I haven’t had children in college for a number of years
My nephew has been living with us for several years and whose custodianship is under me. I was just overwhelmed with and didn’t have a clue how to do all those financial aid forms since I haven’t had children in the college loop for a number of years. Being a professional myself, I felt the need to reach out to another professional that knew how to do it better than I.
What was your goal in hiring College Funding Resource?
My goal was to get all the paper work processed and to see what funding in a form of loans or grants would be available for my nephew.
How did the process go for you?
You were just the person or organization that I was looking for my nephew. You explained what you would do and you made it very easy and your pricing was very reasonable.
You were the whole package and you were turn-key. At times, I paid extra for that and I didn’t mind that because I didn’t have the time or the knowledge to get involved with the nitty gritty of something you do all the time.
Is there anything that stands out about the service you received?
We were getting very frustrated trying to get through to the college’s financial aid system. They made it very difficult to talk to a human being. You were very hands on and when you said that you are going to make a personal visit to the financial aid office, I was impressed that you would go out of your way to do that.
What was the result of the visit to the financial aid office?
The financial aid office started to get the message that we were serious about this and we were staying on track and we were not going to deviate in spite of their throwing up road blocks. We were committed to obtain the very best financial package for my nephew. I can’t say what’s in their mind but I would like to think they felt that we were serious about what we’re doing, that we had a sincere and very bonafide case especially when you did your letter and we did our presentation. I have to think that got us somewhere because the end result was financial aid that we previously were denied.
Any final thoughts?
College financial planning is an area that requires an individual or a company that works with this all the time. It has to be what they do and they know their way around the system – how to get the filings and the paper work done and take it through to completion. If someone is not prepared do that themselves, then I would highly recommend they hire someone like you.
Robert Ryder Englewood Cliffs, NJ
I was looking at only one side of the financial aid process. You have really opened my eyes to this process and an explanation of each type of financial aid. This was very, very helpful to me because next year I have (2) children who will be attending college next year and (1) a year later and (2) years later. Your booklet and CD was very informative and I am glad I signed up for this.
-Doreen Bryan, Paterson, NJ
Finally someone who understands the stress, anxiety and fears of a parent who kid is going to college. You clearly defined every term & concept all parents must know when getting our kids ready for school. Thank you for taking the time to educate us on Financial Aid Resources. This book is my Financial Bible. I take it every where(sic) I go.
-Ashante Pickett, Linden, NJ
We were victims of the recent recession and it threw our college (and other) savings for a loop
Couldn’t your current advisors help?
We could’ve gone to our current advisor, but, I saw your ad and we thought for our situation you were a better choice to advise us on school financial options.
What specifically were you looking for?
Well, because this is our first kid to go off to school we wanted to make sure that we had explored all of the financial options possible. We had looked at scholarships and grants from the various foundations, but we wanted to make sure we had not missed any of the possible opportunities that were out there. We thought that the small fee you requested for consultation was worth risking to insure we had covered all of our bases.
Tell me about yourselves
My wife and I represent the first of four university graduates in each of our immediate families. We’ve worked hard for everything we’ve gotten in our lives, but like many, we were victims of the recent recession and it threw our college (and other) savings for a loop.
What guidance were you looking for?
Well, as stated previously, we wanted to make sure that we were taking advantage of all the opportunities that were out there as far as scholarships, grants and federal loans. Your advice seemed to mesh with what we thought, still, it was reassuring to know we were not missing on researching any opportunities.
The reason we partnered with you is that we saw the ad on the AARP website and we wanted someone who had knowledge of the college dollar process to give us experienced insight on the processes we would face. One of your comments on your website was, something to the affect, that there is no reason that families shouldn’t be able to send their kids to the school that they desire. That was the single most important statement that moved me, so, we decided to enlist your advice on our journey.
– Leveto and Sandra Squalls, Colorado
College is important, but it all can be worth twice as much with good planning.
– Michael Shannon, Englewood, NJ
The tip about “easy money” – scholarships that aren’t being competitively sought is a good one. It is true. A common complaint I hear from different service organizations is that there are not enough candidates applying for the scholarships they have available.Final impression – is that you sound like the expert that you are!
-Diane Wondolowski, Goleta, CA
Felicia has been a major help as we have wrestled with the challenges of college applications and finances. What you want in a college financial advisor is a professional, someone who has expertise and is responsive. I have found her to be excellent in both areas. But her value to us goes beyond that. She has been a tremendous source of ideas and information which she always dispenses in a caring manner. I wouldn’t want to negotiate this without her.
– Clauda MacDermott (Teaneck, New Jersey)
I would like to sincerely thank you for the time that you spent with me last Wednesday, briefing me on your company’s background and services on financial planning and paying for college. I was very pleased with the information you shared and felt it to be very helpful.
– Sharon Page, parent of high school senior
Cynical to Smiling
He is already retired and she has 5-10 more years to work. On the face of it, they should qualify for lots of financial aid. $60,000 AGI at the right school gets them lots of financial aid. But several years ago, an Aunt left them a sizable inheritance which was disqualifying them from any need based financial aid. They didn’t want to have to take $200,000 out of their good fortune (their words) to pay for their daughter’s education, as they also had immediate retirement needs. They wanted to know if there was an alternative. Through a combination of strategies, we were able to preserve their principal, and provide cash flow to support both college and retirement at the same time, and he went from cynical to smiling.
“My daughter is currently a junior at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. I thought it was too late but found out there were still strategies that would reduce the cost of college for me. I wish I had met Felicia sooner!”
– Jacqueline Wisner (Englewood, NJ)
“College Funding Resource notified me that I was eligible to consolidate my student loans with adequate time to capitalize on the opportunity! The consolidation reduced my current loan percentage rate 1.495% which lowers my monthly payments $40.00 per month, provided me with an additional 5 years to repay the loan if I choose to and saves over $2,000 over the life of the loan! This is the second time you have come through for me, I’m saving money for my child’s education and now saving money on my own loans, you’re a Godsend!”
– Gwendolyn L. Moore (Los Angeles, CA)
“Let me say that Felicia has helped us, as parent(s), to prepare both ourselves and children, “beginning now” for their future college experience. It is always better to be made aware and better prepared, early on, for those future decisions and financial obligations, that await most High School children’s parents. For this we thank Ms. Felicia Caldwell Gopaul.For today, we are better informed parents. Hopefully, this recent effort will enable us to approach all those critical decisions, concerning our children(s) future college education, with a much higher level of confidence. After all, we prepared with a plan!”
– Gregory K. (Barnegat, New Jersey)
“(Workshops) were extremely beneficial and helped to provide me with the knowledge and information to navigate through the maze of selecting and financing higher education for my son. Thank You!”
– Dominic F. (Howell, New Jersey)
“Thank you so much for letting me know about the student loan consolidation, I just finished consolidating my Direct Loans for my daughter and I saved more than 3.00% interest, thank you, thank you!”
– Kathleen Morton (Oakland, CA)
A grandfather wanted to help pay for his grandchildren’s college education. For years he had purchased saving bonds through his employer. But he had never wanted to redeem the bonds because he did not want to take the tax hit. We suggested after consulting his tax advisor, he consider re-titling his bonds jointly with his grandchildren. This client now has set aside more than $10,000 for each of his 4 grandchild with no current tax liability.
Parents with one child in college and one entering college in the upcoming year, were losing out on much needed financial aid. Their income was modest ($65,000) and most of their assets were held in non-assessable assets. We undertook a review of their income and assets to determine the impact on potential financial aid and found they were unintentionally increasing their income by taking distributions from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). For every $10,000 IRA distribution, the client would potentially lose $4,700 in financial aid. They now have revised their college funding strategy to enhance their ability to qualify for financial aid and plan to use their retirement assets as intended – for their own retirement!
Picking the Right School
A married couple with one daughter, a high school senior, were contemplating colleges. Despite one parent who being disabled for a number of years, they had always lived within their means. It resulted in a paid off home and investment property. There are two methodologies for computing a family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), federal and institutional. Once they understood the difference the two methodologies would have on their finances, they were able to direct their daughter to focus on schools using the federal methodology. Since they were not going to qualify for need-based financial aid – this insight saved them thousands of dollars over the four years of college.
Cash Flow Problem
A couple that jointly owned a retail business were paying $35,000 a year for a public state college. Over the next three years, they were anticipating paying $105,000 (before tuition increases) out of their cash flow to complete their oldest child’s college education. And they had another son who would be entering college in two years. They were concerned about how they were going manage paying for both educations and their own retirement shortly thereafter. We developed a plan that allowed them to preserve more of their cash and beef up their retirement assets at the same time. It gave them much needed peace of mind about two of the biggest expenses a family faces.
Two For One
A single parent had recently gotten divorced and sold her home. She wanted to preserve the proceeds from the sale of the house to use to pay for her daughter’s college education. But she was particularly concerned about saving in a way that would not hurt her daughter’s future financial aid eligibility. She was also concerned about completion of a college fund if she should become disabled or died prematurely. The result was to reposition the family’s investment into a vehicle that would not affect the daughter’s eligibility for financial aid. It had the added advantage of enabling the child to attend college even if her mother become disabled or died.
You’ve helped me weed out some of the noise out there so I don’t have to go down the same path and make the same mistakes.
You’re one of the people I can tap into. You’re always willing to share rapid fire, interesting, and creative resources with me. You’ve shared information about what has worked and not worked for you in the past so I don’t go down the same path and make the same mistakes.
No fly-by night recommendations
The resources that you have discussed and recommended have tended to be low cost but high quality that you’ve personally used and found valuable. You’ve passed on that information to me so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Often, I was familiar with the resources so I knew they were good resources and not fly by night operations so I was comfortable and I was confident that you actually were sharing good information.