With the increased cost and complexity of the college funding decision more families are hiring a college financial planner. Getting advice for your child’s college decision may be a good idea.  It is one of the most expensive and important decisions you will make for your child.  A college planner or college expert may vary in expertise and you need understand what this resource entails.  There are two major types of college planners.  There are the academic college planner and the financial college planner.

The academic college planner specializes in school selection, standardized testing, college admissions and application preparation.  Some college advisers will do all of these task and some will do only certain parts of the process.  Knowing the advice your need before you start is important.  Some academic college planners will help with some of the financial aid questions.  Academic advisers and college financial aid offices cannot legally answer all of the questions that you need answered.  Legally they cannot give financial advice unless they are a Registered Investment Adviser or Representative.

The job of the college financial planner is to help a family understand how to pay for the cost of education. They should be able to address the financial aid process, college saving plans, educational tax strategies, various financing options and student loan repayment.  As stated throughout this website your need to be careful since you will need to disclose your entire financial information.  Some advisers will recommend certain financial products as a solution.  In most cases, these products are not long term solutions.  An important question you need to ask the college financial planner is how are they compensated?  Do they receive compensation from their recommendation?  Are they a fiduciary?  This means the advisor must act in the client’s best interest. As an example, Amrein Financial is fee-only financial advisory firm and must act as a fiduciary for our clients.

This college financial planner video covers the following topics:

  • Types of expertise

  • Preferred College Planner Organizations

Getting the right advice may help you avoid mistakes in this confusing process.  If professional college financial help is need, please visit our College Affordability website and we now have a list of financial professionals trained in College Funding and Student Loans.