Congratulations to the Torres family for sticking to a game plan of paying for college without Parent PLUS loans. Like many families, the Torres family does not have a 529 college savings plan to help pay for college. Even so, they are still getting amazing results with late stage college planning.
Here’s how the Torres family went from being a financial aid underdog to becoming the poster child for how to pay for college without Parent Plus Loans.
College Planning Tip #1. Set career goals before you choose colleges.
All three of the Torres children (Marisol, Carlos and Noah) have chosen majors they can stick with and colleges that support their career goals.
Switching from major to major and college to college can waste time, and the cost can really add up. That’s because when students change their major or transfer schools, they risk not graduating on time.
The truth is, up to 50% of college freshmen are undecided. But one quick test can save you 60k-120k in extra tuition by identifying which college majors and careers are right for you.
College Planning Tip #2. Plan to finish in four.
All three of the Torres children expect to finish in four with a bachelor’s. Believe it or not, most students attending public schools take five and a half years to complete a four-year degree.
Think of it: only 33% of students attending 4-year public schools finish in four. By finishing in four at a public university, two of the Torres kids saved the family $90,000.
Noah will follow suit saving the family an extra $45k (at a public) to 90k (at a private). Altogether Noah’s family will save between $135,000 to $180,000 just by finishing in four. Learn How to Finish in Four in Five Easy Steps.
College Planning Tip #3. Target accelerated dual degree programs.
Save on graduate school tuition with accelerated dual degree programs that allow you to begin work towards your master’s while an undergraduate. What does this mean for the Torres kids?
Marisol will graduate with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in human resources in five years instead of six. Noah hopes to do the same in the technology field.
Carlos will also graduate with his master’s, but it will take him the full two-year stint for engineering. Even so, Carlos will get both degrees in the time it takes many students at public schools to get one.
Nowadays, in many professions, you must have both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree to qualify for entry-level jobs.
It pays to develop a financial aid game plan that takes advantage of accelerated dual degree programs that support your career goals.
Students in accelerated degree programs save a year’s worth of time and tuition dollars. And that’s not all. They’ll also enter the job market a year ahead of their peers. How cool is that?
College Planning Tip #4. Lower your EFC with multiple student discounts.
Marisol will have her master’s by the age of 20. By getting skipped twice, Marisol managed to attend college and graduate at the same time as her older brother Carlos. Here’s how multiple student discounts work:
Parents’ Expected Family Contribution will drop with each additional child in college. So if your EFC is $30,000 for one child in school, with two it would drop about 50% to $15,000 for each student. With three children in college, you’d divide $30,000 by 3 to get an EFC of $10,000 for each child.
The Torres family’s EFC of $69,000 for one child drops to $23,000 for each one of their three children for every year that Marisol, Carlos and Noah are in college at the same time.
College Planning Tip #5. Strategically plan a gap year.
Your child may not skip a grade, but anyone can take a gap year if it will help your family qualify for a multiple student discount in college.
If Marisol wasn’t able to get skipped twice, the Torres family could have chosen to have Carlos take a gap year. This would cut the family’s EFC from $69,000 for one child to $34,500 for Marisol and $34,500 for Carlos for three of the four years of college.
A gap year is a game changer for families with children close in age. That’s because a gap year can be used strategically to qualify the family to receive multiple student discounts. Even one year of overlap between siblings reduces your EFC by 50% for that one year.
In the end, the Torres family will have saved 2 to 3 years worth of college tuition per child. Altogether that amounts to $180,000 to $270,000 worth of savings.
What’s more, Noah’s family is on track to putting all three of their children through bachelor’s and master’s programs without NJ PLUS loans.
As the saying goes, “To get different results, you have to do something different.” Noah’s family’s results aren’t typical, but they are attainable.
Moving forward, what will you do differently?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you. I’ll even forward your comments to the Torres family so they can see for themselves how their practical wisdom inspires you.
Subscribe to the blog to get inspiring updates on the Torres family as they work their winning game plan for the third time on behalf of their youngest son, Noah.
Receive My Free College Guide
If you aren’t receiving my newsletter, here’s your chance to subscribe and instantly receive my new guide, The Ultimate College Search Jumpstart and 5 Steps to Find Your Fit.