College Sports Scholarships: Hoop Dreams or Pipe Dreams?

Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash

Odds makers pick UVA as the favorite to win the Final Four when the NCAA College Basketball tournament comes to the Twin Cities in just a few days.

While the excitement of a national championship may inspire hoop dreams of your own, the odds of your student-athlete winning a Division 1 athletic scholarship are quite small.

College Admission Scandal: Insights from a national college planning expert

Photo credit: Ben White, Unsplash

Lynn O’Shaughnessy, author, journalist and national college planning expert, recently wrote about the recent college admissions scandal involving wealthy parents who skirt the rules to get their kids into the country’s most prestigious schools.

You can read the entire article by going directly to Lynn’s website, The College Solution or by clicking here… College Admission Scandal: Symptom of a Larger Problem.

To learn more about how to pay for college, subscribe to her wildly popular college planning blog, The College Solution.

Or better yet, become a smarter college consumer by enrolling in her online college planning course, The College Cost Lab.

To learn how to give your kids the education they deserve without sacrificing your retirement dreams, contact me directly at 651.379.3935. Or email at 


Affordable Alternatives To A High Priced College Education

Photo by Claudio Hirschberger on Unsplash

The total cost of attendance at some private colleges now exceeds $70,000 a year.

Even state colleges and universities can come with a hefty price tag. The University of MN Twin Cities has an all-in annual cost of about $28,000.

Today, more and more parents scratch their heads and ask, “Is it really worth it?”

Perhaps a better question to ask would be, “Is a traditional 4-year college education really necessary?”

For some students, another path may be the smarter career (and financial) move to make.

While many career fields require a traditional college education and even advanced degrees, many do not. Healthcare, the building trades, and mechanical industries offer many career opportunities that require less than a 4-year college degree, but also offer reasonable pay, a high level of job security and advancement opportunities.

Consider this: Tuition, fees and books cost just under $7,000 at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College and other similar schools in our area. That’s less than half of what students pay at The University of Minnesota, and a fraction of what many private schools charge.

Wondering how much the schools on your list cost? Click here for a complete listing of tuition and related fees at every school in MN.

Not surprisingly, graduates of 2-year community college or vocational programs tend to graduate with less debt than their friends at 4-year colleges; $10,000 total student loan debt on average compared to over $28,000 for the typical college grad.

Not only do students spend less per year for fewer years at community and tech colleges, but they get into the workforce sooner and start saving earlier than most traditional college grads.

A 4-year college degree isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, today there are many other options. To learn more talk to your school counselor or attend a career and college fair at your high school, if one is offered.

Career and College Fair. On February 26, Centennial High School will host its first annual Career and Technical College Fair. It’s an opportunity to learn more about various community and tech colleges, explore different careers, and talk to experts who understand that a 4-year college degree isn’t the only path to a secure future.

For more information: click here.

These 5 Assets Are Exempt on the FAFSA Form

5th in a series

Starting as early as October 1, families with kids going to college can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, aka the FAFSA form.

The FAFSA requires students and their parents to provide information about their income and assets in order to determine what is called the Expected Family Contribution or EFC. More specifically, the FAFSA wants to know about your income from the previous tax year (2017, if you complete the FAFSA for the 2018-2019 school year), and the value of your assets as of the day you fill out the form.

With smart planning families can complete the FAFSA in a way that maximizes their opportunities to receive need-based financial aid for college. Since the FAFSA asks about the value of your assets on the day you fill out the form, the time to reposition assets and implement your plan to pay less for college starts before you complete the FAFSA.

The following 5 assets are exempt on the FAFSA and are not counted in the EFC calculation.