Frequently Asked Questions

Major financial changes like selling a home, going from self-employed to salaried, or receiving gifts or inheritances can have a dramatic impact on your financial aid, taxes, and potential retirement income. One of our families sold their home and didn’t realize it would create capital gains which increased their AGI. The increase destroyed their aid for the year. Our advice is to make no major financial changes during college years (including base year) without meeting with us FIRST!!

To graduate college generally takes 120 units with 60 units in core classes. So PLAN AHEAD! Know what core courses are needed and when. Have your son see a counselor for a complete audit each quarter or semester. NOTE: 80% of students going to state colleges are taking 5+ years to graduate.

Do any and everything you can to improve your SAT scores. EFS also recommends taking the ACT. Some students do better on the ACT. Go to for more info.
Don’t stress. There are lots of ways to prepare for the SAT and ACT — books, videos, software, and prep courses. Start with free publications available at your high school. If you want more in-depth advice, you can buy practice manuals priced from $9.95 to $49.95. Most include a CD-ROM or tap into a website for updated information. There are private and group prep courses. You can also do it online at:

Under federal rules, students with 1 drug possession offense lose federal college aid (free & loans) for one year after conviction. A second conviction means ineligibility for two years, plus repayment begins immediately on any loans. Only four colleges out of the over 4,000 in the U.S. will reimburse students who lose aid because of drug convictions. It isn’t worth the risk to lose aid.

Small business owners have some major advantages when it comes to funding college. There are many strategies that can help small business owners write off a considerable amount of their student’s college education. However, the parent/small business owner should consult their tax advisor before implementing any strategy.

With today’s high cost of college, grandparents are playing a bigger role in paying for college. An AARP study of 1,000 grandparents shows that more than half currently contribute, or plan to contribute, to their grandchildren’s college education. Forty-three percent of the grandparents currently use bonds as an investment vehicle for these college savings goals, 40 percent use mutual funds, and 36 percent use stocks. More than half use cash to pay for some of the tuition. Only 2 percent of grandparents in the survey have invested in 529 Education Savings Plans, which we do not recommend. It is critical that if grandparents do contribute to college WHEN they contribute and HOW MUCH they contribute is very important.