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The Student Loan Debt Blog: A Blog About Student Loan Debt and Student Loan Consolidation

Student Loan Debt

A Blog About Student Loan Debt & Federal Student Loan Consolidation

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Dark Side of 529 College Savings Plans

Every responsible parent worries about it: how to save enough money so that the kids have enough to pay for college?

You've probably heard of 529 College Savings Plans; maybe your financial advisor, a friend or a family member has recommended 529 plans as a great way to save for university fees--fees that seem to rise at an unreasonable rate each and every year.

But what if someone told you that 529 plans are a bad idea? What if a financial aid expert told you that 529 plans are a hazard to the average family, and must be avoided at all costs? Would you believe it?

Well, that's how author and college financing expert Reecy Aresty feels about 529 plans. More from Reecy's side of the argument can be found below in the snippet from today's press release:

"'529 Savings Plans are a financial hazard to the average family, and must be avoided at all costs.' So says Reecy Aresty, the nation’s foremost authority on college admissions and financial aid. He’s a veteran radio and TV guest pioneering a subject of immense concern to millions of families, and author of the ground-breaking new book, 'Getting into College and Paying for It!,' the only book of its kind available in Spanish.

With over 25 years of playing the financial aid game, Aresty says, 'In the financial aid formulas, students have no asset protection allowance. Every dollar they have will be assessed at 25% or 35% per year, depending on the college. If a family will qualify for financial aid, and most do, then those with money in 529 Savings Plans face a far worse fate - all that money (often $100,000 or more) which could have been legally repositioned outside the financial aid formulas will all be spent, often before graduation.'

A number of states have made contributions tax deductible with North Carolina and Pennsylvania next in line. But here’s the rub. A 529 Savings Plan is considered a parent asset when calculating financial aid eligibility, and families will lose 5.6% of the value every year in financial aid. What’s worse is that colleges treat money in a 529 Plan as a resource, reducing financial aid dollar for dollar.

When confronted with the facts, financial aid officers nationwide have made comments such as: 'Depending upon the value, there will be annual distributions to pay for tuition and fees.' 'Our calculations may vary from year to year.' And this disturbing remark from a prestigious school in New England: 'Financial aid is not the issue here, paying for the student’s education is.'

The sad truth is that literally tens of millions of dollars a year are unnecessarily wasted because families are not made aware of the consequences when setting up these accounts. Additionally, numerous brokerage firms have been sued and suspended for misrepresenting 529 Plans in general.

Getting Into College And Paying For It! exposes the truth. Reecy’s book has numerous admissions strategies to guarantee the student that all-important edge to the college of their choice at application time, because, 'all the financial aid in the world is worthless without an admission ticket.'

The following financial aid strategies have resulted in millions more for those who became aware: how to legally avoid the 35% assessment on student assets, how divorced and separated parents can legally cut the cost of college by up to 90%, and how to appeal unappealing financial aid offers and negotiate for the best possible financial aid package. Here’s what some of the media have said about Reecy and his book:

'Reecy Aresty is an informed, interesting, and complete source on all matters relative to circumnavigating and understanding the quagmire that funding for higher education is in this day and age.' Brad Shepard, WHYN News Talk 560, Springfield, MA.

'A helpful family guide to college financing: Don't despair if you have an acceptance letter, but not enough financial aid. Aresty says if you plead your case properly, you could increase your financial aid by thousands of dollars. That's The Savage Truth!' Terry Savage, TV commentator on CNN, CNBC, PBS, NBC, and Chicago Sun-Times personal finance columnist.

'Filled with trade secrets and insider information, it is more than just a guide but a virtual manual on how to send America's students to the college of their choice without spending their family's life savings. It should be required reading for every parent of a college-bound student!' Florida’s Education Times, The Voice of Education, Palm Beach County Edition.

Reecy’s company, College Assistance, Inc., in conjunction with College Funding Prep of Norfolk, MA presents free monthly seminars that take families from the first day of 9th grade up to and including attending college. For additional information or to request a review copy, please call Reecy Aresty at 561-672-7374."

For tips on saving for college, click here.



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