The College Solutions Blog

Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.

Money
Featured image for “Tackling common college questions during COVID-19”
April 8, 2020

Tackling common college questions during COVID-19

This is an incredibly stressful time for families who have to navigate college admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a practical matter, this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime experience has generated a great deal of college questions from anxious students, parents, educational consultants and high school counselors. Some answers are known. We know, for instance, that the Advanced Placement tests, with a radically...
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Featured image for “Appealing a Financial Aid Award During COVID-19”
March 24, 2020

Appealing a Financial Aid Award During COVID-19

COVID-19 has made the college admission and financial aid process unbearably stressful and scary. As my small way of helping, as I remain holed up in my house in San Diego, I decided to start answering your college questions beginning today. Via my blog – The College Solution – I will tackle at least one question on most week days....
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Featured image for “Capturing a 529 tax break in just 24 hours”
March 2, 2020

Capturing a 529 tax break in just 24 hours

Here’s a super quick way to cut your college costs:  Deposit money into a 529 account for  just 24 hours. After putting money into a 529 account, you can quickly turn around and withdraw the cash to pay for your child’s college tuition and other qualified expenses. In most states, you can claim a state tax deduction – or even...
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Featured image for “Why you need to use college net price calculators”
February 14, 2020

Why you need to use college net price calculators

Before you let your teenager apply to colleges, you need to use each college’s net price calculator. Unless money is no object and you can afford to pay full price for any colleges, turning to net price calculators is critical. If you don’t know what these calculators are – and most parents don’t – here are 10 things you need...
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Featured image for “Evaluating a Financial Aid Letter: What’s Usually Missing”
January 13, 2020

Evaluating a Financial Aid Letter: What’s Usually Missing

Financial aid awards are often confusing. Plenty of colleges and universities intentionally make financial aid awards hard to decipher to trick families into thinking that their institutions are being generous even when they aren’t. Obfuscation is an effective way to keep parents from effectively evaluating a financial aid award. Since we are in the season of financial aid letters, I...
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Featured image for “Elite Colleges, Entitled Teens and Guilted Parents”
April 6, 2019

Elite Colleges, Entitled Teens and Guilted Parents

The college admission season is winding down at this time of year except for this part: Parents are stressing about how they’re going to pay for the college that their children want to attend. Spring is when I hear from parents who are being guilted by their children to spend dangerously more than they should for a brand name research...
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Featured image for “How to Appeal a Financial Aid Letter”
January 17, 2019

How to Appeal a Financial Aid Letter

How do you appeal a financial aid letter? Should you appeal a financial aid award? What kind of college awards can you appeal? I directed these financial aid questions to Mark Kantrowitz, a nationally recognized financial aid expert, who has just published a book entitled, How to Appeal for More Financial Aid Awards. Mark is publisher and VP of research...
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Featured image for “Expected Family Contribution: 10 Things to Know”
August 9, 2018

Expected Family Contribution: 10 Things to Know

One of the biggest questions that parents with college-bound children puzzle with is if their child has a chance for financial aid. This is more confusing than you might think because at some schools a family could qualify for need-based aid if they make $200,000 a year and at another school, the ceiling for aid could be $70,000 or much...
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Featured image for “How Home Equity Impacts Financial Aid”
January 13, 2018

How Home Equity Impacts Financial Aid

Have you given any thought to how home equity might hurt your child’s chances for financial aid? Luckily, at most state and private colleges and universities, the equity in your primary home is a non-issue. That’s because most schools only require families to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) when applying for financial aid, which doesn’t even...
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Featured image for “Searching for Colleges by Price Tag”
January 4, 2018

Searching for Colleges by Price Tag

College price tags are meaningless. Most students do not pay full tuition price for college. That said, paying attention to college prices can be extremely helpful in making college more affordable. Here’s a simple example: Getting a $20,000-a-year merit scholarship from a school that has a published price of $45,000 will obviously make a college much more affordable than receiving...
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