The cost of a college education has grown significantly in the past two decades. And with rising inflation taking its toll across every aspect of our economy, the trend shows no sign of stopping soon.
In its 2022-2023 U.S. News Best Colleges Report, researchers found that for one year’s tuition and fees, 19 out of the 20 top schools in the United States cost at least $55,000. Most schools in the top 20 list cost more than $60,000, with only two coming in at less than $50,000.
If you’re wondering how you can afford to send your children to college, it may be wise to consider financial resources and financial advisors that could help you.
What To Look For in a Financial Advisor
When hiring a financial advisor, you’ll want to ensure that the one you choose is the best fit for your family and has the necessary designations to help you make the best financial choices. Here are some qualifications to look for in potential college financial advisors.
“For families with the right needs, hiring a college funding specialist advisor is a straightforward decision, says Dean Lyman, a college funding advisor and founder of Your Financial Partnership. “A knowledgeable advisor will be able to plan for and remove the roadblocks to understanding how the college funding process works. A partner who has walked this road will be a valuable addition to help your student get to and through college.”
Ccfc (Certified College Financial Consultant)
A CCFC (Certified College Financial Consultant) is typically a Certifed Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) specializing in education funding. CCFCs understand the costs associated with post-secondary school, whether at a college, university, or trade school. They are also very well-versed in various topics on educational funding, including:
- Student loans
- Education credits
- Tax consequences
Many financial planners assist students after they have already incurred student loan debt, but CCFCs focus on supporting students before, during, and after college planning.
You should consider hiring someone with a CCFC designation if you need to design a plan for paying for college, better understand tax deductions and credits, or navigate the complex world of student loans.
Cslp (Certified Student Loan Professional)
Perhaps you’re not so interested in exploring various grants, financial aid, and scholarship options to assist with the college funding process. Maybe you want to focus on how to organize the best student loan schedule so that your child won’t be carrying the weight of debt for the rest of their life.
If that’s the case, you’ll want to seek out financial advisors with a CSLP (Certified Student Loan Professional) designation.
The CSLP program is the only professional training program that focuses exclusively on student loan management in financial planning. You can rest assured that you’re in good hands with a CSLP, as FINRA recognizes the designation.
Cfsla (College Funding and Student Loan Advisor)
The student loan debt crisis is massive and only worsens over time. CFSLA-certified financial advisors understand this fact and are committed to helping all students develop a proper financial strategy to help them through college.
If you’re looking for a financial advisor with a more holistic approach to advising students for college, you’ll want to seek a CFSLA.
The CFSLA program teaches financial advisors about college funding and the financial aid process. Therefore, financial advisors with this designation know how to save for college and adequately develop a college funding strategy.
Financial advisors can help you plan and work through some unique situations regarding college funding. Still, if you’re looking for self-guidance, some resources can also assist with that. These are the best financial resources to help you fund college, from educational websites to those that let you apply for government loans.
College Aid Pro
College Aid Pro’s mission is to end the student debt crisis once and for all. They created software that aims to demystify financial aid for college and helps students find the lowest costing college so they can graduate debt-free and lead better lives.
With College Aid Pro, you can compare various student loan programs, execute a student loan, and learn much more about putting your child through college at the lowest cost possible.
Known initially as StudentLoan.gov, StudentAid.gov is a website that provides you with tons of helpful information regarding applying for financial aid.
As an official office of the United States Office of Education, StudentAid.gov is legit. So you can trust that the information provided on the website is accurate and helpful to your financial aid process.
FinAid.org is another helpful website if you want to learn more about financial aid and the various ways to put your child through college without ruining your finances.
This website covers loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. Each of these categories can prove highly beneficial to helping you earn another dollar for your kid’s educational journey.
Consumer Finance Protection Bureau
Suppose you’re worried about whether a bank or institution is taking advantage of you in the college funding process. In that case, you can always head to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau for help.
Here you’ll find answers to all sorts of money questions, including topics like:
- Credit cards
- Debt collection
- Credit reports
Financial Aid Officers
Some of the best financial resources are the financial aid officers at colleges and universities themselves.
These officers can provide a lot of support when it comes to paying for college and will be able to answer any questions you have regarding the college funding process. Not only can most of these officers provide advice on grants and scholarships, but they can usually also help with student loan debt.
Sitting down for a coffee chat with these officers will also give you a better sense of whether you want your child to attend the financial aid officer’s college.
All in all, if money is the primary concern regarding enrolling your child in a college, chatting with a financial aid officer can help guide you in the right direction around making this decision.
College is costly. Long gone are the days when almost everyone could afford to graduate from post-secondary education debt-free. Student loan debt is widespread these days, and the situation is not getting better soon.
Knowing which financial advisors and resources you can turn to can help you better plan for college and improve your finances in the long run.
More Articles From the Wealth of Geeks Network:
- What is a Tax Accountant? (And Should You Hire One?)
- Looking for a Financial Advisor for Young Adults?
Jeff is a current Harvard student and author of the blog Financial Pupil who is passionate about learning, living, and sharing all things personal finance-related. He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys the pursuit of financial freedom. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.