Why should we consider working with a College Planner?

Working with a college planning specialist can make you aware of planning tips and strategies most people don’t even know exist.  Utilizing a combination of these insider strategies can tremendously benefit your family and your pocket-book.  The services that we provide are set up to relieve you from the stress and anxiety that is typically associated with the thought of paying for college. It is extremely valuable to have an advisor working on your behalf throughout this process.

College is the second highest expenditure for many families, next to the purchase of their home. Have you ever purchased real estate without seeking the advice of a professional? Of course you didn’t.   Paying for college shouldn’t be any different. There is crucial information you need to know about the college funding process before you begin.

Find out why a college planner may be right for you - read more.

“We make too much money and won’t qualify for financial aid. What type of planning can you do for us?” Most of the families we assist qualify for little to no “need-based” financial aid.

Contact us if you have questions or would like to set up a free consultation with one of our consultants.

In what locations are SES' services available? 

SES is based in Carmel, NY; but our backyard reaches out to Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties in New York and Fairfield County in Connecticut. As an Educational Advisor for a college planning service center that counsels students nation-wide, Jeff advises 200+ students and their parents annually from California, Colorado, Oregon, and Texas in the West; to Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia in the Southeast; to Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois in the Midwest; to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts in the Northeast. We work with distant students remotely via a combination of video conferences, screen sharing sessions, and phone conversations.

Do you give out loans or scholarships?

No, we are not a lending institution or a scholarship fund. However, depending on your needs, we will identify and recommend the best college financial tools for your situation.

Do you help find grants and scholarships for our child?

Yes, we do help your student find grants and scholarships. First you should know there are three types of grants or scholarships. There are those awarded by the federal and state government (which are mostly need-based), there are those offered by the colleges and universities, and there are private scholarships that are offered by clubs, foundations, corporations, etc. We attempt to help a student qualify for as many as possible. This involves employing a combination of academic and financial aid strategies. (However, we are NOT a “scholarship search” company.)

It is said that colleges will negotiate or discount tuition. Is this true? What degree of success are parents experiencing in this area?

Colleges will deny that they “negotiate” with parents, but the fact is that if the school wants the child, they may sweeten their initial aid offer during the “Appeals Process.” Your odds are improved if the school really wants the student because of a special skill, talent or scholastic achievement.

Often times there are “Special Circumstances” that the family is experiencing that should be presented directly to the financial aid director or officer at the college. In effect, you are asking the college to use “Professional Judgment” based on this information to reconsider its initial offer. “Special Circumstances” may be another reason for the Financial Aid Award to be “negotiated” through the appeals process. How he or she views your specific situation and what action is taken is at the discretion of the individual financial aid director.

My son has a full scholarship from a public college in our state. I called to ask you about how to file his taxes, but I lost my notes on the answer you gave me. He had all tuition, room and board paid by the scholarship and two checks totaling $1096 were sent to the house. He paid approximately $300 for books out of the money sent home. Your organization told me his tuition was not taxable but the rest is, and he has to declare it. I need to know what forms are now required.

Have him complete IRS Form 1040. On line 7 (Wages, Tips, Salary, etc) have him include the taxable scholarships with his other income at the far right column. On the doted line (after the word W-2) on line 7, write in SCH and the amount of the taxable scholarships, i.e., SCH $2,000. There are no other forms that are needed.

Can my daughter claim independent status now; she will be having a child in July. She plans to go back to college in September full time. Can she fill out the FAFSA now claiming independence? Does her permanent address matter? Can I still claim her as a dependent for tax purposes? (She would get no need-based aid if she were a dependent on the FAFSA).

Call the college she will be attending and tell them of your daughter’s situation, they may tell her to complete the FAFSA out now. If not wait until she has the child before signing the FAFSA. She will be considered Independent if she will provide over half of the support for the child. The address should not matter. As for your taxes, you can claim your daughter (and grandchild) if you provide more than half of their support and you meet the other tests. However, it may be difficult to show that you provide more than half support for your daughter while she provides over half support for her child. It is best to consult your tax adviser.

What do you charge for your services?

There is no charge for the initial consultation. We do ask that you bring our data form with you. All consultations will be held in the strictest of confidence. At this meeting we are interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing us. We want to make sure you are a good fit for our practice before a relationship is established. Our fee is based on the complexity of your case.