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Whether your children (or grandchildren) are 2 or 20, there’s one big thing probably weighing on your mind: How to pay for college. You’re not alone. According to recent studies, 42% of parents surveyed say their top money concern is paying for their child’s education.

The figures are daunting. Estimates project the cost of yearly tuition at a private college will be over $130,000 per year by the time today's grade schoolers reach college. The key to tackling these overwhelming figures is to have a strategy and long-term approach to saving for higher education.

It’s June and that means lots of young folks are graduating. For those of you getting ready to walk across the stage and receive your diploma…CONGRATULATIONS! Now, it’s time to start “adult-ing”.

Now that income tax filing season is behind us, it is not too early to plan and prepare for 2018. For many taxpayers, the idea of an income tax refund of any amount is welcome, anticipated, and often needed.

Few people think that they have “too much” money, and as taxpayers continue to receive their IRS income tax refund, folks begin to consider paying off credit cards or making a large purchase. Sadly, however, when Sallie Mae is on one’s personal payroll, that shopping spree or big screen TV may be just a virtual reality.  Sallie Mae is the nation's saving, planning, and paying for college company. Their mission is to help American students and families make the dream of higher education a reality through borrowing.

According to a recent article in Time Magazine, about 8 million (education loan) borrowers have given up paying on more than $137 billion in education debts. 

What does this mean? If a taxpayer has defaulted on their federal student loans, their refund may not be issued and instead, applied to what is called a tax refund offset.

If you are a parent of a soon-to-be college student or perhaps thinking of attending or completing your education, you will want to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as a FAFSA. 

But where to start? As they say, knowledge is power! For many, the FAFSA, and the process of completing a FAFSA, can be confusing. 

Lessening the confusion
First, take time to navigate through the FAFSA website. Unfortunately, a simple Google search with the terms FAFSA will return sites that may or may not be accurate.

The new 2017 Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available and for many applicants, especially those renewing their FAFSA, the improved process and streamlined criteria is a welcome change.  

Beginning this week, we will kick off a series of FAFSA-related articles that will visit topics and scenarios related to financial aid, navigating the FAFSA process, how your income or your taxes play into the FAFSA and important dates for timely form filing.

From divorced parents, to income variances, to which college savings plan is right for your family, we’ll address these topics and much more. This series is a great resource for parents preparing to send their child to college or degree-seeking adults entering the education marketplace.

FAFSA: The Nitty and the Gritty
First in a series

We all have our favorite seasons – spring, summer, baseball, football. As a CPA, I have tax season, and, if you are parent of a college-bound student, you know all too well, it is FAFSA season. Why should an event that seems invasive, confusing, and stressful be given such a lofty ranking?  How about a chance at free money?