Pausing To Reflect with Lisa Foster
April 4, 2023

Paying For College with Brad Baldridge

Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge
Stitcher podcast player badge
Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Amazon Music podcast player badge
Audible podcast player badge
PocketCasts podcast player badge
Goodpods podcast player badge

College is an exciting time in a child's life, but for parents who have to figure out ways to afford it, it can feel overwhelming and downright frightening to plan for it. This week we are joined by Brad Baldridge, a college funding specialist who has helped thousands of families plan and save for college. Brad is the host of Taming the High Cost of College podcast and is regarded as one of the nation’s leading college planning and financial experts. He offers life-changing advice through his private practice, online platforms, workshops, seminars, and events each year. This week Brad is sharing his incomparable knowledge with us - you won’t want to miss this one. Resources: Guest Website: Facebook: Linkedin: Ways to support Real Life Momz - Tell a friend about the Real Life Momz Podcast ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ - Do you love the Real Life Momz Podcast and want more? Subscribe to  Real Life Momz, and for just $1.99 a month, you will receive access to all archived ad-free episodes from past seasons, early access to new episodes, and monthly bonus content. And subscribers-only will have access to upcoming topics and the ability to ask upcoming guests questions. When you subscribe and opt-in to receive emails, your questions can be answered on the podcast. So click here and subscribe today.⁠ ⁠ ⁠⁠ -One-time donation: If you would like to support the Real Life Momz Podcast, make a one-time donation at ⁠⁠⁠


--- Send in a voice message:


Hi and welcome to Real Life Momz. I'm your host Lisa Foster and Real Life Momz is a podcast that's all about connecting moms through real parenting conversations. I believe that moms have so much insight and knowledge, and together we are powerful. On this podcast, we give moms a voice to tell their stories, share their expertise and resources through real conversations. And this week we are joined by Brad Baldridge, who is a college funding specialist and has helped thousands of families plan and save for college. 

He's the host of Taming The High Cost of College podcasts. Brad has become one of the nation's leading college planning and college financial experts. He has offered life-changing advice through his private practice, online platforms, numerous workshops, seminars and events each year. And today, Brad is sharing his knowledge with us on how to plan and pay for college. Hi Brad. Welcome to Real Life Momz. I am really actually in need of your wisdom because you're a college funding specialist and you help parents learn ways to save for college, which I definitely need. 

Um, you help them maximize financial aid and help families avoid student loans, which I would love to learn more about. So as a parent myself who has a daughter getting ready to navigate through college and this whole experience in about another year or two, I'm just so thankful that you're here to talk to us about this process. 

Yeah. Well it's nice to be here. So 

Maybe you could just start by telling the listeners a little bit about yourself and some of the services you provide. 

I'm a financial advisor by training. So I've, or my CFP 24, 23 years ago, something like that. And been doing, you know, general financial planning for my whole career. But in the last 15 years or so, I started focusing in on what I call late stage college planning. And late stage college planning is you've got a high school student and you're trying to figure it all out. So, and as compared to early stage, which is again, maybe you have kids in middle school or grade school or even maybe just, Hey, we're pregnant, let's start figuring out college. 

All that you know, is great to do. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, even when you do all of that, when you get to late stage, there's that extra layer of complexity where, alright, now we need to start figuring out, well, what colleges might be a good fit? And we're gonna have to fill out applications for admissions, fill out applications for financial aid. There's a lot more to do, even if you did a great job, early stage and you have a big pile of money, you still want to, you know, again, do things wisely and come up with, you know, a way to not spend all the money if you don't have to. 

I love that you said that because I, I think we started kind of early, like we did one of those college funds. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I definitely feel late stage as I'm getting closer to it because like you said, there's so much that comes up from it. So I'm glad that you can talk, uh, about that as well as early stages. 

Yes, absolutely. 

You're talking about like, like the right fit, uh, of school. So I see my daughter looking through colleges, she's super excited. She knows the right fit for her, but I don't really understand how do you find out what the right financial fit is and that you're more comfortable paying for college? Is there like a way to figure that out? 

Oh yes, for sure. Um, it's not easy potentially because of the, um, the complexities and now that college has, um, I liken college to healthcare where, you know, we added in insurances to help pay for things and then we have these different kinds of insurance and we can save money and every layer just adds an extra layer of complexity. Same thing has been happening with college, where they started out with maybe some basic loans that could help students and then they added grants and scholarships and federal aid and state aid and aid from the colleges themselves. 

And it just got more and more complicated. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And along with that, of course the price went up. So I think the biggest challenge for most families is there's a published price for most colleges that you can find on their website. Generally it's called cost of attendance. 

And uh, and the reason we use cost of attendance is it's supposed to be an all-inclusive number. And the government essentially said, all colleges need to publish a cost of attendance, uh, and make it available so that we can do it. Apples to apples comparison and, and cost of attendance includes tuition, room and board, books, fees and beer and pizza, or in other words, travel and spending money. So most freshmen going off to college, they're gonna get a bill for their tuition and fees and their room and board. They're gonna pick a meal plan and pick a dorm and pick some classes and that will ultimately determine their bill, uh, each semester. 

But in addition to that, there's a couple additional expenses called travel and personal expenses. And travel is what an estimate of what it might cost for the student to get back and forth. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative> from home to school. And personal expenses are things like dates and cell phones and laundry and all the stuff that students will need to do outside of those direct bills. Now most families already cover that for their kids. Right. Laundry gets done for your high school kids and they have a cell phone and typically it's on mom and dad's plan and it's probably not gonna change while they're in college. So a lot of that stuff is perhaps covered, but then you're going to get a direct bill for tuition and room and board. 

Now the cost of attendance these days varies from about 20, 25,000 at a lower cost state school all the way up to 85, 80 6,000 for the most expensive private schools. And for many families, that's quite the shock of how hundred mm-hmm. <affirmative> would we pay 85,000 a year for college. 

And the right answer is, many of us will not pay that kind of money cuz although that's the list price outta college, it isn't necessarily the price that you're going to pay. Just like when they talk about, well this medicine is crazy expensive, but then the insurance gets involved, involved and now, and next thing you know, it's, it's a different price altogether. It's the same thing happens with college where especially at the private schools, they tend to offer aid typically scholarships, either need based or merit that bring your net price down. So one of the things that I, you know, I offer on my website is a net price of colleges by income that kind of gives the average cost of a typical college. 

And what you'll find is many colleges are reasonably competitive with the local state for the right student. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that means, you know, maybe your state school is 25,000 all in, and the private school you're looking at might be 60,000 list or 70,000 list price, but after scholarships and everything else, maybe it's 25,000 for the state school and 32,000 for the private school. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, or sometimes it's even better. Right. The, the private school is actually a lower cost option. So the state school is 25,000 and the private school is 22,000 or something like that. 


I have heard that. I have friends that that exactly that case scenario happened to them where the private school was lower after the scholarships and things that they offered than their state school. So I was shocked at that and I think that is great for parents to know. 

Right. For sure. And then the other, and I used 25,000 as mi you know, I guess the official average, the last what I saw was 27,000 mm-hmm. <affirmative> for a state school. Uh, but many states are substantially more than that. Illinois comes to mind in, I think, uh, New Jersey, uh, some of the East coast, California, California has their uc schools, which are University of California, so UCLA and some of those schools in state prices close to 35,000. Wow. So they're substantially more, but they also have the California state system. 

So they've got two systems in California and that one is more in the 25, 20 8,000 range. So they kind of have a low cost and a high cost option in California. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> both state schools. So there's, again, there's lots of options out there. And then understanding, you know, what your net cost is gonna be. 

So, you know, that's, that's where the challenge comes in. It's like knowing that it exists is the first step and then the next step is, well how do I know if you know, it is like if I walked on to a car dealership and the price in the windows on some cars was 80 and some cards was 50 and some was 20, but I didn't know what kind of discounts. Some of 'em are half off or some of them are, you know, 75% off and some of 'em are full price. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's a very confusing situation where I would look at that expensive car if I knew it was gonna be half off, but I don't know. 

So how do I figure that out? And that's, that's the challenge that many families are up against. And yeah, as you, as you work with colleges and you actually go through the financial aid process, in the end you'll know and before you have to make a decision, you'll know. 

Um, but, and there's ways to predict ahead of time. So a lot of colleges as an example, will have what's called a net price calculator on their website that will help you, you know, you put in your financial information and sometimes also you put in grades and that kind of stuff for the student and it will come back with an estimate of what it might cost. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Now those net price calculators, some of them are very good and they're right on and others of them are obvious that the college put it there because the government required it. It doesn't really work very well. 

As an example, I was at a college the other day looking at their net price calculator and one of the questions was, what was your income in 2013? And it's like, obviously they haven't updated it in a long time. 

<laugh> because it still had really old questions in it, so mm-hmm. <affirmative> that's also with a grain of salt. But that's, yeah. It's one of the things that I help families with there. I have some software now where I can actually, you know, put school lists together and compare 'em to the family finances and calculate need-based aid and calculate merit aid and get a preliminary estimate at a lot of the schools. Now some schools are very predictable because they have, you know, they share that mm-hmm. <affirmative> on their website and that type of thing. 

Other schools are not as predictable because they aren't willing to share as much mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so in the end, the ultimate situation will be when you actually apply and get an offer, that's when you know for sure what it will cost. Right. Prior to that, sometimes there's a good ways to estimate it. 

And then of course had a lot of state schools, and this is starting to change, but a lot of state schools, they just generally didn't offer a lot of discounts to begin with. Especially if your income was, you know, in the 75,000 plus range, you didn't qualify for a lot of federal money and the states don't have a lot of money for, in a lot of states where for higher income families, they have something for very low income families mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which means you're gonna pay the full price at a state school. Right. But the full price at a state school was typically a, still a low cost option, um, because they start so low, um mm-hmm. 

<affirmative>. So that's the, uh, you know, the challenge that, so families that are saying, well wait a minute, even 15 or 20,000 is way out of our range. Yeah, well as your income gets lower, you know, say below 75,000, now there's additional grants and additional state aid additional guarantees out there now mm-hmm. <affirmative> that will help in that situation. Um, 

So Brad, can I ask, just to clarify that net price calculator on the site, do you have to do that for each school because each school, depending on your grades and things like that, and income would have different offers? Or is it just That's correct. You can, oh, so each school, okay. 

Right, exactly. So it's a lot of work mm-hmm. <affirmative> to, you know, any particular school. If you say, well I just wanna know what this school's gonna cost, well in 20 minutes or half an hour, once you kinda learn the system and the first time it might take you an hour and a half. But eventually you can learn kind of how to do that. And again, sometimes those calculators are obviously not very reliable. Reliable, so you're kind of wasting your time mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but where they are reliable, you can get that answer. The, the challenge is, well tell me which schools are gonna give me a good answer without me going to 4,000 schools and doing this 4,000 times. 

Um, cuz there's a lot of schools out there and it's like I said, it's just a challenge and it's, you know, again, for most families there's going to be some strategy around, well we're gonna look at some of the local state schools as an option. They might automatically be the price to beat, but then don't disqualify, you know, the elite privates or any sort of private school automatically. Because again, depending on your situation, if you get a 30 or 40 or $50,000 scholarship at a school that costs 60,000, well they're, they could very well be in the running. 


Um, and I hear that a lot at, you know, early on where people say, well we can't afford a school that costs 60,000. And it's like, well if that school tends to offer aid for particular types of students and sometimes it's academics, sometimes it's athletics, sometimes it's based on need, sometimes it's a combination of all those things, then, uh, you can obviously get a better price. Right. And then there's all the outside things. Right. So the first step for most families is you find a school at a, an acceptable net price and then from there you pay that net price as efficiently as you can. 

Hypothetically, if the state school at 25,000 is, is around where you end up, again, most parents don't pay 25,000 mm-hmm. <affirmative> because you know, the student could earn something summers and weekends and whatever. So they might be able to contribute 2, 3, 4, $5,000. 

Typically a student can also borrow 5,500 in their own name right out of the gate. So that's another, you know, so maybe 10,000 off of that. So maybe there's 15 left over and if the parent has had some sort of savings along the way, you know, maybe they've got 10 or 20 or $30,000 tucked away and then you get to the finals and say, oh, and with the kids out of the house, you know, maybe we would have 300 or $500 a month. Especially when you, when they say, you know, we were paying all those sports fees and the club soccer and all that stuff and you add all that up, that was 500 a month, well stop doing that cuz they're now off to college and we'll start contributing that towards their actual, you know, college expenses. 

So then you kind of piecemeal it together and say, well, you know, a thousand, you know, 5,000 comes from here and 10,000 comes from there and, and you can build a plan and that's, you know, again, I get simplifying things a little bit or oversimplifying things a little bit, but that's kind of the process. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative> of how do we find a school at a good price and then there's 

A piece it together. Right. 

But there's a new wrinkle. There is how do we know that's the, that is the best price that we're gonna 

Get the school. Yes. Yeah. How do you know that? Yeah. How do you know that where the coupons are, the discounts 

<laugh>. Right. Exactly. And that, that's where again, having some experience and you know, in the end, one strategy that many people will employ right? Is they will apply to two or three state schools and or more and a handful of private schools or more. So now they've got 10 or 12 offers and they can literally compare the offers and say this school is net 27,000 and this one's net 20 S nine and this one's 32 and this one's 38 and this one seems way out of the line cuz this one's at, you know, 62. 

Now ideally your student loves the lowest cost option and life is good 


Right. Um, almost never works out that way in my experience, but it would be ideal. So then there is some opportunity potentially to go back to the schools that your students truly interested in and see if they can do better based on an appeal process or that type of thing. 

Wow. So you can appeal the package they give you, is that what you're 

Saying? That's correct. 

Wow. I did not know that. How, how does that work? 

Right. Well so in general it, because it's a complicated process. A lot of times colleges will make mistakes or the parents will make mistakes when they fill out forms or whatever it will be. And you can certainly appeal on that process, right. Of, well I have, you know, I had 400,000 in my 401k and I put it on the FAFSA and now I've learned that I shouldn't have mm-hmm. <affirmative> so that, you know, messed up my calculations. So I want to go back to the school and tell 'em about the error and get 'em to correct it and then see if I, I could get a better offer. 

So that type of thing. But there's also changes in circumstances that colleges will consider mm-hmm. <affirmative> things like, you know, death, disability, divorce, sudden changes. Um, some of the, you know, like Hurricane Katrina



They were able to go back to the colleges and say, well this is based on a tax return from almost two years ago and that's not my reality anymore. And the government gave those colleges a lot of permission to Correct and, you know, adjust things for the new reality, um, in the, in the hurricane zones. So that's a common disaster relief situation. But, and again, it's also, well, you know, two years ago we were married and that was our nice tax return, but now we're divorced and mm-hmm. 

<affirmative> things are different or someone unfortunately passed away or whatever it might be. And that's all those things are grounds. And then the reality of it is you could also just say, well I love your school except the price is too high. I've got better offers at other schools. Do you want to, you know, do you wanna get in the B in the ballpark so I can come to my first choice or mm-hmm. <affirmative> mom and dad are, if we're gonna make me go to someplace that isn't quite so expensive mm-hmm. <affirmative> sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. 

Right. Well, what I say it can't hurt to ask. 

Right. That's exactly right. And, and some people are a little shy about that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but I've never heard of anyone like losing their offer because they asked for more money. 

Right. And it, are the students actually doing this? Cuz you're, you're talking as if you're a student asking, are these parents calling? 

Ideally it's the student, this is Right. I mean 

Yeah, they should. Right, 

Exactly. Once we get to college, they're supposedly big boys and girls and it's their life and Uhhuh, <affirmative>, mom and dad, you know, and again, colleges understand the reality that mom and dad are also probably paying at least some of it or helping in some way. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But in the end it, what doesn't look good is when the parents are, you know, actively engaged in discussions about how much this costs and how it'll work and the students sitting in the corner playing on their phone. 


I mean, that is not good. Um, you know, the student ideally would say, be able to say things like, you know, I really love this school and I wanna make it happen, but I need your help. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and you know, right now mom and dad are willing to pay and help me this much, but that's not gonna get me all the way there. So I, you know, I've got a gap to fill. And like I said, sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but, but you know, the student definitely needs to be involved. 

Yeah, I totally agree. I think that's great. Can you talk a little bit about like where to even find scholarships, different scholarships? How far ahead do you plan these? And do schools have their own scholarships or are they, are they generalized for, you know, you apply to something and it just can go anywhere? How does that work? 

Yes. So yeah, so on my website we've got the scholarship guide for Busy Parents. That is, it's four videos and kind of answers all these questions in much more detail. But in general, there's two main types of scholarships. There's need-based scholarships and there's merit scholarship. So a need-based scholarship essentially is based on family finances typically. Where it's like, okay, based on your relatively low income and our high price, you're gonna need help. 

So this is what we can offer you. And that's what we're, when we fill out the FAFSA form or fill out the CSS profile, that's the whole financial aid application process. 

Okay. So that's actually considered financial aid, is that correct? Right. 

Okay. Right. But they're gonna give it to you and call, you call it a scholarship often mm-hmm. <affirmative>, although Grant kind of means the same thing. And that's, but that implies you, again, it's based on need. Everybody likes the idea of my kid got a scholarship, it sounds better. So 

Sounds so much better. Yeah. It's just like you're a winner 

<laugh>. Exactly. So they may as well call it that, even if it is need-based mm-hmm <affirmative>. And then of course there's the merit-based where colleges are saying, you know, for strong academic students, we're willing to do this for athletes, we're willing to do that for future leaders or whatever groups they're trying to attract. Right. So they used to do it in a kind of a, a little more altruistic way where they essentially said, anybody that is, has test scores like that and grades like this and you know, they qualify for 10,000 and then if you have better grades like this and test scores like that, you get 20,000. 

Um, but now there's also a little bit of an element of what they, they're doing what we would call enrollment management, which is if I give them $20,000 and they come, but they would've come had I given them 10, well then I foolishly gave 'em 10,000 more than I needed to. 

So they're trying to figure out what's the least amount that they can give you to get you to come and you're trying to figure out how can I get the most amount mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, so that game is, is a little more real than it used to be. Where, you know, what is it gonna take to close the deal today, kind of talk occasionally does come up, uh, around, you know, pricing and that kind of stuff. But in general, ADE is, you know, so that would fall into the merit aid category. Although it doesn't sound much like merit aid cuz it's really, again, just trying to get the, get the student to actually come. 

Um, but merit aid often would be, like I said, having test scores and grades and that type of stuff. Now those types of scholarships can come from multiple sources. 

So certainly the federal government offers grants which would be need based and the supplemental grant, many states offer grants and or scholarships. So Georgia and Florida have some pretty substantial scholarships that are merit based, where if, you know, you do this in high school and you have these kind of grades or these kind of test scores, they've got money. And if you don't do those things, you'll get less or nothing. So, and then to support that, they also may have, and if you're low income, you have a need, then we've got these programs as well. 

So every state kinda has their own mismatch of different choices and and aid. And then, and some states are much more beneficial than others. So the top states are averaging $2,000 per student and the bottom states are averaging, averaging $20 per student. So some states really believe in it and are offering a lot of different programs that other states, you know, don't do much. And as far as helping. 

And is this you, do you apply for the state that you live in? Like I'm in Colorado, my child would apply for a state scholarship in Colorado, but would that be transferred if we go to an at a state school? 

Generally not. So most state aid is available to state residents mm-hmm. <affirmative> to be used at a local state school or perhaps at a in-state private school as well. 


So depending on the program, some of 'em are very limited to, you know, maybe just tech colleges or maybe in-state four-year colleges, some programs are any school in the state just about mm-hmm. <affirmative> and there's a few programs out there where you can take that aid and go elsewhere with it, other states and that type of thing. Or some states might have a little bit of a reciprocity where they say if you stay in, in our state, you get, you know, 2200 if you go to this other state where we got recipro ity agreement, it's worth 900 mm-hmm <affirmative> and that state's doing the same thing back towards us. 

So some sort of agreement that, and what's going on there is a lot of states, especially the smaller states, they don't have enough colleges to have every major available and they've figured out that it, maybe it's just easier for some of those unusual majors or more challenging things to set up to say, well you could just go to the neighboring state for that major. 

We have a medical school, they have the dental school mm-hmm <affirmative> that's, you know, so that we're not all duplicating everything all the time. Um, and sometimes it is around something as common as, like I said, medical and dental schools, but often it might be around something a little more esoteric like animal behavior or you know, some specific actuarial accounting or something mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, where there's just not a lot of students that take it. So it's, you know, they try and consolidate it in fewer schools. 

When we're looking at scholarships, again, there's the sources. So the colleges themselves offer it and you need to be aware that at college, you know, a lot of colleges, they have these automatic scholarships. All you have to do is apply for admissions and there's some scholarships, you know, they'll look as part of admissions, they learn about your grades and your test scores and your, your class rank and then the courses you took and all that stuff. 

And that's enough for them to also decide, well you qualify for this scholarship or that SQUA scholarship. In addition to that, they might have need-based programs, which then require the family to fill out financial aid forms. So it could be the FAFSA and also the CSS profile at some schools. So there's essentially financial aid forms. You fill 'em out, usually the parents are deeply involved in that step and uh, those get submitted and then they determine based on your need, how much you might be able to receive as well. And then on top of that, there might be a few scholarships out there that will require additional effort. 

It might be an additional application, additional essay, some sort of application. And then a lot of times these are the very prestigious full ride type scholarships where, and they might look at your general application and invite you to apply for the full ride cuz you're the type of student that might win it or they might not. 

And they, they say, well if you're not interested enough in our school that you dug deep enough to find out that this scholarship exists, then we don't need more applications for the scholarship. It's already hard enough to pick from the 200 we get. So mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we're not gonna encourage other families to, that's one of the kind of tests to figure out if you deserve it, is it's on our website. If you didn't bother to look at it, then maybe you're not deserving of it. Because the people that are excited about our school and need scholarships are always reading the scholarships section. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and we obviously know all about it. So that's the, uh, the process there. And then we have all the, what we would call the outside scholarships, scholarships that come from all the other areas that might provide scholarships. So we're mom and dad work and play. The local high school Bill Gates Foundation gives out some very big prestigious scholarships, um, Buick and, and insurance company, you know, there's a, the Coca-Cola scholars as an example mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then some of these scholarships, you know, like the, the Coca-Cola scholarship, they give away, I think it's $20,000 in something like 250 awards. 

So that adds up to millions of dollars every year. 

Wow. Yeah. 

You know, but for those 250 awards, they get 90,000 applications 

<laugh>. Right. 

And if you look at who those students are that win, they're going to Harvard and Yale, they're the rock stars of the academic world. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, and great, I mean there's nothing wrong with that. And then like the Bill Gates scholarship is targeted to families that have a high need. So, um, if you look at things like if you qualify for a Pell Grant and which is a very need-based program, then you're eligible to participate in the Gates Foundation Scholarship that makes you eligible. But they still have a lot of ADE that goes with it as well, where they're saying not only do you have to be financially eligible, but we're also looking for strong students on top of that. 

So it has both criteria, a high need based component cuz that's their goal is to help families that have a need. And they're looking for the academic strong students that where they feel like their need would make a difference in their life. 

Where are all these listed if a parent would want to search? So some are on the actual college sites, the ones that are through the college itself, and then the others would be where 

Right. So, and again, that's part of the process. But, and, and that's explained it in the scholarship guide as well, but mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so you certainly, and the old days, I, you know, again, I, when I went to college, and I'm a bit older than you it sounds like, but there was a file drawer in the school counselor's office because the internet hadn't been invented yet. And, uh, so you'd go flip through that scholarship drawer and, and or talk to the school counselor and they might have an inkling of what's in there and where, who might be a good fit and that kind of stuff. 

So then that, at a lot of schools that's moved online now. So there's some sort of webpage or maybe there's a Google doc that the counselors share or whatever it might be, where there's a list of stuff that's available mm-hmm. 

<affirmative>. And another great example is here in my community, there's a couple suburbs that have a scholarship committee at the high school that has been working for years and years and years to encourage all the local businesses to participate. So there's, you know, 40 or 50 awards at that high school because all the local businesses, you know, chip in, uh, and they're not always huge awards, but there might be a $5,000 award and a $2,000 award and mm-hmm. <affirmative> and they're, you know, targeted for all different things. And other schools it's not quite as robust, but most high schools have something, um, right. 

And then an obvious check is where mom and dad work, um mm-hmm. <affirmative> cuz a lot of, you know, like Home Depot has a program for their hourly workers, um, where they will help the, the children of their hourly workers with a, with scholarships. And there's a way, it's on their website, there's a way to apply it. I can't remember something about Orange, the orange network, or I can't remember what it's called exactly. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, that's 

Great. You know, but there's those types of things and UPS offers stuff and Walmart and Starbucks and Chipotle and, and sometimes the student needs to work there and sometimes the parent or the student could work there. So there's all these different types of connections. And then there's the, you know, the unusual scholarships, like if you're interested in archery, there's probably archery scholarships if you're interested in skateboarding, there's probably those kinds of scholarships. There's, you know, all these different little pockets of other, some ethnicities like Lithuanian or something a lot, you know, some of them have some very active communities that provide scholarships. 

Um, I was, uh, you know, obviously you can't see me, but I have red hair <laugh>, there's literally a scholarship out there for people with red hair. 

Um, wow. Did you win 

<laugh>? I did not apply. I didn't know about it till I was in, in my professional phase here, you know, when working with families and it looked like it kind of died on the buying, cuz the information was a little bit old, but when I read about it, it was a very small amount, like $300 or something. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it essentially said, I started this scholarship because I looked for one and I couldn't find it. So I felt obligated to create one. 

Oh, that's great. 

Um, so, you know, scholarships is a area that, you know, one of the challenges that I think though is that you're never done searching. Right? It's like buying an airline ticket, right? So you log into your favorite travel sites and you start looking for an airline ticket, and the first one you find is a thousand dollars. The next one you find is 800 and then 700. And then you find a couple at 600, and then all of a sudden it's like, well, I can't seem to do much better than 600. And then, oh, oh, there's one for five 50 and then four hours later it's still five 50. 

And you say, well that was a waste of four hours mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know? Mm-hmm. So there's that mm-hmm. <affirmative> diminish returns of, are there scholarships for left-handed soccer players, maybe mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, I looked in all the usual spots. 

I didn't find any. I've, you know, I've been Googling it, I've been doing all the various search techniques I know and so forth. I still haven't found it. But that doesn't prove it doesn't exist. It just, that's the challenge. Whereas if it's, you know, looking for the scholarship at work, that one's easy, right? You talk to hr, you talk to a few people that have gone before and had college kids and if you come up with nothing, you know, there's a good chance it just doesn't exist. Or search, search to the website would be the other ones, you know, do mm-hmm. <affirmative> scholarship into the, the company's website and the, you know, sometimes there's a, some sort of online community for the, for the bi for the workers themselves where they can log in and see their paychecks and that kind of stuff. 

Search through that type of stuff. And if you come up with nothing then it probably doesn't exist and you can just move on. 

Now, Brad does, does getting a merit scholarship, will that affect a need grant or scholarship, if you will, for somebody in need? Um, like if they are getting one of those higher scholarships, does it take away some of the financial aid? 

Yes. Or I mean, yes, it could. So the way it works is, generally speaking, you calculate your, what's called your expected family contribution is what it used to be called. It's, it's changing. And this is another topic to maybe spend a few minutes on, but they're mm-hmm. <affirmative> revamping how the FAFSA and financial aid works effective for students that are going to college in 2024. That's juniors, right? Now's me. Yep. <laugh>. Yeah. So they're changing how the rules work. So their terminology is changing from EFFC to SAI, but they kind of mean the same thing. 

So what ha what happens is you fill out your financial aid forms that helps you determine what your, um, EFC or, or SAI is going to be. So let's say your EF C comes in at $20,000, which would be a typical middle income. You know, if your income is 80, 90, a hundred thousand, somewhere in there, 20,000 would be a reasonable EFFC estimate. 

So that, what that means essentially is you look at the price of the school. So if you look at your local state school, if it costs 25,000, minus 20,000, you're eligible for $5,000 of need-based aid. Now if that same student looks at that $65,000 private school, the EFC is the same at 20,000, but now it's 65 minus 20 is 45,000. So you need a lot more. Now in both cases, just because you need it doesn't mean you're going to get it. You could, but there's no guarantee, especially at some state schools where it's like, well we don't have enough aid to fill everybody's need, therefore, you know, we're just gonna have to gap you. 

And that's, you know, that's an unfortunate truth. So you need 20, they can only give you 10, let's say, or whatever the numbers are. But Matt, same situation. If you needed $5,000 and you got a $5,000 merit award mm-hmm. <affirmative>, well now your need went away. 


Uh, and that's called displacement. And colleges don't particularly like it either. So a lot of the time they'll work with the family and they'll, you know, as an example, try and delete some of the loans that are considered aid versus the grants and other things that are, you know, free money. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but they're, they know, they try and balance it out. But there is that component of need based aid being affected by what you receive on the merit side of things. 

Hmm. Okay. And that all comes to you at once, like you find out about your package all at once from the school. It's not like you learn about your merit and then learn about your aid. 

Um, sometimes you will hear a little bit about potential scholarships, uh mm-hmm <affirmative> private schools like to get that out early so that you continue down the road and continue the process. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So as an example, you know, we have a family that applies to one of the local more expensive private schools or the student applies and maybe mom and dad aren't even that aware that the student applied and they get accepted and they're all excited and go to mom and be like, I got into whatever Loyola or Marquette or whatever college you wanna pick. 

And they're like, oh, that's great. And then they see the price tag and go, oh wait a minute, 65,000, that's not so great. I don't think we can go there. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Well, so some of these colleges now along with acceptance will also say, and congratulations you won our presidential scholarship or our provost scholarship or our whatever name they, you know, our Bucky scholarship or whatever their mascot is or who knows <laugh> think what they call it, but it's 20,000 off or 25,000 off. 

And then there's a little asterisk and it kind of says something to the effect of, well this is what we've been able to award you so far, we'll continue to work on your financial aid forms and that kind of stuff and there may be more, but this is a start. And that and why do they that again? So that parents don't pull the plug on it already and say, well we're not, you know, we're not even sending financial aid forms to that school because you know, they're way too expensive. Um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it kinda keeps them in the process. And then later on you'll get an official offer. So if you look at the overall timeline, I think that's important for most families to understand is you apply in the fall of your senior year for both financial aid and admission, and then somewhere in the late in the wintertime or later you're gonna hear about being accepted. 

Now some of the prestigious colleges, like the Harvards and Yales, they have an official, this is the day when you can find out if you're accepted or not and everybody finds out all at once. You know, it's the big reveal on a Tuesday at 5:00 PM and then some colleges actually pick the same date every year. Right. So we used the first, they used the first Tuesday in in March or something like that. And then a couple other colleges have decided to be on that same day. So that if you applied to Harvard and Yale and Princeton and all three of 'em are gonna tell you that the, at the exact same time or whatever. 

And again, I don't know which schools are on the exact same dates, but that's kind of the concept of there's an official date where everybody hears many other schools though do what's called a rolling admission or something like that where you apply, we'll do our thing in six to eight weeks and then we'll send you a letter or somehow let you know if you've been accepted or not. 

And sometimes if you're on the bubble where they're saying, well, you we're not sure if there's gonna be a spot for you or not, you're kind of questionable, they might defer you and say, well we, we can't make a decision early for you. We'll defer you and we might accept you in in March or something later. But right now the answer maybe, and then that's the wintertime maybe into the springtime. And then along with that, they're going to now send out official offers that has their official cost of attendance and a list of all the aid that you're gonna get from the college. 

And they usually, they are also the administrators for the state aid and the federal aid. So they can put that on there as well. So they'll say, you know, you're gonna get this federal grant and this federal grant and this state grant and this state loan and this federal loan. 

And then from the college itself, you're gonna get this scholarship and this all adds up to this. And then if you want, you can also take a federal loan like this or a federal loan like that to fill the gaps. And this is the official offer and they all, there's some rules about what they have to have on them and what they include and so forth, but they very seldom look, you know, very much alike. So it's really hard for some families to really compare cuz it's, the language is kind of confusing to them. And, well, which of these loans is truly an award in which of these loans is just a loan to fill the gap? 

Because that's the reality of, you know, there's a plus loan out there as an example. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's a federal loan from the federal government and the amount that you can borrow is the cost of college minus any other aid. 

So automatically that loan can be big enough to cover the cost of college. Because if you go to an expensive school and get no aid, well you can borrow the full amount on that loan. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you go a low cost school and get a lot of aid and there's only a little bit left, that's the maximum amount of that loan. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's always gonna be the cost of attendance. So, you know, the way I explain it is you could borrow 85,000 to go for go to Harvard on that loan. I'm not saying you should. I'm saying you could. And the reality is lots of people don't pay. Harvard's very generous. So a lot of the elite schools, you know, their costs are actually the low cost option for a lot of families because of how generous they are with their endowments and so forth. 

So that's the, the kind of the timeline, the senior year and there's deadlines in, you know, a process. What's completely missing for most families is there's no deadlines really in the junior year. 


And that's where, that's what trips up a lot of families. And I think you mentioned you got a high school kid, you know, sophomore or junior? 

Junior, yeah. Junior. Right. So what's the most important things in your junior year? 

<laugh>. Right. So what I tell people is based on the timeline we just talked about is the fall is gonna be busy with applying to colleges mm-hmm. <affirmative> filling out financial aid forms and all that kind of stuff. So let's get some stuff done before then if we can mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So the ideal situation, and, and again maybe from your situation you're maybe there's not enough time to completely recover yet, but you should have a good working school list by the end of your junior year. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, in other words, you know, we've thinking we're gonna apply to these six or seven schools, we might delete one or two and we might add one or two, but this is pretty close to what we're d we're gonna do and we're pretty happy with it. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative> now ideally to go with that, you've done obviously your research and visits and that type of stuff to know that there's the, it's a good fit schools from the students perspective, you know, it has the majors they want or career paths or whatever it is. 

And it's a school they can see themselves going to. But the other side of that coin is all the financial stuff. Mm-hmm. Of well what is the, not just the list price, but what is the net price and will we get need based aid or merit aid or, so all the stuff we've just been talking about, once you learn all that stuff and apply it, you should have a good idea that, well on this list, the state schools should be 25,000 and if we did our work properly, these other schools will be in the 25 to 35,000 range. And then these three schools, well we tried to figure it out what we couldn't so they could be good or they could be bad. 

And if they're bad, we've already talked with a student and they understand that if they don't come in at a decent price, the answer's no. Okay. But they chose to apply anyway. Right? Yeah. Versus kind of that rug being pulled out from under the student, which is happens a lot is, well, we didn't understand the process and now we're here and the schools that he fell in love with are crazy expensive. What do we do? 

Right? Yeah. 

It's like, I don't know, you write a big check <laugh>, you talk 'em off the ledge, you make him borrow a bunch of money. I mean, I don't know, there's not a, a good solution. You, you know, and in the back of my head I'm going, well you messed up a year ago when you didn't have the college talk 

<laugh>. Right. So they should be looking at schools and almost like before you're visiting, you should maybe just tap into those websites and, and put in your numbers to make sure that they would be somewhat of a match. 

Right. Exactly. And right. And you know, and this is the stuff I help families with all the time of, I think that's another decision to think about is college is getting more complex and there's a lot of experts out there that, that can help you with various things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> if you so chose, and again, not everybody needs everything, um, you know, but my focus is I work with parents on need-based aid and merit aid and scholarships and how the, how are we gonna pay and saving and investing and, you know, will this destroy a retirement or not mm-hmm. 

<affirmative> and some of that kind of stuff. But there are experts that can help with essays or Yeah. You have an athlete, you can, there are experts that understand how the football recruiting process works at the Big 10 schools or mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, you name it, they're, they're out there. 

And sometimes it's as simple as reading a book or as complicated as hiring a high priced expert. You know, I'm not saying you should or you shouldn't. I think you, you know, there's a little bit of buyer beware and understanding what you're getting into cuz uh, um, it's a stressful emotional time. So I think sometimes families are a little vulnerable to sales pitches that, you know, maybe aren't quite appropriate, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But on the flip side, if you thought about if my student came to me and said, I wanna learn how to play the piano, you know, and as a parent, I don't know how to play the piano, it's like, well, what are our options? 

Right. And it's like, I could learn how to play the piano so I could teach them to play the piano. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it does not seem feasible for me. 

I'm not that musically talented. I'm not interested. Well, we could, you know, again, hire the lady down the street or whatever, you know, that quintessential ta you know, teacher like we all had when we were young. But now there's all these online options. I don't know if they're any good, but my, I know my son learned guitar, taught himself online mm-hmm. <affirmative> and he's, he's got some music talent, you know, he, he was involved with violin in, up through eighth grade, then the high school that he went to didn't offer an orchestra. So he switched to guitar and taught himself and, and just, you know, plays for fun. 

Um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it's possible, but there's kinda the same concept around college planning mm-hmm. <affirmative> or taxes or repairing your car or cleaning your house. Some families look at it and go, it's overwhelming and I can't do it. 

Or don't. And some families look at it and say, I could do it. I don't want to, you know, most of us don't change our own oil or fix their own brakes anymore. I, you know, distinctly remember my dad doing that a lot. But that was a, that's kind of a bygone era. We just, most people just don't do that stuff anymore. It's more complicated. They're, you know, cars are full in computers now. It's not as easy as it used to be. Same thing around college's getting more expensive and more complicated. And, uh, the downside for mistakes, the cost of it. If a student, you know, changes majors and has to go an extra year, you know, that's a real cost and it could be substantial. 

So if there's things you did for a, you know, a course or something where the student took a, did something and to help them pick the major and it, it actually helped and they didn't change their major mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that was well worth it. Yeah. But it's really hard to determine, well was it because of the course? You know, what would I have done had I not taken the course? Was the course worth it? You know, I have the distinct advantage of, I often save a lot more than I cost. 

Right, because you're doing the finance piece. 

Yeah, exactly. Right. So it's like, well if we do this, we save taxes. If we do this, we negotiate with the school. You know, the worst they say is no. And if we do it right, maybe they give us a couple thousand dollars mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I can coach 'em through the process. If we, you know, again, you know, here's what, here's how scholarships work. This is how need-based aid works for a lot of families. Need-based aid planning is effective for other families. You're not gonna get need based aid no matter what you do. So let's focus on merit aid or athletics or saving and investing. You know, so there's lots of different moving parts now and the, the better you plan and the better you understand, the better your puzzle fits together. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. 

So where can listeners find you? 

Yeah, so I have a website taming the high cost of And I, my podcast is by the same name is Als is there as well as wherever podcasts are sold, as they say. So I've got taming the high cost of college is the podcast taming the high cost of is my website. We mentioned the scholarship guide for busy parents as a free resource. There's also, uh, cost of colleges by state and other things that can help, um, in a preliminary sy situation. And you know, again, there's articles and 150 podcasts on all kinds of topics around this stuff. 

Uh, EF C calculator, which will soon be the sa I calculator, which is a way for families to help calculate how much, uh, aid they might qualify for. Similar to the calculators on the websites of the colleges, but this one's, you know, not on a college. So it's a little more useful and it's videos that explain it. So lots of good information. And then if you need more than that, you know, feel free to reach out and, uh, see if there's a fit as far as what we might be able to do. 

Yeah. I, I did look through your website, I found it very helpful. So I definitely am gonna fiddle with that calculator for sure. Um, question for you though, financial aid, um, is it gar, like if they give you a certain amount the first year, is it guaranteed for all the years? Or do you have to redo it every year? 

You'd redo it every year. So typically if things stay about the same, your aid will stay about the same. So colleges don't really wanna have that bait and switch mm-hmm. <affirmative> type of thing where you were a freshman, we, we gave you a lot of stuff, but now that we have you we're gonna change it. We're not really charge you a lot. Well that, that reputation got out college, you know, it would ruin the colleges process. 

Yeah. That's terrible. 

Right. They just generally don't do that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But on the other side of that coin is colleges really only wanna talk about one year at a time. So it's like, well, you know, this year it's just me going to college, but two years from now we're gonna have three kids in college. That changes our ability to pay a that kind of stuff. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, a lot of the colleges ideally will say, well, we'll talk about that when you're a junior and you've got, you know, brothers and sisters that are freshmen mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that makes it hard to plan to say, well, am I gonna get a break when, because it was the other way around. 

If you started with lots of kids and then started losing kids, you'd at least know what kind of discount you got with lots of kids. So there's a little bit of nuance in there around, um, but generally if things stay the same, you know, you're gonna get about the same offer typically. 

But when things change, that's where it gets challenging. Like we mentioned, there's a lot of federal aid and that type of stuff. Well, if your income climbs and all of a sudden, sudden you lose that federal aid. Yeah. Um, and that could be legitimate. Um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And conversely, I've had seen a lot of situations, you know, where fam again, families are divorcing or something and things change the other way. Where now there's some opportunities of, well if we, you know, shift the assets around the right way or something, we can, you know, divorce is never fun or good, but at least we can maybe get some additional college benefit out of it or something like that. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? Yeah. Or I guess a loss of a job or something like that where maybe a family member is no longer working or something. 

Right. Exactly Right. Yeah. Yeah. I was a high paid executive at this company. I lost my job and now I'm a lower paid executive at this other company cuz I couldn't find something similar. Those types of things happen and that, you know, or the other way around of I got a huge bonus this year, now I, I'm disqualified from aid potentially. And that would be another example of something. Well maybe you could go back to the college and and negotiate a little bit. Maybe not depending on the situation and um, what the college ultimately thinks so mm-hmm. 

<affirmative>, so what, what advice would you give parents that are going through this in the next year or two? 

Yes. Well I guess the first thing is you need to start earlier than you realize. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, with the new FAFSA changes as an example, there's a lot more opportunity for aid. But you mentioned your daughter's going, starting in 2024. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, well what happens for your first year is gonna be based on 2022 taxes. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which most people are doing right now. But there might have been things you could have done to make 2022 better. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> or not, I don't know. Right. But most people haven't even thought about it when they're starting their college process. 

You know, I've got a few families I'm working with right now where we haven't finalized 2022 yet cause we're tru still trying to figure out if there's things that they can do mm-hmm. <affirmative> that might improve their situation, uh, for the long run or at least not make any mistakes. So another great example is working with a fa a family that has some inheritance and there's potential tax problems if you don't do the right things with an inheritance and that, that will flow through to their tax return, which will then flow through to their financial aid. They may, you know, again, a lot of families inadvertently do something and not realizing that the impact that it had. 


Um, so that's kind of the big picture as well. It's tough to do, you know, parents can do stuff, you know, when you have a high school freshman and May, the students probably are too young and still trying to figure out high school, but parents can start figuring out if we're gonna qualify for need-based aid or merit aid or, and again, if you're a business owner, there's more opportunities and more stuff to move around. And so there's lots that they, you could get involved in earlier as a way to kind of spread things out. Um, and then the student, you know, I have a sophomore and I've done a couple coll or done one college visit with my daughter so far. 


Wow. Thinking about another, now they're a very low pressure, Hey, let's just go check out the local college. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Well why? Well cuz you can't figure out what majors you're interested in. So they've got a bunch of majors you've never heard of. You wanna I go learn about 'em. Yeah. I guess. Okay, so let's go. Because <laugh>, you know the, I've been on a lot of college campuses and you know, this is my third, so I've toured with my older boys and, but my daughter didn't go with, she hasn't seen a lot of colleges. So you gotta remember that when you ask a student, are you interested in a big school or a small school? Mm-hmm. 

<affirmative>, they may not have any frame of reference of what a big school in a small school is. So how can they answer the question if they've never seen or have any recollection of what big and small or near and far or mm-hmm. 

<affirmative> public or private or all the different things of, you know, when I was a kid, I distinctly remember being turned off by a very urban campus where the college was right downtown and there was no green spaces hardly. Yeah. And I had grown up in a small town, you know, where there was a lot of green spaces and it just seemed so foreign to me that it just turned me off. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> to this day, I remember that as being a very initial shock of Oh my God, people actually live here. Um, so getting some of that outta your system so that students could then move on from there and say, well what am I looking for? 

What am I looking for? Big or small or urban or rural? Or do I wanna be in that stadium with 50,000 of my closest friends cheering on the team or am I more interested in, you know, where the biology students have their labs mm-hmm. 

<affirmative> and then, you know, so you can kinda, I call it college visits one oh one and then college visits 2 0 1 of mm-hmm. <affirmative>, well, 1 0 1, you do what everybody does. 2 0 1 you say, how do I make this better for us? Is there certain things that we need to learn? Are there certain people we need to talk to? Um, you know, whatever it is. Because if you ask, generally they, a lot of the colleges will provide additional meetings or whatever, but you have to know enough to ask. Hmm. 

They'll actually allow you to sit in, in a class or get you in touch with a student that's gonna is in the major that you're considering or whatever it might be. 

Um, wow. Yeah, those are great. Those are great things and I, I love that you started early because I think junior year, at least for us, is really tough. I mean, they have to take the SATs and they're really getting, you know, it's like the last year their grades are really, really imperative too. And um, there's just a lot of pressure in junior year it seems like that, you know, starting to look for college is even is a little overwhelming. So it's nice to introduce it a little bit earlier. So it's, it kinda, it doesn't feel like all at once. 

Yeah. I mean that that is absolutely true. The, the challenge of getting everything done all at once is overwhelming. I, another analogy is we pay for college with money of course, but we also pay it with time and stress 


Time, you know, time being the similar to the airplane ticket. Right. You spend a lot of time looking for an airplane ticket, then maybe you can find one for less money. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you spend a lot of time kicking the tires and understanding the college process, there's a good chance you'll spend less money than if you just stumble through it. But then the stress one of, well it would be great if our students, you know, got fantastic grades, good test scores, still went to prom and did all the kids stuff that they'd like to do. Had a summer job and earned a lot of money, had, you know, did all their test prep and took the test multiple times and then filled out 50 scholarship applications. 

But that's a big ask that generally doesn't happen. Right. You know, there's some kids that where that do some of those things or most of those things, but there's a lot of families where it just isn't gonna happen that way, you know? 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we don't have the time to do it all. So we have to pick and choose which of these pieces is more or less important just to manage the stress around, you know, who's gonna do all this? And just the application process is enough for a lot of families where they're like, applying for scholarships doesn't seem like it's in the cards. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> the additional, especially when you don't have any time Right. Because you're still trying to finish up your school visits and all the stuff that you could have done junior year. All that stuff needs to be done while you're rolling into senior year and applying and visiting and everything else. 

And, and you know, you don't wanna be fighting with your kid the last year that they might be living in your house either. So it, it's nice to make it a little less stressful if possible. 

Right. And a and a clue there might be to incorporate someone that's not mom and dad. 


Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think there's a big stress point around, you know, my, for my son, he had a lot of essay work to do and we actually had a family friend that worked with him for, and he was very generous cause it was probably seven or eight hours of actual contact time where they wrote and rewrote and re rewrote the essay. Tell it was as good as it could be. And so that's kind of what happened there. And I couldn't add that kind of value. I'm not an essay expert. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and the fact that it wasn't me was a big, you know, he took it more seriously than if it was me, cuz I'm dad and I don't know anything. 

Right. Totally. You have enough stuff to fight about really. 

<laugh>. Exactly. 

And, and I do know schools have some services too. Like I know some of those things can be pretty pricey as well. Like they have college, I guess, um, counselors that are helping. Um, but there's schools, the schools usually have some sort of programs that could also help with essays, whether it's in their classes. I know our school helps a little bit with that, then they start to write their essays in their LA class. So that's, that is helpful. 

Right, for sure. And right. And a lot of times, especially if you're paying for a private high school mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's some additional college services that you're, you know, again, you're paying for it as because you're paying tuition to go to the private school, but as long as you have already paid for it, you may as well take advantage of it. So yeah, there's a, like I said, there's lots of experts out there in various categories. You just have to, you know, find one that you can work with and then figure out, you know, again, sometimes it's a low cost option. Good enough, just read a book or take an online course and sometimes hiring a someone that can help with nitty gritty tax details is the solution. 

So it just depends. 

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, well thank you Brad. This was such it, it was such a great discussion. I mean obviously I needed it <laugh>. I'm in the midst of this and I'm headed out to look at colleges next week, so, um, I really appreciate it. I'm gonna jump on your website and get some of those resources before I even go, so as she's looking, I already know what I'm getting into 

<laugh>. Yes, absolutely. 

Thank you for listening to this episode. Brad has so many resources to help you navigate the cost of college. So visit his website at And don't forget to share this episode with your friends. If you wanna continue to help support the Real Life Momz podcast, you can become a subscriber for just a dollar 99 a month. You will receive access to archived episodes, early access to new episodes, access to send in your questions to upcoming guests and monthly bonus episodes. 

And if you'd like to just make a one-time donation to support real life moms, click on the link in the show notes to buy me a coffee. We appreciate you supporting Real Life Momz so that we can continue to help one mom at a time. 

Brad BaldridgeProfile Photo

Brad Baldridge

College Funding Specialist

Brad Baldridge is a College Funding Specialist who has helped thousands of families plan and save for college with smart and proven strategies to save time, money and stress.

As a financial expert, blogger and host of the Taming the High Cost of College podcast, Brad has been sharing his college planning insights with clients, subscribers and listeners for nearly 20 years.

He teaches parents the best ways to save and pay for college, including how to find the right school, maximize financial aid and scholarships, avoid student loan debt, and make your children’s college dreams come true without wiping out your finances or retirement.

Since 1998, Brad has become one of the nation’s leading college planning and college financial experts. He offers life-changing advice through his private practice, his online platforms, and at numerous workshops, seminars and events each year.