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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Got Questions?

The college funding process is fairly complex with lots of conflicting information being offered. Here is a list of commonly asked questions and their answers from someone who is a licensed financial advisor specializing in college funding.

What is a good way to start learning about college planning and funding?

Attend our FREE Seminar to get a quick big picture understanding of how college funding works. We empower parents with the knowledge they need to make the right choices for their family. Attend our seminar to learn how you can send your student(s) to the right college and lower your out-of-pocket expenses, while enjoying the peace of mind that our service provides you.

How do I avoid scholarship scams?

Be leery of any service that guarantees to get your student scholarship money.  CFAST is not (underline “not”) a scholarship search service.  Inquire with your student's guidance counselor or www.fastweb.com for free information regarding available scholarships.

What obstacles do I face if I try to do all the college planning on my own?

Once parents start looking into college planning, many experience "information overload" due to the number of different, and often conflicting, resources available.  Many people (including most accountants and financial planners) are NOT well-trained in college funding and therefore don't realize that following typical accounting and financial planning guidelines can cost you thousands of dollars when preparing to pay for your child's college education.

Many people use a tax accountant to maximize the tax laws, so you need a college funding specialist to help you maximize the financial aid laws. 


Since understanding the college funding "rules" can seem overwhelming, most parents don't have the time or desire to learn the college funding "rules".  As a result, they may be completing the forms incorrectly and may be submitting the forms at the wrong time.  Both scenarios can cost you money that you don't need to lose.

In addition, you'd miss out on the additional services that we offer.  Some of the services we offer are based on our licensing rights to the information.  Parents aren't able to access this pertinent information...

What are the advantages of having CFAST complete the FAFSA, CSS Profile?

We gather the necessary information from you and accurately complete all of the pertinent forms (FAFSA, CSS Profile, and other individual school forms) for you - on time. Many parents don't realize that you need to re-evaluate your situation each year because these forms need to be completed each year for each student attending college.  We work with you to help get the maximum benefits every year for every student in college.

Parents may inadvertently make errors in completing the FAFSA, CSS Profile and/or the individual school forms by including assets that should not be included in the financial aid forms. In addition to completing each form correctly, they must be filled out consistently - or this can cost you money too.  These mistakes may cost parents thousands in out-of-pocket college expenses.   Unfortunately, many parents try to assume the burden of doing it all themselves, in an effort to save money.  Often times the money lost due to these common errors is more than the cost of investing in our services.  Let us help make the process both more effective and easier on you.

What type of family situations would benefit from these services?

Most any family would benefit from our services.  Since no two family situations are identical the personal consultation is required to assess if our services are appropriate for your family.  Some families simply don’t have the time or energy to do it themselves.

I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply anyway?

YES! Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid that are available regardless of need. There is no good excuse for not applying.

What is the most important year for determining financial aid awards?

Early planning, prior to the student’s junior year in high school, may allow the family to move certain assets and use pre-emptive strategies that can be very beneficial to the family’s overall financial situation with regard to financial aid. A long-term goal for how the family is going to pay for all their children to go to college needs to be considered, not just an immediate solution. We help parents find a way to pay for a college education without spending their life savings. Each family has a unique situation so there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.

If I don't quality for financial aid initially, can I qualify in future years?

Maybe. There are a number of circumstances that could result in a family not receiving financial aid initially and then receiving financial aid in the future. This could be as simple as having a second student in college at the same time, to more complex scenarios. If you didn't qualify initially, talk to us to see if you may qualify now.

Do I have to re-apply for financial aid every year?

Yes. The reason is because if your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. After your first year your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends upon your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.