College Financial Planning

College Financial Planning: Getting Your Finances Ready to Fund Education

We can help you every step of the way in your college financial planning, whether you are in the early stages of thinking about college or a late-starter with a junior in high school.

We help you find:

  • The best ways for your family to save for college
  • Insight into the different methodologies colleges use to give financial aid
  • Sources of funding for tuition
  • Ways to sort  through the financial aid confusion
  • Guidance on loan strategy

How to Apply for Financial Aid

The challenge of financing college is a big one. You need to navigate the seemingly endless maze of college paperwork. Financial aid forms are complex, confusing, and difficult to complete – much like tax returns. We offer expert guidance that helps get you through the process.

Every college-bound family should complete the FAFSA paperwork, regardless of income or financial position. You cannot obtain a grant, scholarship, or student loan without submitting the right application to the right agency.

There are many, many stories about the daunting admissions paperwork required by colleges, and many of the rumors are not true. But the fact remains that many families are blind-sided by the amount of forms required to qualify for college money.

To help you separate fact from fiction, here is the required paperwork:


• The FAFSA Application Form – The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application form contains over 100 financial questions and is required by every college in the country to apply for grant and scholarship money. It is free to file.

• The CSS PROFILE Application Form – The CSS PROFILE application is required by hundreds of private universities to apply for their own institutional funds. (It is often called the “IM,” for institutional methodology.) It’s an online form containing more than 40 pages of questions and instructions. This has a cost to file.

• Student Aid Report Form – The eight-page Student Aid Report (SAR) is a form that summarizes the information you submitted on your FAFSA and gives each family their Expected Family Contribution to college costs.

• The Verification (Audit) Form – Many colleges require an audit of the financial information that you provided and will send you this form to be filled out for verification. Often called IDOC.

Who Needs Help in College Financial Planning?

The reality is that unprepared parents will pay more for college than those who planned ahead. We help you understand the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms. We combine expertise in several areas: Student loan counseling, navigating the financial aid system, ways to save on the cost of college through tax-reduction strategies, debt reduction, and evaluating and appealing financial aid offers. This discipline integrates counseling skills with financial aid guidance and tax planning.

Blue Spark Capital Advisors

We're a boutique fee-only Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) and financial planning firm based in New York City and the Berkshires.

We provide planning and investment management services and financial coaching to women, men and their families.

We believe in a holistic approach. Movement in each piece of your financial plan impacts the others, so we consider your entire picture.

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Contact Us

41 Madison Avenue (40th Floor)
New York, N.Y. 10010
(212) 537-3899

93 Church Street
Lenox, Mass. 01240
(413) 551-4445

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"Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful."
– Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
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