College Financial Planning Resources
We thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that you can always come to for all of your college financial planning needs. You’ll notice that in the future we will reference this page quite often. We recommend bookmarking it for your reference and convenience. Enjoy, and feel free to share this page with friends if you think they could use help with college financial planning resources!
Disclosure from Brad: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with these people and their services, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your college planning goals.
- College Money Report: This report provides a free personalized estimate of how much you’ll be expected to pay out of pocket at the colleges on your list. Simply enter some basic details about your student and family, and the report will show you how much you will potentially qualify for financial aid and institutional scholarships at each school, what it thinks you can afford, and how much you might be expected to pay.
- Student Aid Index (SAI) Calculator: This calculator helps you determine your student aid index (SAI), which colleges use to determine your family’s financial need and how much financial aid you might potentially receive. Start here to calculate this all-important number for your college financial planning.
- Net Price of Colleges By State: The true cost of colleges; both public and private, varies
depending on your net income. Our handy charts breakdown the true costs of colleges in Wisconsin. Select your state from the map or dropdown menu.
- 2023-24 Federal Student Loan Interest Rates:
See the current projected interest rates for 2023-24 Direct Loans and Parent PLUS Loans. Federal student loan interest rates are determined each May, and here’s what you can expect this year.
- Best Student Loan Options for 2023-24:
College is expensive, and it’s not getting any cheaper. This is why it pays to know your best student loan options. Here are the top student loans to help you pay for college, save money, and avoid graduating with crippling financial debt.
- College Visit Questionnaire and Checklist: This reference contains hundreds of sample questions, organized by category, to help you develop your own list of questions to ask during a college visit. There are questions about academics, social support, extracurriculars, plus questions for professors, campus tour guides, current students and much more.
- The Scholarship Guide For Busy Parents (Free Video Resource) : This free series of four videos will teach you everything you need to know about scholarships, including which opportunities are available, how to determine if they’re realistic for your student and worth your time, important do’s and don’ts, and how to apply for scholarships and win.
- The Truth About Scholarships: Get the real story about scholarships, including the three types of scholarships that are available, how they work, and how to go beyond the hype, get to the truth, and take the right steps for your student.
- 10 Strategies to Improve Your Scholarship Chances: Everyone loves the idea of free money for college, and scholarships are a great way to get it. But you also need to use the right strategies to increase your chances of success. Here are the 10 ways students and their families can improve their chances of getting need-based, merit-based and other types of scholarships.
- Helping Your Teen Choose a College Major and Career : Choosing a college major and a potential career can be a big challenge for many students. It’s often a struggle for parents too. Should you push your child toward a particular major or career? Should you help them decide? What do you do if they’re undecided? Get answers to these and many other questions in this helpful article.
- Med School: Successful Planning for Pre-Med and Medical School Students. Interview with Ryan Gray, MD (Podcast Interview): Dr. Ryan Gray, host of Medical School HQ Podcast, shares how to best prepare for and succeed in medical school. He shares where to start on the path to medical school and what potential students should keep in mind. “People need to experience what being a physician is like,” states Dr. Gray. Being a physician is not the same as being a patient.
- ACT / SAT Test Planning Tips with Kreigh Knerr (Podcast Interview): Great interview with Kreigh Knerr, owner of Knerr Learning Center and specialist on college testing! Kreigh gives up some great nuggets on what families should be doing to prepare. Kreigh provides great information relating to questions about standardized testing.
- College Test Prep Interview with Jean Burke, SAT Instructor (Podcast Interview): Jean Burke shares tips about the SAT and PSAT, when to start studying for them, information about the ACT and whether your student should take both, and how to prepare for these important tests.
College Application Essays
- Writing Quality Essays, Interview with Ethan Sawyer, The College Essay Guy (Podcast Interview): Sawyer goes over the importance of application essays, how parents can help in the process, and goes over great resources like sample essays, step by step writing guides, timeline planning, and his own video series guide to the college essay process.
- How To Stand Out When Writing Your College Essay, Interview with Steve Schwartz, Professional College Admissions Counselor (Podcast Interview): Schwartz goes over how to stand out when writing a college application, pointing out that simply being a member of an organization isn’t going to impress most colleges. “If you can indicate one thing that shows you innovated in some way, created something, started something, or reached for some opportunity, that is going to impress them.“, Steve says.
- GI Bill Comparison Tool Tutorial and Free GI Bill Cheat Sheet (Free Video Resource): This free tool provided by us goes over things like what the GI Bill exactly is, who is eligible for benefits, and how to transfer GI Bill benefits to your children. In addition, a free cheat sheet document is included for you to read at your leisure.
- Benefits of GI Bills to Pay for College Interview with Barrett Bogue, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Podcast Interview): Barrett Bogue works for the Office of Education Service, which is responsible for paying and administering the GI Bill. He is the team leader for public relations and digital engagement. His team is responsible for raising awareness, as well as educating and promoting the GI Bill benefit program.
- ROTC Scholarships and Careers Interview with Captain Orlandon Howard, U.S. Army (Podcast Interview): Captain Howard is a public affairs officer who works for the U.S. Army Cadet Command. He now works to make people aware of what the ROTC program is all about and how students can benefit from ROTC.
- Divorce and College Planning Interview with Sandy Durst, New Jersey Attorney (Podcast Interview): Sandy Durst is the founding partner of the Durst Firm, a law firm that deals with family law and divorce. Durst goes over important information about divorce and the college financial aid process such as: what to do when a child is applying for financial aid with two separate parent incomes, 529 plans, and child support issues.
- Athletic Scholarships Interview with David Frank, VP Sales and Marketing, Athnet Sports Recruiting (Podcast Interview): David Frank, VP of Athnet Sports Recruiting discusses the benefits and downsides to entering college through athletic scholarships and the process involved in evaluating the best fit for your family, how the athletic scholarship system works and when to contact coaches, and quick tips for families considering pursuing athletic scholarships.
- Recruiting the College-Bound High School Athlete with Erik Lofdahl of Midwest Collegiate Scouting (Podcast Interview): Erik Lofdahl of Midwest Collegiate Scouting details how the athletic recruiting process works and why you should consider hiring a recruiting specialist. Midwest Collegiate Scouting assists students in the recruiting process as they transition into college sports.
- Helping Students with Learning Disabilities Prepare for College with Linda Katz (Podcast Interview): Linda helps students with learning disabilities, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), prepare for college while still in high school and how to be successful in college. Before founding Right Fit College Coaching, she worked as an occupational therapist assisting kids in early intervention that had sensory or motor difficulties.
- Effects of ADHD on Students and Families in the College Process Interview with Eric Tivers, ADHD/ADD Expert and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Podcast Interview):Eric Tivers shares his expertise in working with students with ADHD. He works with students with ADHD and students on the Autism spectrum with the college process. Diagnosed with ADHD himself, he shares tips on how to still be successful in college with an ADHD diagnosis.
- BigFuture: College and scholarship search engines to help you find the right college for you or your child
- College Confidential: Hundreds of pages of articles about choosing a college, getting into the college you want, how to pay for it, and much more.
For many students, a bachelor’s degree is considered the golden ticket to a more financially and intellectually fulfilling life. But the disturbing reality is that debt, unemployment, and politically charged pseudo learning are more likely outcomes for many college students today than full-time employment and time-honored knowledge.
This raises the question: is college still worth it? Who is responsible for debt-saddled, undereducated students, and how do future generations of students avoid the same problems? In a time of economic uncertainty, what majors and schools will produce competitive graduates? Is College Worth It? uses personal experience, statistical analysis, and real-world interviews to provide answers to some of the most troubling social and economic problems of our time.
Prospective college students and their parents have been relying on Loren Pope’s expertise since 1995, when he published the first edition of this indispensable guide. This new edition profiles 41 colleges—all of which outdo the Ivies and research universities in producing performers, not only among A students but also among those who get Bs and Cs. Contents include:
- Evaluations of each school’s program and “personality”
- Candid assessments by students, professors, and deans
- Information on the progress of graduates
This new edition not only revisits schools listed in previous volumes to give readers a comprehensive assessment, it also addresses issues such as homeschooling, learning disabilities, and single-sex education.
And You Thought Getting into College Was Hard… Students who assume they can figure out college on the fly often learn things the hard way—they look back and think, “If only I’d known this from the start!” College Rules! will save you the time and trouble, setting you up for academic success from the get-go. Lesson #1: College is different from high school, and even those who were at the top of their class will need practical advice on how to successfully transition to college life. This updated and expanded third edition of College Rules! reveals strategies that aren’t taught in lectures, including how to:
- Study smarter—not harder
- Plan a manageable course schedule
- Master e-learning technologies
- Interact effectively with profs
- Become a research pro—at the library and online
- Organize killer study groups
- Feel engaged—even in “yawn” courses
- Survive the stresses of exam week
- Succeed even as an alternative or adult student
- Set yourself up for stellar recommendations
Saving time, energy, and aggravation by doing everything right the first time will free you up for that pizza break, ultimate frisbee game, or ski trip even quicker. Why? Because College Rules!