To avoid allowing the country to fall off the fiscal cliff, Congress and the President have agreed upon and signed into law the 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA). Among other things, the new law restores nearly all of the tax incentives for education which had been scheduled to expire at the end of the year. One of these education incentives was the Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). (more…)
You’ve spent years dutifully contributing to a college savings account for your children or grandchildren. Soon it will at last be time to switch from saving to spending.
You’ve done your best to fully fund the cost of four years of college. But there are so many variables and even more that will continue to affect your estimates. These unknowns include scholarships, whether you’re paying in-state or out-of-state tuition, the return rate of your investments and whether your teen will need more than four years to complete her degree. (more…)
When you were the parent of a newborn, you might have had a moment or two of clarity amid the haze of exhaustion and sleep deprivation. And in those moments, you might have opened a tax-free college fund for the tiny person sleeping nearby.
Fast-forward 18 years—through board books, potty training, the first day of school, summer vacations, soccer games, birthday parties and middle school—and suddenly that tiny person is a high school senior. Meanwhile, you’ve been dutifully adding to the 529 plan to cover the expense of four years of college. The earnings through this plan are tax-free, and so are the withdrawals for qualified education expenses, making this a popular vehicle for covering college costs. (more…)
If given the choice, many students would love to have the opportunity to attend one of the nation’s reputable private schools. In general they offer smaller student to teacher ratios, a more intimate learning experience and the ability to graduate within four years, as opposed to the average of five or six years at a public college.
Private colleges continue to provide considerable institutional aid for good students. Since private colleges receive little or no support from state tax dollars, many private colleges must offer institutional aid to stay competitive with the lower priced state colleges. (more…)
By Guest Blogger: Jodi Okun, Founder of College of Financial Aid Advisors
The cost of financing a child’s college education can be daunting to many families. Generally the family is the source of the primary support; however, financial assistance does exist.
The federal government administers six major financial assistance programs. Three of these programs are direct assistance programs, with the assistance going directly to the student. The other three programs are administered through the college that the student attends and funds are sent directly to the college, which in turn dispenses the money to the student in accordance with federal guidelines. (more…)
Refining the vision
With kids in middle school and becoming increasingly independent, the family’s financial priorities have likely shifted from the early parenting years. You or your spouse may have reentered the workforce, changed jobs or maybe started a business. Perhaps you bought a larger house, went through a divorce or saw your retirement savings shrink in the market downturn. Meanwhile, your child’s college years are growing ever closer.
Now is the time to review priorities and refine your college savings goals. So, let’s put a price tag on that vision.
Yes, college costs will change by the time your children are ready to enroll. But working toward a poorly defined goal is one of the best ways to produce well-defined stress. (more…)