FINANCIAL AID: UNDERSTANDING THE SYSTEM
One of the biggest misconceptions about saving for college is the impact assets may have on financial aid qualifications. Families may be surprised that the amount they're responsible for is determined mostly by parental income, not parental assets.
The impact of income
Family income makes a large difference on expected family contribution (EFC), and assets, such as money in a 529 plan, actually make a minimal impact.
Determine your needs
Financial need is the difference between the EFC and the cost of attendance. There's no guarantee that financial need will be fully met by a school's financial aid package.
Reaching your EFC goal
There are ways you can prepare for this cost such as opening a separate savings vehicle, applying for merit-based grants or leveraging advanced gifting strategies.
View a guide to reaching your EFC goal (PDF)