College planning is a complex process. It can be challenging, time-consuming, and extremely expensive. Understanding all of the strategies and determining which ones apply to your family’s situation can be quite confusing. The planning required for college and retirement is extensive and must be approached proactively with a long-term perspective using a multitude of financial management strategies.
In our Total Wealth Planning program for college planning, one of the five key components of our planning process is college selection.
According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40% of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60% of students graduate in six years. At public schools, less than a third of students graduate on time. In addition according to a report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 1 in 3 students who enroll in either a 2 or 4 year college will probably transfer at some point. With the current cost of a college education continuing to escalate, the idea of 1 or 2 extra years of college expenses is quite daunting. This greatly increases the importance of choosing the right college from day one.
There are many factors that go into the college selection process:
- Cost, campus life, academics, activities, enrollment size, and location are just a few
- Consider those schools where the student profiles in the top 20% of the application pool
- Choose 8 to 12 schools including an in state school and a fall back school
- Determine the admissibility indicator for each school, the cost, the expected family contribution, and the estimate of both financial and merit aid
At Total Wealth Planning, college planning is about college selection, financial aid, tax planning and the personal resources available to pay for college. It is our understanding of tax laws, college admissions, financial planning, financial aid laws, and most importantly the best ways to incorporate it all into one strategy. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the stress and anxiety of funding education for students and parents to have a successful college experience.