Default HubSpot Blog

What Do You Get the Graduating High School Senior?

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 @ 6:00 AM

college technology

What do you get the graduating high school senior who has everything?  After all, high school seniors usually have all the latest clothing and gadgets, so it can be difficult to find something they don’t already own.  Yet, we all want to give that special student something that will make a difference in their lives.  This is especially true when it comes to close family and friends. 

The 529 Plan

Now it is possible to make a third party monetary contribution to some 529 plans.  Through a 529 plan, a student can save money in a tax favorable way to pay for college tuition and related costs.  In essence, you could contribute to a 529 plan whether the student just completed kindergarten or high school.

There are some new websites that have recently come online that allow third party contributions and even provide parents with a way to solicit gifts to their 529 plan.  However, parents should be aware that there are problems associated with these websites such as:

  • Problems with factual inaccuracies
  • Difficult to understand terms and conditions
  • High fees associated with the program
  • No help in selecting the right program

As with any financial instrument, it is recommended that you receive advice and direction on how to best maximize your investment. 

We are Here to Help

Should you be interested in learning about a 529 plan or perhaps other vehicles that can help your student pay for college, call our office today.  We have information that can be tailor fit match your needs and particular time frame.  We will navigate you to the best solution that will get you where you want to go.  Call today and don’t forget to also check out my next FREE workshop where I cover how to pay for college without going broke!


Tags: College Funding, cost of attending college, money for college, Saving for college, Manuel Fabriquer, College Admissions, attending college, Paying for college, cost of college

7 Common 529 PLAN Questions and Their Answers

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 @ 9:25 AM

Many times at my workshops people will come up and ask me questions about 529 plans. I totally understand that there are many questions especially due to the amount of misunderstandings out there about this program.  So, below is a list of the most common questions I get and the answers. 

1. Do I have to use the money at a state school?
  Not necessarily. Your 529 Plan account assets can be applied at virtually all accredited
colleges and universities in the United States as well as to other eligible foreign institutions.

2. What expenses can I use the money for?
  You can use the funds for qualified higher education expenses like tuition, books, etc.

3. How and when can I take distributions from the account?
  Anytime you need it for your school related expenses. Now, please take note, distributions for non-qualified expenses may incur federal income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax. Qualified distributions include money for tuition, books, etc.

4. What about room and board?                                                                                             Good question. Here’s an answer that could help according to IRS Publication 970, it is written there that qualified education expenses are fees that are paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.  So, a lot will depend on what the institution has noted as a condition of enrollment.

5. How do I withdraw funds from my 529 Account, and can I take loans against my 529 Account?                                                                 

 All you need to do is simply fill out the College Investing Plan Distribution in PDF form. Indicate the recipient or who is going to receive the money. You could be a parent who wants to send it to your child or you can be the student yourself requesting that you directly receive it. Now, please note, you cannot take a loan out against the 529 account.


Always keep a record of your payments so you won’t have a hard time filing for your tax returns.

6. How about if my child earns a scholarship?
The amount of the scholarship award from your 529 Plan can always be withdrawn without worrying about the penalty; but remember that other taxes may still apply.

7. Will investing in 529 Plan affect eligibility for financial aid?
Based on the Expected Family Contribution calculator (EFC), 529 assets may have a relatively small affect on Federal financial aid eligibility as they are considered assets of the parent (Participant). Moreover, accounts can be considered assets of the child (Beneficiary), such as a UGMA/UTMA account, are most likely to have a greater effect on the Federal financial aid eligibility in the EFC calculation.  This is something that I always check and advise on for my clients.

This was just a brief overview and by no ways everything you need to know about a529 plans.  For more information on how you can use this tool, and other financial vehicles to pay for college, contact me, Manuel Fabriquer, at (408) 918 3068 and let me save you thousands on the cost of college!


Tags: scholarships, Blog, College Funding, money for college, College Admissions, college scholarships, secure financial aid

Updates on College Costs

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 @ 7:24 PM

There is now a federal law that will increase the chance of getting college financial aid for families who will qualify upon application. This law will also help in offering grants to students who have plans of taking education as a course at the same time helping graduates to repay their student loans.

For Need-based Aid category also known as Pell grants, the news is that it will move up to a maximum of $ 5,400 annually for the next five years from its current maximum of $ 4,310. On the other hand, Stafford loans interest rates will drop by 3.4 % for the next for 4 years, which is half of the current rate.

For Loan Repayment category-

President Obama announced on Oct. 18 at the University of Colorado in Denver that college graduates would have an easier way to pay off student loans through the new “Pay as You Earn” plan.

The Pay as You Earn Plan, which was supposed to go into effect in 2014, will now go into effect in 2012 due to congress’s push by Obama. The plan will allow college graduates’ loans to not exceed 10 percent of the graduate’s discretionary income. After 20 years, any remaining debt will be forgiven, said Georgia Southern University’s Director of Financial Aid Division of Student Affairs- Connie Murphey

“Last year graduates (that) took out loans left college owing an average of $24,000. Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card dept. for the first time ever” said Obama in his speech addressing college students in Denver.

The old policy was that graduates had up to 10 years after they graduate, or leave school, to repay their student loans. College graduates also had to make payments of 15 percent, said Murphey.

The smaller payments will mean the payment time lasts longer, said GSU economics professor Anthony Barilla, Ph.D in economics.

“To the actual college graduate, if you kept their payments at 10 percent, that means they get to make smaller payments of their student loans and that also goes on for a longer duration, so there’s a plus and a minus to it,” said Barilla. “To the college graduate itself, it’s a longer duration of having to pay that loan.”

The college graduates that will not be affected are the students who received loans through private lenders such as banks and individuals, said Murphey.

“The ones that will not be affected is if students have a private loan through a lender, and a lot of students do. They go directly to a lender, they borrow money, it never comes through the school, it’s called a private loan,” said Murphey.

Moving on, the Public Service incentives category will help students in teacher-prep programs who are also committed to educate for four years after they graduate in the application for annual grants of $4,000 to cover the costs of going to college. Grants must be repaid in case they have decided to not pursue teaching.

Student borrowers can also have an incentive to go into a public position. This means that if they decide to work for a decade as a qualifying civil servant, the government shall then waive the loan balance of students to whose loan was provided directly by the government.

For more information on how your student can get money for college despite your income level, call me, Manuel Fabriquer, at (408) 918-3068.  College Planning Abc, is dedicated to helping students find and get into the best colleges in the nation while saving you the most amount of money.  Call today!


Tags: scholarships, college consulting, Blog, College Funding, College Planning News, money for college, college scholarships

How Free Advice May End Up Costing You The College of Your Dreams

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Wed, Oct 5, 2011 @ 1:38 PM

I was once told the most expensive advice is “Free Advice” .  This advice appears to be alive and well today.  Let me share a story of what just happened in my office.

I met with a family today that came to see me in my office to discuss college for their daughter. They are from a local high school in a more affluent area in the bay area.

The father wanted to discuss their odds of their daughter getting in at the top UC Colleges such as UC Berkeley, UC LA, and UCSD.  He told me that they did research and discovered that the UC schools are no longer requiring subject exams for admissions. They were also told from their high school counselor that UCB actually declines students that take subject exams. (Totally Wrong!)

I was taken aback just a bit from this "Free Advice" but told him, that what he was saying is partially true.  The UC colleges are no longer requiring these exams for admissions. 

And Now The Rest of The Story....

However, let’s take a look at the logical thinking here about these colleges. Let’s discuss UC Berkeley, which is considered, “The Ivy of the public school system”.

I have worked with hundreds of students in the past years and I have yet to see any student get into UC Berkeley without taking the subject exams. However, it is true that this is the first year that this requirement has been eliminated from the admission requirements.

Last year there were over 50,000 applicants that applied to UC Berkley, since the UC system has decided to drop the subject test requirements.

Small Fish in Big Pond Situation

What do you think is going to happen to the amount of applicants that apply to UC Berkeley this year?  The answer, there are going to be even more students applying.  Why? Because many students will be thinking that they can get into UC Berkeley without taking subject exams. 

This is exactly what the UC Systems wants; they want more applicants to apply to the college, simply because of money. Have you heard of,” Budget Cuts”.

If the UC system increased their amount of applicants by 10%, let’s assume all of the UC’s have 50,000 additional applicants. The colleges are not adding more seats to accommodate the increase in applicants.

They are already having a challenge getting the students out of college in a 4 year period. This means that there is going to be additional revenue of $,3,250,000 in application fees.  This is a nice revenue bump by just stating they do not require subject exams. 

The fact of the matter is that admission to these top colleges is going to be difficult because of the amount of applicants and competition. Good Luck to anyone if they think that getting to the TOP COLLEGES in the nation  is now easier. The fact is All these colleges want to see students striving for more and to be more competitive in their Freshman Class.

The Bottom Line

I believe that students should continue to take the subject exams because I do not see how they are going to differentiate themselves from the rest of the admission pool.

Maybe you can prove me wrong and show me that you got your student into UCB, UCLA, and UCSD without taking the subject exams. Please show me, I would love to be proven wrong.

This would mean the top public schools are opening their doors to more students of lesser caliber, I doubt it! If anything, they are going to admit more families that can afford college and less of those who they have to give “Free Rides” or high financial need. 

The colleges cannot admit every student that qualifies that has a need. They need more full-pay families to balance the admissions and financial aid for those who cannot afford the college.

Now more than ever you need the services of College Planning ABC to guide you properly to the college of your choice.  Call me today and let me show you what is really possible.

Tags: college consulting, College Funding, College Admissions

Parents Are Not Saving for Kids College

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Wed, Aug 10, 2011 @ 7:25 AM

I wanted to share this article with you on research of what was discovered about parents saving for college.

I understand that it’s tough to save for both retirement and college for the average American family. I have kids myself and it’s really a discipline of saving something every month. Things are tough right now with what is happening in the economy and the stock market.

The article mentions that parents plan to do the best they can to pay for college but are hoping that they are going to fund college on scholarships, academic, and sports scholarships.

In my opinion, I think that parents really need to get help with this process. I think that parents are naive about this whole process and how much parents can actually afford for college. I also believe that parents do not understand how much the cost of higher education is going to cost the family. In California, the cost for a UC College is roughly $30,000 per year and the average family will spend at least $120,000 per student. Most families that I see have 2- 3 children, some savings but only enough for one child. Most families have enough for the first child coming into college, but when the next child comes into college there is a massive problem. The problem lies with cash flow and being able to fund college on a monthly basis. Many families have a budget to pay for a portion of college, but the budget definitely is off when the next student enters college. The trick to college funding is how to keep funding retirement without sacrificing and minimizing education for their children.

What to do? Come to one of my upcoming Free College Planning Workshops or attend a conference call. Check out for events .

Tags: scholarships, Blog, College Funding, money for college, Saving for college

Is a College Planner worth the investment?

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 @ 7:22 AM

I got this question today from a family that was considering my services.

A family comes into my office today for their free consult with me. I went through my general questions about the family and about the families needs. I quickly discovered that they have a major problem with funding the full amount of college. I realized that they have 2 children and only half of the amount for college. I mentioned that something was better than nothing. The bad news is that they would have to sell all of their investments to pay for their children’s educational needs.

I went through my analysis and made the discovery that I can show them how to deduct over $150,000 of educational costs, therefore saving them well over $50,000 in taxes. I also discovered that the student was less than 50 points away from being qualified for a $39,000 scholarship at a private college. The total potential savings for college could be close to $200,000 over the next 8 years of paying for college.

I know I showed them that a small investment in getting expert guidance through this college admissions, and college financial maze is going to be well worth it.

Tags: college consulting, Blog, College Funding, College Admissions, college scholarships