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Paying For College: How to Get High Marks When Financing a Higher Education

CFP Board Ambassador offers advice for affording college

Livonia, Mich., April 17, 2017 – With college acceptance letters arriving in the mail, students and their families throughout the country are celebrating. And with good cause: A higher education is one of the most important credentials in obtaining employment in today’s labor market.

But, as the average cost of a college education has swelled over the last decade, there is a natural anxiety that comes when looking at the price tag. And paying for it is becoming a family affair: a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report released earlier this year revealed that older Americans are the fastest growing segment of student loan borrowers.

“While rising college costs have made some consider the value of higher education, the benefits for most degrees still outweigh the costs,” said CFP Board Ambassador to Metro-Detroit Robert Schmansky, CFP®. “It’s even more critical today to do what you can to remove emotion from the financial decisions around college and take advantage of opportunities to keep costs in check.”

In the latest contribution to, CFP Board offers the following tips to help you make the grade when affording a college education.

  • Look Into Federal and State Government Options: The federal Department of Education awards about $150 billion a year to more than 15 million students in the form of federal grants, student loans, and work-study programs. And your home state offers various types of financial aid. You might be eligible, even if you’re not eligible for federal aid.

  • Colleges and Universities: Many colleges and universities provide financial aid and scholarships from their own endowment funds. There may be opportunities for a particular field of study, so be sure to check in with the various institutions where your child has been accepted.

  • Financial Aid: You have probably completed a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), but in case you have not done so, get cracking. According to, a company that helps students manage the college selection and financial aid process, “approximately $2.7 billion is left unclaimed in federal aid by students who don’t fill out the FAFSA.”

  • Scholarships: Individual colleges, as well as private funders, award scholarships in recognition of academic performance, athletic excellence, a commitment to community service, or other unique talents.

  • Savings: 529 plans, Coverdell Education Savings accounts, UTMA/UGMA, savings bonds, investment accounts…the list goes on. If you were fortunate enough to be able to sock away money for your child or grandchild, it’s time to milk the cow!

To determine the best way to finance a college education, consult a CERTIFIED FINANICAL PLANNER™ professional, who can help you tailor a plan specific your needs and budget.

ABOUT CFP BOARD The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board’s mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® professionals and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. CFP Board currently authorizes more than 76,000 individuals to use these marks in the U.S.

CONTACT: Jessica Lewis, Communications Specialist P: 202-379-2256 Twitter: @cfpboardmedia


Robert Schmansky is the founder of Clear Financial Advisors of Metro-Detroit. Rob has over a decade of experience helping individuals and families meet their financial goals and overcome money concerns. He is frequently quoted in the media on issues regarding personal financial planning, and has been a contributing writer for U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, and Yahoo!Finance, and an investment expert for FiLife, a former Dow Jones/IAC joint Internet venture. He has been an adjunct instructor of economics and the required courses for candidates to sit for the CFP® exam. Investment News selected Rob as a 2015 40 Under 40 financial planning professional and he is the 2013 PlanPlus Global Financial Planning Awards North American finalist.

CONTACT: Robert Schmansky, CFP® P: 248-677-1762 E: W: Twitter: @moneyclarity

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