College Pre-Approval Process

Saving for the cost of college tuition is all too important. Unfortunately, how to pay for college is the component that gets left out of the planning discussion. Most parents realize they should be saving X number of dollars for college. However, what ends up happening is usually a different story.

Too often we see parents scrambling to figure out how to cover their shortfall by the time their kid is about to graduate high school. Procrastination and the rising cost of tuition finally caught up with them. This is why Mellen Money Management has developed a process that is rooted in preparing and educating our clients, so that the only thing that will surprise you is how much easier it is when you have a plan.

The benchmarks of our system include:

  • Save "on" and "for" the cost of college

  • Create a 4-year budget

  • Select the right college savings vehicle

    • 529 vs. Coverdale vs. UGMA

    • Manage underlying investments

  • Maximize financial aid — need and merit

  • Tax credits — AOTC vs. Lifetime Learning

  • Proper usage of assets and liabilities

  • Lower the sticker price of tuition

    • Leverage EFC reduction strategies

    • Evaluate “net cost” at each school

  • Smart college lending

    • Graduate with manageable student debt

  • Pay for college without delaying retirement

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Timing Matters

While your child prepares for their first day of high school, graduation may seem like a long way away. But take the opportunity to get a head start by preparing for the cost of a college or University while they are still underclassmen. Once Senior year rolls around there will be a tight schedule of applications, financial aid, and scholarship processes to help guide them through, so plan ahead with our 6 Steps.


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All hypothetical projections assume a 6% return and monthly compounding interest. 
Taxable projections assume a 15% tax rate applies every year, which reduces the average annual return to 5.10%.