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1 Preparing for College Finances in Elementary School October 6, 2011 Presented by: Brad Barnett, MS, AFC Accredited Financial Counselor Senior Associate.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Preparing for College Finances in Elementary School October 6, 2011 Presented by: Brad Barnett, MS, AFC Accredited Financial Counselor Senior Associate."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Preparing for College Finances in Elementary School October 6, 2011 Presented by: Brad Barnett, MS, AFC Accredited Financial Counselor Senior Associate Director James Madison University Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

2 2 Before We Get Started This PowerPoint Presentation will be available to download on the JMU Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships website (under the “Prospective Students” link)

3 3 Objectives Review those involved in paying for college Understand college costs Discuss options to pay for college Answer questions

4 4 Consult with Appropriate Stakeholders Determine who will be involved in paying for the student’s education Those parties should begin discussions now and develop a plan If you use a financial planner, talk with him/her about college savings Set realistic expectations…it’s okay to tell your child “no” –Consider the opportunity cost of your money. If you spend a dollar somewhere, by default you cannot spend it somewhere else. Money is finite. –I’ve seen many parents mortgage their house and/or spend their retirement savings to send a child to the college he/she wants to attend

5 5 Learn More About Schools Now Understand the costs of schools Examine the types of schools Try not to let cost be a large deterrent at this point, you have some time to save and plan

6 What Does College Cost Now? 6 School Type ( ) Average Tuition/Fees Average Room/Board Average T/F + R/B Virginia 4yr Private Universities (25)$27,045$8,809$35,854 Virginia 4yr Public Universities (15)$9,499$8,672$18,171 Virginia Community Colleges (23)$5,067N/A

7 Highest and Lowest 7 School Type ( ) Highest Tuition/Fees Highest Room/Board Highest T/F + R/B Virginia 4yr Private Universities (25)$43,170$11,100$52,614 Virginia 4yr Public Universities (15)$13,184$10,300$22,024 Virginia Community Colleges (23)$3,900N/A School Type ( ) Lowest Tuition/Fees Lowest Room/Board Lowest T/F + R/B Virginia 4yr Private Universities (25)$14,630$5,200$19,850 Virginia 4yr Public Universities (15)$6,700$7,080$15,328 Virginia Community Colleges (23)$2,840N/A

8 8 What Will College Cost Later? There is no way to accurately predict what college will cost in the next 8 to 13 years For planning purposes, you may want to use an annual increase in billable costs of 6% Using 6%, 13 years out ( ) tuition/fees + room/board at the average 4 year Virginia private college could be $78,062 Using 6%, 13 years out ( ) tuition/fees + room/board at the average 4 year Virginia public college could be $39,562 Using 6%, 13 years out ( ) tuition/fees at the average Virginia community college could be $11,032 *Figures provided for demonstration and planning purposes only and are no guarantee of what costs will be in the future.

9 9 Net Price Calculators All schools are required to have a “net price calculator” They all will NOT look or function identically Example: –Go to –Select “JMU Aid Estimator” on the top bar –Answer the applicable questions –Receive an estimated award immediately

10 10 How Am I Going To Pay For College Five primary sources of financial aid are: Federal State Institutional Private Self/Family

11 11 Federal Assistance Primary federal aid programs: Pell Grant Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Federal Workstudy Federal Perkins Loan Federal Direct Loan Federal Parent PLUS Loan Visit for more detailswww.studentaid.ed.gov *Aid programs are subject to change

12 12 State Assistance Primary state aid programs: Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program Commonwealth Award Tuition Assistance Grant Program (private colleges only) College Scholarship Assistance Program Virginia Transfer Grant Visit for more detailswww.schev.edu *Aid programs are subject to change

13 13 Institutional Assistance Need-based grants Need-based scholarships Merit-based scholarships Combination Need/Merit-based scholarships Institutional Employment *Aid programs are subject to change

14 14 Financial aid from private resources can be the most elusive of all aid programs Available From: Local businesses Civic groups Churches Private benefactors National organizations Where to Look: High school guidance counselors Write, call, or visit businesses, civic groups, churches, etc. Public libraries Internet (free ones only) Private Assistance

15 15 What Can I Do Now? SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! If you have not started, you should do so immediately If you have started, evaluate your current savings plan and see if you can afford to increase it if necessary There are many savings options

16 16 Zero-Based Budget Income minus expenses each month equals zero This means you have told every dollar of income you have to do something very specific If you stick with this for each category, you will not overspend and will likely avoid unnecessary debt and expenditures

17 17 Budget! Often overlooked…its not always about making more money If you begin using a zero-based budget, you may find you are spending money on things you do not need now Can incorporate college savings into your budget Get control of your money! Generally, will spend less if you budget

18 Cost of Living Adjustments Sample adjustments: –Cell phone: If your plan costs $200/month, eliminate some options to perhaps $100 –Dining out: If you spend $200/month dining out, cut back to $50 –Car payment: If you have a $400/month car payment, sell the car and pay cash for something less expensive –Total savings recouped in this scenario is $650/month that can be used towards college savings This is merely one example and may not apply directly to you Looking at where you spend money and reducing some of the “wants” can help make college more affordable Track your spending (every dollar) for one month…it might surprise you 18

19 19 Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) Money invested for college that can generally be withdrawn tax-free if used for college Annual contribution is currently $2,000 per child (from all contributors) –Unless Congress takes action, the limit will be reduced to $500 after 2012 Contribution goes into an account that will eventually be distributed to your child if not used for college. You cannot simply refund the account back to yourself like you can with most 529 plans. This means you lose some degree of control. Website to research this program

20 20 529’s Two Types: –Prepaid Tuition Plan –Education Savings Plans Website to research this program

21 21 Virginia Prepaid Tuition Plan (VPEP) Locks in “tomorrow’s” tuition at “today’s” prices Will pay tuition based on your contract plan Community College Plan: –One, two, or three year contract University Plan: –One, two, three, four, or five year contract Must purchase at least one year, but can mix and match plans Limited enrollment period Has become progressively more expensive over the years Information available at

22 VPEP Benefit (in-state) Pays in-state undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees for normal, full-time course load at Virginia public colleges Can be applied to private colleges, but will only pay the lesser of: –Payments made on the contract plus the actual rate of return, or –The highest in-state undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees at Virginia public schools for the same year 22

23 VPEP Benefit (out-of-state) Can be applied to out-of-state colleges, but will only pay the lesser of: –Payments made on the contract plus a reasonable rate of return, or –Average in-state undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees at Virginia public schools for the same year Will likely be less than the average Virginia public college costs 23

24 24 Virginia Education Savings Plans Virginia has three plans: VEST (available through Virginia College Savings Plan) CollegeAmerica (available through financial advisors) College Wealth (FDIC insured through participating banks) Money is invested to grow tax free for college Can be used for qualified college expenses such as tuition/fees and room/board Flexibility in investment options and contribution amounts Not guaranteed by Virginia Growth is subject to market conditions Enrollment open year round Information available at

25 25 ESA or 529 (Savings Plan) Growth Example based on an average annual return of 10% (long term investing) –Kindergartner whose first semester of college will be August 2024 (13 years) –Begin investing in July 2011, starting with zero saved before this point –Stop in July 2024 –Investing for 13 years

26 26 Average Growth of Example (assume 10% rate of return) $100/month Total of $15,600 invested Grows on average to $31,795 $300/month Total of $46,800 invested Grows on average to $95,385 The longer you save, the more you can earn –Example, $200/month over 10 years would grow to around $63,590 (on average) This is no guaranty of future growth or value Growth is subject to various economic conditions Consult an expert before investing If you did nothing more than put the money “under your mattress”, you would at least have what you saved

27 Saving Impact on Aid Eligibility You can’t predict the future Congress can change the rules so what applies today will not when your children got college You are better off being prepared to pay for college than hoping government programs or institutional aid will be available Control what you can You can contribute to an ESA and 529 ESA’s and 529’s are treated as an asset of the custodian, not the beneficiary, which is generally the parent 27

28 Planning on Loan Debt? In May 2011, NBC reported that student loan debt has reached $800 billion, more than the combined credit card debt of all Americans (it is expected to ready $1 trillion in the very near future) According to The Project on Student Debt, students now come out of college with an average of $24,000 in student debt $24,000 in student loans equals roughly $276/month in payments for 10 years (not including capitalized interest) Lost Opportunity Cost: Loan payments will total $33,100 in 10 years, and $9,100 of this is interest! $276 invested with an average rate of return of 10% over 10 years is $57,000 $276 stuffed under your mattress for 10 years is $33,100 28

29 29 Other Options Personal savings Investments (e.g., Mutual Funds, CD’s, bonds, etc.) Payment plans offered through the college Part-time employment Private Loans (last resort) Federal Parent Loans Home equity (risky) Reducing debt or expenses prior to college to make paying for college more affordable Be careful of sacrificing your retirement to pay for college

30 Web Resources

31 Summary Having a plan that is reliant on future government and/or school funding is not the safest way to go Control what you can control…your spending and saving (budget) Start saving now Have realistic expectations of what you can afford, and stick with it 31

32 32 Questions Brad Barnett –Phone: (540) –


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