This Strategy Equips You to Slash Future College Costs

For Parents of Students Ages 12–18

If you can, just skip reading the content below and instead—listen to me delivering it on audio. Listen while you’re driving or getting ready in the morning, here:

debt-free college membership

If you can’t do audio right now, read on.

Today I’m going to teach you a little-known, really clever debt-free college strategy that’ll take you less than a couple of hours to implement—and all by itself, it can save you thousands and thousands on college costs.

One 18-year-old used this strategy even though he was pretty sure it couldn’t possibly work for him, and he was shocked to walk away with $30,000 extra in free money to help pay his college bills.

You’ll need this strategy in your back pocket whether you’re currently parenting elementary schoolers, middle schoolers, or high schoolers.

Continue Reading »

Debt-Free College Training—Fast and Easy

Watch just one of the short, succinct video trainings below, and you’ll be on the fast track to getting the kids you love through college debt-free. 

debt-free college

If you’ve got a bright, capable middle schooler or high schooler headed for college—you’re probably wondering, “How are we going to pay for that?”

You’re especially thinking this if your kid isn’t a likely candidate for scholarships, you haven’t saved for college, and you make too much money to get government financial aid. (Or you think you do.)

You absolutely don’t want mountains of student loan debt for the kids you love.

Is there hope for getting your kids through college debt-free?

Yes.

But you’ll need someone to guide you.

Your journey toward debt-free college starts right here, right now.

Watch just one of the short videos below, and you’ll get a jump-start on getting the kids you love through college debt-free, and into jobs they love afterward.

Watch, and then share with the friends who’ll be with you on this journey.

(These fun, informal videos were made in the studio where I record my podcasts, but they are not technically podcast episodes. You can find Episode 1 of my podcast here.)

Continue Reading »

College Financing: Should Kids Just Do It Themselves?

Some parents try to save a little time, energy, and money by putting their kids in charge of planning their own college financing. 

“She’s nearly an adult—let her figure it out herself and live with the consequences,” some parents think.

But—is it actually a good idea to put kids in charge of college financing?

The purpose is to make parents consider whether it's a good idea for kids to handle their own college financing.

The answer? An emphatic no.

Parents, pleasedon’t put kids in charge of college financing.

No matter how busy you are, and no matter how bright and capable your son or daughter seems to be—please take charge of the college financing task yourself.

Figuring out college financing is too complex a task for kids.

Parents, though—you can do it!

Especially with the clear, step-by-step help I provide below.

Your teen’s brain is not yet ready for the task of college financing.

Studies show that before the age of 24, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of the adolescent brain is not developed sufficiently to be able to succeed at large-scale tasks requiring high-level evaluation of risk and preparation for the future. 

Continue Reading »

How Filling Out the FAFSA Protects Your Kid

Filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) sounds like the best deal in the world. 

Honestly.

You as a parent spend just a little bit of time entering information into a clear, safe online form, and a kid you love magically gets put in line for free money to help pay for college.

Magically—in just minutes—your kid’s in line for nine separate federal student aid programs, over 600 state aid programs, and most of the college-based (institutional) aid available in the United States.

So why do some parents balk at filling out the FAFSA?

The biggest reason I hear from parents who aren’t filling out the FAFSA is, “We’re not gonna get anything anyway…”

Really?

Are you 100% sure about that?

Quick, read this article I’ve written on 7 Reasons to Fill Out the FAFSA Even If You’re Rich.

After you do, consider this very important reason that even the wealthiest families should be filling out the FAFSA:

Filling out the FAFSA protects your kid in the event of unforeseen family setbacks.

filling out the FAFSA

Continue Reading »

5 Ways Teens Can Save Earnings—Without Damaging Financial Aid (AUDIO)

Your daughter’s 15 or older, and she’s earning and saving her own money. Whooo hoo! But wait—just a minute. Could the money she’s saving in her own name end up sabotaging future college financial aid awards?

Learn the sobering answer here—along with 5 safe, legal ways your kids can keep their own money under their own control during the college years.

debt-free college podcastJoin me, Jeannie Burlowski, for episode 5 of the Launch Your Teens podcast, and you’ll learn:

1. Why it’s important to think carefully about student earnings after December 31st of the 10th grade year

2. Why January 1st of the sophomore year of college is liberation day, the day no parent or student financial decisions can hurt undergraduate financial aid ever again

3. Why putting the cash your family hopes to save for college into a grandparent-owned 529 college savings plan can be a brilliant idea

4. Which kinds of student income will never hurt college financial aid awards

(14 min.)

You’d rather read than listen? OK you can do that here!

Continue Reading »

Should You Fill Out the FAFSA on Your Phone?

Should you fill out the FAFSA on your phone?

On October 17th, 2018, I was invited to guest post on the blog of Certified Financial Planner™ Mike Branch of Focus Financial in Minneapolis. Mike has been an extraordinary mentor to me as I’ve plumbed the depths on how to get kids through college debt-free. You can find Mike at Focus Financial in Minneapolis, on the Approved Consultants tab on this website, or at one of the many FAFSA info sessions he presents in high school auditoriums each year. 

The guest post I wrote for Mike is below.

Are you parenting a student of any age who’ll be in college next fall? If so, one of your most important tasks this year will be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after October 1st as possible. This applies to every student and every parent—no exceptions.

Are you convinced that for you, filling out the FAFSA will be a waste of time—because you make far too much money to qualify for any college aid? Check out this article on 7 Reasons to Fill Out FAFSA Even if You’re Rich.

And then get out your smartphone.

As of October 1st, 2018, you can fill out the FAFSA on your phone.

For years, students and parents filling out the FAFSA were required to complete the form using desktop computers. In 2018, though, a new, mobile-friendly version of FAFSA was released.

Here, 8 things you’ll need to know before you fill out the FAFSA on your phone.

1. It’s a little easier to avoid overwhelm when you fill out the FAFSA on your phone, because you see only one question per screen.

2. Families can start filling out the form on one device, and finish it on another.

Continue Reading »

Manage All Your Kids’ College Planning—Mostly By Yourself

If you’re concerned that you’re currently LATE to college planning, read this article now.

college planning

College planning can feel like being lost in a jungle. And sadly, your kid’s high school guidance counselor (nowadays more properly called a “school counselor,”) can’t help much with hacking through the underbrush. Oh, he or she would love to, but budget cuts have slashed the amount of time counselors get to spend with college bound students, in some cases down to just eight minutes per year.

And your child, smart as he is, isn’t in any position to handle the complexity of college planning either. The stakes are high, both financially and career wise, and his brain won’t be fully developed until age 24.

And the internet? You sure don’t want to depend on the internet for college planning advice.

Don’t rely on the internet for college planning advice.

It’ll take you years to sift through everything the internet has to say about college planning. The bits and pieces of info and conflicting messages you hear from online resources will drive you insane. Plus, a huge percentage of what’s currently on the internet regarding college planning is sorely out of date, since President Barack Obama drastically changed US college financing on September 13th, 2015, and most of the world has not yet caught up.

You need a resource that will give you fast, accurate, specific instructions that the internet can’t provide. (I’ll provide a resource for you, below.)

7 things to do when you feel lost in the jungle of college planning

1. Don’t put off college planning because you feel overwhelmed.

I understand that you feel overwhelmed by the college planning process. Every parent does. But if you wait until your kid’s sophomore or junior year of high school to get started on college planning, 75% of the strategies you could have used to get your kid through college debt-free will be gone. Starting early is the best strategy, even if you can’t save a penny.

(If you’re worried that you’re currently late to college planning, read this article now.)

Continue Reading »

That Local State University May NOT Be Your Bargain Option

Many parents have only one strategy for lowering college costs. Send the kid to the local state university.

But is your local state university actually your bargain option — considering all the factors involved?

state university

The hidden costs of state university nobody talks about

At many state universities, it can take even the most diligent students six years to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Why? Because classes are full, so students struggle to get into the classes they need to graduate.

A state university education can be like buying a plane ticket, walking down to the gate, and then not being allowed to board — over and over and over again — because the plane is overbooked and every seat is taken.

Two extra years in state university can end up costing your kid a staggering amount.

Read the article I wrote here on how two extra years in college can end up costing students $300,000 in extra tuition, interest, lost full-time income, and stunted retirement savings. Plus, of course, a huge number of students get discouraged before the six years are up, and drop out — leaving college with a boatload of student loan debt and no college degree.

Yikes.

Continue Reading »

Can Parents Call the College Financial Aid Office?

If you’re parenting a teen, there’s a good chance that sometime during the winter of your child’s senior year of high school, you’re going to be flipping through documents called “financial aid award letters.”

You’ll have a “financial aid award letter” from every college that’s accepted your child—as long as you’ve filled out the FAFSA financial aid form (which you should absolutely do, even if you’re rich).

When you’re sifting through three or four financial aid award letters, how do you compare them?

financial aid

This article is going to help you with that important task. As a starting point, let’s look very briefly at what financial aid award letters are, and what the problem tends to be with them.

Financial aid award letters tell you how much money you’ll be expected to pay for the education at each college. 

Sounds great, right? This is the point where you get to know the actual price tag for each school. This is where you find out which college is offering your daughter the best deal.

The problem is that financial aid award letters are notoriously difficult to interpret and compare. 

Continue Reading »

Genius Strategy for Giving $20 in COLLEGE SAVINGS As Holiday Gifts

I post this important article every December. This year, it contains a brand new resource! A free downloadable bonus article with super helpful information for grandparents. To get straight to the free downloadable article, click here:

How to Give College Savings As Gifts and Get Happy Hugs in Response

Most grandparents love to dote on their beloved grandchildren, but let’s face it. Older kids and teens are notoriously hard to shop for.

How can grandparents give a relatively inexpensive holiday gift that will be remembered with tears and great appreciation for years down the line?

No matter your income level or budget, Grandma and Grandpa, here’s an ingenious idea for deeply impacting the kids you love this holiday season.

grandma

This idea will help you to take the $20 you were planning to spend on a holiday gift, easily put that money into the best possible kind of college savings account, and still have something meaningful and beautiful for the child or teen to unwrap at your family’s holiday gathering.

All without nicking your own finances or damaging the teen’s future financial aid eligibility in any way.

Continue Reading »