Paying for College: How to get the dialogue started

After paying a batch of monthly bills last night, my wife and I sat down to go through our budget. After reviewing the day-to-day numbers, she asked me to pull up our investments and within 20 minutes we knew exactly what we have in all our retirement accounts and how much is put away for our boys’ college education. We located a few online calculators, plugged in the numbers, ran a few different scenarios for rate of return, and were…

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Paying for College: A Primer for Using the FAFSA

Fact: College is expensive.  Fact: You knew that already… So how do you manage to pay for a very expensive item, when you don’t even know how much it will cost? A good place to start is with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Step 1: Make sure you’re at the correct website: and not, which charges you a fee to file your FAFSA…which is free to do, by the way. That’s what the first…

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How to get “super scores” on the ACT

The February 9 ACT Exam date is fast approaching. For those who have taken the exam once or more, here’s something to help relieve some test anxiety: a growing number of colleges allow the practice of “superscoring“. But what is superscoring and how does it differ from standard practices?  Colleges receive your scores in one of two ways: when you register for the exam and elect to have your scores automatically sent to specific schools (a bad practice, by the way);…

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How to Get More for Your Money in College and Ace Your Shakespeare Exam

This is the final installment in a 3-part series on the rising cost of college and what you can do about it. It’s early January and parents along with high school seniors are getting their first introduction to the joys and merriment of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Do we have our PIN yet? Does Jason need his own PIN? Do I have to declare my 401k as an asset? Can I fill it out if I…

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