Learn How to Avoid Parents’ #1 Mistake
When It Comes to Paying for College!

Amy Brown WaheedBlogs

We work with parents to create great award packages and avoid some of the biggest mistakes. When our clients receive the wonderful award letters we share in their joy!

A Chapel Hill Family recently shared that when they received their initial financial package, they were only awarded loans. We worked with them to create an appeal that resulted in over $70,000 in gift aid for their two children. Congratulations! Think of how much money these parents can now direct towards their own retirement!

This is why we love coming to work each day! We are also passionate about teaching families how to create the best plan to pay for college and save for retirement.


Don’t be the family that doesn’t know what they don’t know. Families can end up paying much more for college.  In the end, that can reduce their assets at retirement.

We, at College Funding & Planning Consultants, work with families at all income levels, whether they qualify for need based aid or not. We help them understand how their individual “Puzzle Pieces” impact the financial aid formula as well as how to best pay for college expenses. Ultimately, their “Puzzle Pieces” and family choices determine their expected family contribution (EFC), which is the minimum a college expects the family to pay.

We hear over and over “There is nothing I can do.” Most families think that their “Puzzle Pieces” cannot be changed. Sometimes that is true, but most often we find that families do have choices they never realized.

What are your family’s “Puzzle Pieces” and how do they impact your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

  • Income, assets, properties, businesses, home equity, retirement contributions are all “Puzzle Pieces.” 
  • The financial aid forms (FAFSA and CSS Profile) ask about these “Puzzle Pieces”; yet they ask different questions and weight the answers differently. Some colleges require only the FAFSA form while others ask for both. 
  • Some “Puzzle Pieces” create a lower EFC on the FAFSA form, while others create a lower EFC on the Profile form.

Don’t make the mistake of not knowing what you don’t know.

Ideally families should know their EFC and “Puzzle Pieces” before a child is in 10th grade. Why? Colleges can look back to the 10th grade tax return. Remember, in addition to the financial aid qualification, how you pay for college expenses can also impact how much you have left for retirement.

Have you done all you can to qualify for as much aid as possible? Come in for a complimentary consultation to learn if you’ve done all you can, or if there is more you can do. We do not charge for our one-hour consultation, but we only reserve a few hours each week. The biggest comment we hear is “I wish I would’ve known sooner!” Request a consultation today, click here!

Success Story – One “Puzzle Piece” that made all the difference!

Another one of my favorite stories (permission granted) is a father who had already put three children through college and had one more to go. He was a very successful businessman. His wife “bribed” him to come to our workshop and he sat in the back with his arms crossed. He thought he knew it all. He wasn’t going to learn anything new. Yet, when the workshop finished he realized maybe he didn’t know all of his “Puzzle Pieces.” He came in for a consultation, became a client, and ultimately learned one detail that made all the difference. As a result, he qualified for $25,000 more in aid each year and received $23,000 for his child’s freshman year! Do you have a “Puzzle Piece” that would make all the difference? Click here to request a complimentary consultation!