We are fortunate to have a committed home-office staff and several like-minded college planning specialists across the country. Our principals have a combined 50+ years of college planning, college funding, student lending and investment advisory experience. By now, we've pretty much seen it all!
Education Funding Solutions, LLC is a for-profit, fee-based consulting firm that helps families attain post-secondary education in the most affordable and efficient way possible. Education Funding Solutions hosts free workshops at middle and high schools, churches, libraries, corporations and online and our staff often volunteers to host free initial parent consultations for non-profit organizations and charity fundraisers. We are led by an award-winning former registered investment advisor with 28 years of financial planning expertise; we have two planners on staff with a combined 25 years of college funding expertise and Education Funding Solutions (EFS) has been laser-focused on saving families on the cost of college for ten years.
Is EFS a stock brokerage, mortgage brokerage or student loan firm?
Education Funding Solutions believes that investments that can decline in value should be segregated from funds intended to pay college costs and as such, offers no investments in either our college savings or college funding plans. We are full-service, highly experienced financial planners who, for a select few client families and by request only, assist in retirement and estate planning. In that capacity, we decline to manage clients' "risk" funds and will work only with instruments that are insured and/or guaranteed. We do not believe that most of the financial products that Wall Street peddles increase family assets as much as they increase Wall Street firms' commissions and management fees.
What does college financial planning with Education Funding Solutions cost?
The cost of our service depends upon what is required to achieve our client families' typical twin goals of "maximizing the student and minimizing the cost". The services range from a low of $49 for a standalone edCelerator™ software system - which is sufficient for many families - to a high of $595 for a complete college financial/funding plan that includes the edCelerator™. Most of our families invest between $395 and $495 for a college financial plan that saves them 50 TIMES THAT AMOUNT (or the plan IS free). Our FREE Reports highlight what our plans will do, prior to clients spending a dime. Fees are often waived for clients from College Planners.
Is an Education Funding Solutions plan guaranteed to save me money?
Yes, if you guarantee Education Funding Solutions that you'll stick to the plan! Math does not change. We will take the data you send us and formulate a plan that includes how much of a discount our plan provides to alternative funding options and when your family will have repaid any college loans you may use. Of course, life sometimes has a way of throwing us curves. Our plans are flexible, can accommodate that and can be updated to reflect new circumstances. For instance, on the bright side, if you receive a raise and can devote $100 more per month toward college, your cost of college will decrease and the loan payoff date will hasten. If you lose your job and cannot contribute funds to college for a period of time, the cost of college will increase (assuming you used loans on which you pay interest on the outstanding balance) and the time to repay loans will lengthen.
I've heard about scholarship search and financial aid scams...
This one deserves its own page since it is one of our pet peeves. Short answer is yes, there are dishonest college planners. We are not among them. The longer answer is here.
My high school offers a "Financial Aid Workshop" - that's good enough, right?
As long as you are certain that your family's financial situation is identical to every other family's at your high school, yes. Unfortunately, the "one-size-fits-all" approach of most Guidance presentations does not reveal ways for YOU to save money on the cost of educating your children. For that matter, the vast majority of Guidance Counselors DON'T KNOW how to save money on college. Many Guidance Departments are now realizing that once they cross over the line into areas financial, they are taking on fiduciary risk. With some four-year college educations now costing over $200,000 a mistake about financial aid rules, an errant opinion, an overlooked piece of information, could easily cost a student's family many thousands of dollars in lost aid or additional loan costs. Guidance Counselors perform many wonderful services for students; they are overworked and understaffed; and they are asked to deal with family issues unrelated to college planning.. But Guidance Departments who host a "Financial Aid Night" are beginning to realize (courtesy of one or two proposed parent lawsuits) that they are not licensed or registered to talk about money and that they do not have the appropriate Errors and Omissions insurance should they make a mistake. Guidance Departments are not college consumer advocates - Education Funding Solutions is.
I've heard I should never pay a fee for FAFSA completion...
"FAFSA completion" is not a standalone service Education Funding Solutions sells; it is an optional, complimentary service we provide our clients. And the actual completion of the FAFSA is not what's important; it's the planning that goes on - or should go on - before the filing that is.
The government oversees student loans so they're good, right?
Is the Government good at anything?! The federal and state governments throw billions of dollars into the financial aid system, a good bit of which is wasted or misdirected. And the "government-guaranteed" loans guarantee that the lender will be paid (with our tax dollars), not that the student can afford them. PLUS (Parents Loans for Undergraduate Students) add on average 53% to the cost of a college education and private student loans - "overseen" by the government - can add 200% or more! Parents and students should consult with the college finance professionals at Education Funding Solutions to avoid a mountain of debt.
My 529 keeps going down; should my Junior or Senior (or graduate) keep it?
Owning a principal-100%-at-risk-investment like a 529, when there is a date-certain expense coming due soon (tuition/room and board, the August after HS graduation), is not investing; it's speculating (gambling). Does it make sense to gamble with your child's education? There are numerous other problems with 529 Plans, too, that should make parents consider whether holding onto them makes much sense. We have other, better, safer solutions.