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Five Myths of College Planning

Five Myths of College Planning

November 01, 2018

I have three kids. We are in the midst of college planning for my middle child, Peggy. October 1 was the first time you could complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s one of the important steps in selecting the best college for your child.

As regular readers know, I’m a financial planner who is always an advocate for the client– a fiduciary advisor – and only works for the client – a fee-only advisor. As such, I believe strongly in the value of consulting with trained and qualified professionals for advice about reaching important goals.

That’s the reason my family determined to work with a consultant to help our daughter select the best college for her. The following is a blog from the folks at College Inside Track. For more information, contact Cozy Wittman at College Inside Track, (612) 850-5729,

The 5 Myths of College Costs

How many purchases in life would you spend hours on without knowing the cost? Imagine looking at homes or vehicles and obsessing over their details to find the right one, only to then be told the seller would get back to you on the price that they were customizing only to you. Seems crazy right? Yet that is essentially how the college pricing model works. It is unclear when the sticker price is the actual price and when it won’t be. No purchase—let alone one as significant in amount and impact—is so vague and hard to understand. It is no surprise, then, that myths and inaccuracies abound regarding paying for college.

Here are 5 myths that every family should be aware of:

  1. You will get a scholarship if your son or daughter has a phenomenal GPA and test scores.
  2. Starting at a community college saves a lot of money.
  3. A public university is always less expensive than a private.
  4. Colleges hold the leverage with their pricing.
  5. Money saved in a 529 Plan under your child’s name will hurt your chances of getting financial aid.

There could be many, many other myths that could be added to this list.  College is now the second largest purchase most families will make in their lives, yet most make the decision with only a little of the information they could have available to them.

What is College Inside Track?

College Inside Track helps high school students and their families find the right fit schools, including equal parts of academic and social fit along with the right financial fit. They help families think through their goals in these areas and then coach kids how to focus their energies in the right spaces instead of wasting it doing things that will have no impact on acceptance or scholarships.

The right college list to hit the goals for the student is a key part of assuring right fit, but it is only a start. Understanding where to interact with admissions and where it won’t matter, how to write a great college essay that says something about the student the admissions groups can’t find anywhere else and how to really demonstrate who you are as a student is all equally important!

The days of just filling out an application and heading off to college are gone and college is far too expensive to let kids try as they buy. Better to vet the schools well and assure right fit before accepting offers. The national transfer average for college today is 38 percent. Heading off to the wrong school is an expensive venture. It wastes tuition and delays graduation and thus causes the loss of a year or two of salary.

College Inside Track takes a strategic approach to college search and when kids hit freshman orientation they stay for the long haul! On average they save their families $75,000 off the sticker price of college.  Investing on the front end brings great overall savings but also assures that kids start college right and having experts drive the search significantly reduces the stress for the family!

If this article has you thinking about how to save for college, contact my office at I am always happy to meet with people who are working on their financial goals. Dunncreek Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice, nor is this article intended to do so.