collegeEdforSale

The College Family Care Center is a premier financial aid service available exclusively through Greylock Federal Credit Union, in collaboration with Collegiate Funding Solutions - a premier provider of college admissions and financial aid services.



Simple Steps To Successfully Navigating Through the Maze of Financial Aid:

Here are the steps for understanding the the exclusive financial aid services available to Greylock members and the associated benefits to help you achieve a best financial aid outcome for your child and your finances. When you are ready to get started, click on REGISTER NOW.

  1. WATCH video overview
  2. REVIEW services
  3. READ frequently asked questions
CONTACT information:
Register for Client Care Services

STEP 1. Watch Video

Overview of the current financial aid landscape and how the College Family Care Center services can assist you throughout the process to achieve a much-better outcome than you might by "doing it yourself."

 


STEP 2. Review of services: FAFSA-ASSIST and FAFSA-ASSIST PLUS

OVERVIEW:

No matter how affluent a family may be, college financial aid administrators are agreed: Every student should apply for financial aid, even if the parents think they won’t qualify.

The financial aid system was originally designed to help lower income students afford college. Ironically, the financial aid system now rewards those parents who are more likely to be in the position to pay a college’s asking price.

However, the majority of parents are going to struggle to pay for their children’s college educations. These parents need to have the deck stacked in their favor so their child is considered for the maximum amount of financial aid they are eligible for. 

By far the colleges award the bulk of all the free money and for a variety of reasons:

  • To attract students
  • To attract athletes
  • To attract students whose parents can afford to pay full price by offering them a discount on tuition!

Lesson learned #1: Whether you think you qualify for free money or not, show the cards in your hand. By letting colleges know you can afford them, they will often offer a tuition discount to attract your student to their college.

Lesson learned #2: If you need financial aid, you need to do it right the first time. Aid administrators admit the process is difficult and confusing. Mistakes and delays can be costly and can result in a family losing significant amounts of financial aid, significantly increasing their out-of-pocket college costs.

Lesson learned #3: Some parents don’t apply for aid for fear of costing their child the chance of admission. This is not true. It only happens with two borderline students who are at the bottom of the pool of applicants. When the choice to award funds to an affluent student or to a student that the college will lose money on, the decision is based on basic economics. By not applying the student may have to wait until the next year to apply for aid.

The FAFSA is similar to the 1040 tax form, and the IRS (conservatively) estimates that it takes 13 hours to complete that form. Our services can bring this down to less than 10 minutes.

Two financial aid service options are available through the CFS/Greylock collaboration to help families achieve a much better financial aid outcome than they likely would otherwise.
  1. FAFSA-ASSIST
  2. FAFSA-ASSIST PLUS
Both of the services:

  • ENSURE parents avoid the most common and UNCOMMON mistakes causing delays, corrections, missed deadlines and loss of financial aid.
  • PRESENT the family’s financial circumstances in the most favorable way possible while complying with the Department of Education’s rules and regulations.
Services Provided by FAFSA ASSIST and FAFSA ASSIST PLUS FAFSA-ASSIST FAFSA-ASSIST PLUS
A personal College Family Web Account
Guidance in gathering financial data

An automatic accuracy review

Filing the FAFSA on the student’s behalf
Additional FAFSA filings if more than ten colleges are on the students list check
A review of the Student Aid Report or SAR. The SAR is the result of having filed the FAFSA check
The SAR will be checked for comments or notices from the Department of Education check
Notification of being selected for Verification, a financial aid audit check
Teleconferences and webinars to help families with:
  1. Understanding the complexities of the financial aid process and the need for completing a variety of forms i.e. institutional forms, verification forms, business supplement forms, non custodial parent forms, income and assets statements and more
  2. Providing tax information to colleges (there are four different ways, several which will be used at the same time for different colleges)
  3. Knowing the differences, good and bad, of all financial aid award components
  4. Evaluating their child’s financial aid award
  5. Appealing a financial aid award decision
  6. Understand the benefits and burdens of student loans
check
Monthly e-newsletter subscription to College Ed Xpress - Insider tips and secrets concerning college admissions and financial aid check
Merit Max- A financial aid leveraging tool, available exclusively through CFS, that can be used by Greylock members to identify academically suitable colleges that can be used for negotiating more free money from colleges via the financial aid award appeals process   check
Financial aid award evaluation  
Unlimited financial aid coaching  
Greylock member cost $299 $499

Register for Client Care Services


STEP 3. Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question below to view the answer

1. Why should we enroll with the Family Care Center?
Short of buying a home, the investment many parents make towards their children's college educations will be the largest they make in their lives. As long as you have a strategy to pay for college and control what you can control, you have a high probability of success.
2. Why should I pay for the client care center services when my student goes to a school with a guidance counselor that helps them do the same things?
Many people are expecting the guidance office to do all of the things that the Client Care Center does. However, before assuming they will, ask your child's guidance counselor if:
  • They are going to help them gather, organize and complete the financial aid applications
  • They are going to advise you on how to present your family and financial information so you don't lose out on possible financial aid
  • They are going to follow up on the FAFSA
  • They are going to make sure your tax returns are submitted to the college
  • They are going to evaluate each offer of admission's merit and need based financial aid awards for fairness
  • They are going to be your advocate when something goes wrong (and something always goes wrong)
  • They are going to help you appeal a bad financial aid decision
  • They are going to help you leverage one financial aid award to get a better one at the college your child really wants to attend
If the guidance counselor does all that, then no, you don't need the services of the Client Care Center.
2.1. Won't our "free" school guidance counselor help our family achive the same outcome and peace of mind as this "fee" service?
Let’s start with the core issue: Guidance counselors are completely overloaded.  And all schools have guidance counselors but they can't do the same things as a private counselor. During the academic year, guidance counselors spend, on average only 35 minutes with a college bound student.   The recommended ratio is 250 to 1, but only four states (Louisiana, New Hampshire, Vermont and Wyoming) actually meet this guideline.

According to a report recently released by the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center, the national average ratio of counselors to students is 467 to 1 and the American School Counselor Association says it's much higher in states like California (1,000 to 1).

When most people think of guidance counselors, they probably think of helping students get ready for college.  In reality, however, only 22.8% of public school counselors’ time is spent on post-secondary admission counseling.

It’s hard to believe that less than a quarter of a full-time guidance counselor’s time is enough to help 500 or so students and families climb the mountain of post-secondary planning, including choosing programs, applying to schools, filling out college applications, and obtaining financial aid.  Ironically, the need for some kind of post-secondary training continues to grow.

Public school counselors only spend 20.2% of their time on “personal-needs counseling.”  That is the ‘counseling’ part of guidance, or probably the kind of work that inspired many counselors to choose their profession in the first place. It includes building trusting relationships, discussing life, likes/dislikes, problems at home or with peers, how to stay motivated, problem solving skills, etc.

According to the report, public school counselors spend 24.8% of their time scheduling students for classes.  Presumably this includes resolving scheduling conflicts, making sure students are taking the classes they need, and ensuring juniors and seniors are on track for graduation.  These are obviously important tasks, elements of which require thoughtful consideration of students’ interests, college plans, and career aspirations – exactly the kinds of things that guidance counselors are trained to do.

What most people probably don’t realize is how much time (14.8%) public school guidance counselors spend administering academic tests like Statewide Testing for Educational Progress, advanced placement, and other tests used by local school districts to assess interim academic progress.  When the standardized testing requirements of No Child Left Behind came along, they didn’t come with the funding necessary to actually administer all those tests.  The job fell to guidance counselors (and administrators) because there was no one else to do it.

The remaining 10% of guidance counselors’ time is spent on teaching (4.5%) and other non-guidance activities (5.0%).

John Boshoven, a director of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, says the study only confirmed what counselors already know: Budget cuts are forcing them to spend more time on administrative tasks and less time with students. "Our caseloads are large and in many cases they're getting larger," says Boshoven, a counselor at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Mich. In most large public high schools, he says, counselors spend only 10 percent of their time counseling students about college.

Four years of college at private colleges can cost over $200,000. Next to a house, college is the most expensive purchase most people will make during their lifetime.

Despite those costs, many students choose a college without adequate investigation into what would be the best college for that student.

As a result one out of three college students leave the college where they started and five out of ten require five or more years to earn their degree. With thousands of choices, it can be difficult to find the right college for any student.

Hiring a college consultant to provide college admissions counseling and help with navigating the college process can help students avoid these costly mistakes by finding the right college the first time.

For many students the search to find the right college often creates stress for both the student and their parents. The student is trying to balance the college search with homework, extracurricular activities, friendships and just being a teenager. Finding the right balance can be difficult.

At the same time, parents worry about ensuring the best future for their child and put additional pressure on the student when they least need it.

Working with a college consultant can relieve some of that pressure. A good college consultant can take a step back and help the student address those issues related to the college search process without being a nagging parent. Parents are left to provide the nurturing they do best.

Finally, when it comes to financial aid, author Lynn O'Shaughnessy, contributor to such publications as BusinessWeek, USA Today, Money Magazine, The New York Times,and Kiplinger says,  "the financial advice that many high school counselors dispense focuses a great deal on meeting deadlines. They tell families when to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and complete the PROFILE application if their teenagers will be applying to private schools. Beyond advising parents on how and when to fill out those two documents, high school counselors tend to tell kids to look for private scholarships to shrink college costs. Strangely enough, many counselors don’t seem to realize that private scholarships are almost always a puny source of cash. The average award is less than $2,000.

The mother lode of cash comes from the colleges and universities themselves. The trick is positioning your child to capture some of this institutional money. And this is where counselors tend to scratch their heads. Again, this is where the private counselor can help.

What do you do if the counselor at your child’s high school is inadequate? You find a private college counselor.
3. I make too much money and won't qualify for financial aid. Can the Family Care Center help?
Many families with six figure incomes are surprised to learn they too can qualify for financial aid. The financial aid office at Dartmouth College, and anyone associated with financial aid will tell you that every family, regardless of income, should apply. In addition merit based scholarships and grants that are given out independent of financial status are often contingent on filing financial aid forms. Likewise with the Stafford and PLUS loan programs which are often excellent loan strategies for the more affluent clients.
4. What is considered a successful outcome for the family?
A successful outcome consists of a financial aid award comprised mostly of free money versus loans.
5. Can you guarantee that my student will receive financial aid?
It is unethical to promote these kinds of guarantees, as it is impossible to know what a college will offer a student. The best we can offer is to use our many years of experience and expertise to ensure that the financial aid process is accurately and timely completed in order to maximize the student's aid eligibility.
6. Couldn't we just do all of this ourselves?
Absolutely. Just so long as you're willing to become an expert on the admissions process and it's impact on financial aid, as well as the thousands of pages of rules and regulations required to take full advantage of the process. Each family is unique and it takes an experienced financial aid specialist to know how to advise the family.
7. Why do high schools and colleges discourage parents from paying someone to fill out a free form, such as the FAFSA?
There are several reasons. First, there is no charge for completing the FAFSA. The idea that you shouldn't pay someone to complete the FAFSA for you came from companies that preyed on unsuspecting parents with guarantees of free money. These are the 'scholarship scams' that you've been warned about. No one can promise you that your client's student will be guaranteed of anything. We agree that these scholarship scams and companies that offer free money for a fee is a complete waste of money and a rip-off.
8. I've seen posters at my high school that reads '8 easy steps to get financial aid'. Why do they say that if it isn't true?
Ask any parent who has gone through the process of applying for financial aid and paying the rest with loans or income and assets will likely tell you that applying for free money is anything but easy.
Something that isn't addressed by guidance counselors and financial aid directors is that there is no charge to file your own taxes. You can fill out the 1040 for free. However, many taxpayers choose to purchase tax return software, hire a tax service or accountant/CPA. Why is that? Because the tax laws are confusing and it's to your benefit to get professional help so you don't pay a penny more in taxes than you have to. Same idea with admissions and financial aid.
9. Can't the colleges help my family?
The smaller colleges are more likely to help with the forms than the big universities. If you go that route, in essence, you are showing the school all of your cards, which could cost you a lot of money.

Look at it from this perspective: colleges can't serve two masters. They're looking to protect their interests first and foremost and help your family second. To maximize the financial aid potential at any college, you need to know what they know while telling them as little as possible.
10. How does the College Family Care Center help?
Parents today are really busy. We act as their personal financial aid advocate or if you wish counselor, as well as administrator of all of the paperwork involved. The current FAFSA has 202 entries, while the federal 1040 has a mere 76 by comparison. However, the CFS Client Care Center is not about filling in forms. It's about the entire financial aid process which includes some key elements: making sure the family’s financial data is presented in the best possible light, that all of their information is consistent so as not to draw questions that they may not be prepared to answer in a way that is not in their best interest, updating their tax information, evaluating their student's financial aid awards for fairness and advising them what to do if the award is less than expected.
11. What are some of the problems that parents experience?
Like anything else, there can be difficulties. The CFS Client Care Center is intended for the active parent who doesn't have time to squeeze one more thing into their already hectic schedule. Problems that parents encounter are data mismatches, errors on forms, including financial information that should have been left out, etc. Our Client Care Center professionals have years of experience and are experts at dealing with the many issues and problems so that you don't have to spend hours figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it!.
12. I've heard colleges will negotiate or give discounts on tuition. Is this true?
Colleges will deny that they "negotiate" with parents, but the fact is that if the school wants your student, they may sweeten their initial aid offer during the appeals process. Odds of receiving a preferential financial aid award are improved if the school really wants the student because of a special skill, talent or scholastic achievement.
13. How does the Family Care Center interface with us?
You are provided your own secure, web-based interface. All of the information that will be used to complete your student's forms is available to you 24/7.
For each of the student's colleges, we will advise you of any additional requirements and forms, assist with the Early Decision/Early Action process, as well as their deadlines, etc.
We follow up with you if there are steps that are required before we can proceed with the financial aid process, first by email, then by telephone.
The Client Care Center is available to assist you with questions and concerns, and we make it a point to return phone calls and emails promptly.
14. How long does the service last?
The service begins when the student is enrolled with the Client Care Center until the time they enter college.
15. Is there a discount for additional children in the family?
The short answer is no. The work for each student in the family is unique to them and so the work can't be duplicated. We have priced our services so as to be affordable to as many families as possible while maintaining the highest standard of client care.

Register for Client Care Services