them. They favor applicants who are likely to accept an offer of admission and to enroll in their institution instead of another to which they’ve also been admitted. The percentage...

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Section 127 Assistance Programs

Section 127 Assistance Programs

When companies compete for the best employees, the quality of their benefits packages is a key differentiator. Prospective employees look for a comprehensive package to improve their financial well-being and help prepare for the future. An IRS Section 127 Educational...

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529 Tuition Plans

529 Tuition Plans

The substantial rise in recent decades of the cost of a college education is a serious hardship for most families. Student loans may mitigate the difficulty temporarily, but excessive borrowing can become problematic in itself. A better approach for a family, one that...

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How to Crush Your College Interviews

How to Crush Your College Interviews

If you’re a high school junior, you should be planning ahead for the college interviews that will help you select the schools that are best for you. By speaking with you one-on-one, the interviewer can get to know you better on a personal level and experience your...

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Your Essays Should Make You Stand Out

Your Essays Should Make You Stand Out

If you’re a high school junior, you’re already aware of the importance of essays in college admissions. Essays are often the difference between acceptance or rejection. In an article in The New York Times, Janet Morrissey sums it up this way: “The essay is your...

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U. S. Military Student Financial Aid

U. S. Military Student Financial Aid

The U.S. Military funds the college education of service members through a number of programs and institutions. These include the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) the United States Military Academies, and programs for the Reserves and National...

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Federal Work-Study Programs

Federal Work-Study Programs

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program provides a way for students to earn money for their education by working at a part-time job while in college. There are about 3,400 colleges and career schools participating in the FWS Program. Colleges have varying amounts of...

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State Grants and Scholarships For College

State Grants and Scholarships For College

If you qualify for a grant or scholarship at the Federal level, you are also likely to qualify in your home state. States operate programs similar to the Federal Pell Grant Program in that they provide need-based funding that doesn’t need to be repaid. If your Federal...

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Seeking Private Scholarships

Seeking Private Scholarships

Private Scholarships What if you were admitted to your top three colleges but couldn’t enroll in them because the costs were too high, even with your Federal aid? You’d be forced to decline their offers and accept one from a less desirable college — not the end of the...

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Don’t Forget the CSS Profile

Don’t Forget the CSS Profile

How the CSS Profile Helps You  The College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile is required by about 400 colleges a few scholarship organizations.The form enables you to be considered for eligibility for a college’s institutional funds in the form of...

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Following Up After Submitting The FAFSA

Following Up After Submitting The FAFSA

This is our fourth post on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the U.S. Department of Education form that is submitted annually by college applicants and continuing students seeking financial aid for college. FAFSA data is made available to...

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The FAFSA Is an Important Step in Paying for College

The FAFSA Is an Important Step in Paying for College

The Federal government allocated $120 billion this year for grants, work-study programs, and  loans to help students pay for college. Yet 47% of this year’s applicants failed to submit the form that entitles them to their fair share of these funds. The...

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Federal Pandemic Relief and College Costs

Federal Pandemic Relief and College Costs

Federal laws were enacted in 2020 and 2021 to aid Americans adversely affected by the pandemic and to stimulate economic growth. Among their many provisions, these new laws took steps to alleviate the financial hardship suffered by colleges and students. One of the...

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The FAFSA and Federal Student Aid

The FAFSA and Federal Student Aid

An early step in every family’s college admissions campaign is performed by the parents. They forecast the amount of money that can be diverted from the family’s income, savings, and investments to pay for college. Next, they subtract from this amount the expected...

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COLLEGE INTERVIEW CHECKLIST INFOGRAPHIC

COLLEGE INTERVIEW CHECKLIST College interviews are a great way to enhance your application. While often not mandatory, they may be right for you. An interview lets the school get to know you a little better, and vice versa. It also shows "demonstrated interest" which...

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YODA’S WISDOM ON DEMONSTRATING INTEREST

Colleges "score" students on a lot more than ACT or SAT exam scores and GPA. They often also take into account a campus and/or college fair visit, the time you spend on their website or talking to a regional rep, submitting early action, and more. The name for all...

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PERFECT GIFTS FOR HIGH SCHOOL GRADS

It’s here! Graduation (and gift) season 2016. Sure, you can give the most popular and common gift: cash. And, welcome as currency always is, with a little thought, there are many equally valuable and appreciated tokens of your well wishes. We’ve compiled five sure...

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COLLEGE-ADMISSIONS COUNSELING: THE GOOD NEWS & BAD

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to the counseling your high school student is getting about college. Let’s start with the good news, shall we? Research shows that one of the key determinants (after family) of whether or not a student will even head to...

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