Media 2018-01-30T12:37:25+00:00

“One mistake that I often see on tax returns is that parents miss claiming the educational tax credits for paying college tuition,” Joe said. “Missing the AOTC is leaving $2,500 on the table.”

US News & World Report [January 8, 2018]  5 Ways the New Tax Law Affects Paying for College

“Without alimony showing up on their tax returns, divorced custodial parents should be eligible for financial aid,” says Joe Orsolini, president of College Aid Planners, a consulting organization in Illinois that helps families navigate paying for college. “This change will make is easier for them to qualify.”

Wall Street Journal [November 29, 2017] Documents You Need When a Child Turns 18

“To a parent, a kid is always their kid,” Orsolini says, “so it is not immediately apparent to them how the rest of the world looks at that relationship.”

Orsolini says many of his clients consider establishing residency for tuition purposes, but few actually do it after weighing the savings against the time and money it takes.

Investopedia [October 7, 2017] High Earners Could Be Getting Retirement Wrong

Orsolini says he tells his clients to focus on three things: Save for retirement, pay off your mortgage and save for your kids’ college. “Ideally, you’re doing two of those three things pretty heavily as you’re going through life,” he says.


WGN Radio – John Williams Show [September 19, 2017] Listen Here

College Aid Planners President Joseph Orsolini: “You’ve got to get it right early on”


Magnify Money [September 19, 2017] Is It OK to Spend Your Financial Aid Refund?

“Until you know for sure that you’ve made it to the finish line, hang on to that money because you never know what is going to happen,” says Orsolini.


Joseph Orsolini, president of College Aid Planners, told U.S. News, “Ideally you want your student to be in the top 25% of a school’s student population. Those are the kids that get the money.”


“You’re just following the rules,” Orsolini saysIt’s no different from putting money in a 401(k) to minimize your tax burden.”


U.S. News & World Report  [August 21, 2017] 10 Ways to Get a Tuition Discount

“I’m a big fan of legacy scholarships. Nothing like trading in your college stories for cold hard cash,”says Orsolini.


“The parents never really sat down with the kid and asked, ‘Hey. where is the rest of this money coming from?’” says Orsolini.

“I’ve seen parents spend $10,000 arguing over a $2,000 tuition bill,” says Joseph Orsolini, a certified financial planner with College Aid Planners, Inc. “It’s also unfair to the kids, by putting them in the middle of a money argument. The best strategy is having the cost issues ironed out before finalizing the divorce.”

“These programs are complicated — which is one of the issues that critics [of PSLF] bring up — and you don’t always get the right information,” Orsolini says. “Before you plan your whole life around the [first] answer you get, you have to double- and triple-check that it’s right.”

“While you don’t have to make payments on your student loans while in school, the interest is piling up in the background on the unsubsidized loans,” says Joseph Orsolini, a certified financial planner with College Aid Planners, Inc. “Making the interest payments keeps the interest from capitalizing – otherwise known as interest on your interest.”

U.S. News & World Report [June 27, 2017] Choose Between Work-Study, Part-time Job in College

“Anything beyond that second semester of sophomore year forward doesn’t impact your financial aid,” Orsolini says. The FAFSA accepts tax returns from two years prior to the filing date, he says. “Go for the money at that point, there’s no financial aid advantage for a work-study job.”

WGN Radio – John Williams Show [April 24, 2017] Listen Here

Financial Expert Joe Orsolini: Acceptance into a top choice school doesn’t always make that school the right choice

“There’s nothing better than going back to that school and saying ‘Hey we really like you but school B offers $3,000 more,” Orsolini says.

The other significant challenge with this tax credit is that many colleges no longer mail out the 1098-T document, he adds. “College students are expected to know to log on to the college web portal, find and print the 1098-T, and give it to their parents,” he says. “As you can imagine, that doesn’t happen as often as it should.”

Another valuable service for parents is that college planners offer a voice outside the family. “Having an outside person present (his or her) message allows the information to get through to otherwise strong-willed teens. A college planner’s value extends beyond college as (he or she) will help determine what level of student loans are appropriate so that students are not burying themselves in life-altering debt,” Orsolini says.

Student Loan Hero [] 8 College Expenses That Are Tax-Deductible or Tax-Free

“Currently 32 states offer tax breaks for contributing to a 529 plan,” says Joe Orsolini, a certified financial planner at College Aid Planners. “[And] some states offer the tax break for being in the 529 plan for as little as 5 business days.”

GoodCall [December 19, 2016] Student Loan Debt: How Much is Too Much?

After the entirety of the financial obligation is fully understood, college planning and financial aid expert Joseph Orsolini suggests, “Families should determine what they have available to pay for college and then find schools that fit that budget.”

In fact, your ACT score may be an even better indicator of whether or not you’ll qualify for merit-based financial aid, says Joseph Orsolini, a college aid planning expert based in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

US News & World Report [November 15, 2016] Financial Tips for College Applicants Without a Major

“You may want to go to graduate school later on,” says Joseph Orsolini, president of College Aid Planners, a consulting organization in Illinois that helps families navigate paying for college. “It’s best to conserve as much money early on as you’re figuring all of that out in the process.”

“With the new income, there is a temptation to go out and spend money on cars, apartments, cell phone plans, etc.,” says Joseph Orsolini, a CFP with College Aid Planners.

Private colleges offer significantly more merit aid than public universities, says Joseph Orsolini, president of College Aid Planners in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. For this reason, students who might not qualify for merit-based financial aid at a private university may find that a public university offers additional financial incentives.

Student Loan Hero [October 14, 2016] How to Work With Your Ex to Send Your Kids To College

“Think of FAFSA rules, IRS regulations, and divorce laws as a Venn diagram — sometimes they intersect, other times they don’t,” Orsolini says.

The Street [September 13, 2016] The Real Cost Of Charging College Tuition

“It may make sense to charge tuition if you get rewards points and have the funds to pay off the debt quickly,” Joseph Orsolini, a financial planner with College Aid Planners, told, “but not if you have to pay a service charge to do so.”

Chicago Tribune [August 24, 2016] Before Charging that Tuition Bill, Check for Fees

Orsolini said charging tuition may make sense if a student needs to work around short-term cash flow issues or attends a fee-free school and can pay the credit card bill on time. But costs — from the service fee to interest if the cardholder fails to pay off the balance — can add up fast. If there’s a risk of carrying a balance, families would be better off with lower-interest, longer-term loans, he said.

“If you need long-term financing, first look to federal student loans and then private student loans before using a credit card,” College Aid Planner financial planner Joseph Orsolini told “Or pick a different, cheaper college. Credit cards are not designed to finance long-term debt such as student loans.”

Advisor News [August 12, 2016] How Advisors Can Help With College Planning

“The real takeaway of this change is that families will need to start planning for college earlier,” said Joseph Orsolini, president of College Aid Planners. “The freshman year FAFSA will be based on the tax return that begins during sophomore year of high school. Most parents aren’t thinking about arranging their finances for college at that point.”

“I am on the side that thinks college is a good investment, but like any investment, if you overpay for it, you will not be happy with the return from it. I think the high millennial response stems from the hope and promise that newly minted graduates have about their future,” says Joe Orsolini, a CFP professional with College Aid Planners in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

“It’s usually the better endowed schools that have the ability to do that,” says Joe Orsolini, of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a financial planner at College Aid Planners, Inc. “Your state schools don’t tend to offer that too much.”

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“I am amazed at how many people get engaged and even married without ever having a conversation on student loan debt,” Orsolini says. “This is especially important if one of couple is on an income-based repayment plan. Adding a spouse’s income will impact eligibility for IBR and may cause their payment to increase.”


WGN Midday News [April 25, 2016] Your Money Matters: College Finance Tips

Running through 529 funds in the first two years – instead of taking advantage of available loans – can backfire, says Joseph Orsolini of College Aid Partners. “Families really need to budget out the four years of college to determine the best course of action with spending savings and borrowing.


The Wall Street Journal [April 3. 2016] A Q&A on Paying for College

As for wholesale loan forgiveness, it is dangerous to assume that the government will stop requiring student loans to be repaid, Mr. Orsolini says, particularly since students pay so much in interest to the government on their loans that it is a major federal revenue source: “I would not base my college plan on that happening.”


Insurance News Net [March 28, 2016] Is It Crazy to Talk Politics With Your Clients?

“Some of my favorite political conversations are with clients that have complete opposite political views form mine,” he says. “There is something to the advisor/client relationship that leads to a more congenial political conversation.”


“Many families don’t realize the difference and mistakenly include the amount twice on the FAFSA, which will cost them financial aid,” Orsolini says.

The problem, Orsolini notes, is when parents let children choose their schools and then go about figuring how to pay for them. Instead, he says, the money discussion should happen long before applications go out.


Some private colleges even give “need based” aid to families earning as much as $200,000, says Joe Orsolini, a private financial aid counselor in Chicago.


Coverdells also let you “make unlimited investment changes, unlike 529 plans which limit you to two changes per year,” notes Glen Ellyn, Ill., financial planner Joseph Orsolini.

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Orsolini wasn’t convinced. His sons had iPads and had used them responsibly and, “remarkably, not broken or lost them, so I wasn’t concerned about that issue. What concerned me was the cost of the service and purchasing a phone.”


“Too many grads commit their paycheck to fixed expenses during the grace period and are hard-pressed to fit in a student loan payment when the grace period ends,” Orsolini added.

US News & World Report [October 13, 2015] 3 Changes to the FAFSA for College Students to Understand

“It’s still so new and fresh that people don’t realize these changes are going forward,” says Orsolini, who runs College Aid Planners, advising 250 to 300 families each year and conducting financial aid nights at local schools and libraries.


Ask Yahoo Finance [October 8, 2015] Is It Too Late to Open a 529 Plan for My Teenage Son?

Currently 34 states offer some kind of tax break for contributing to a 529, Orsolini says. While most states only offer the tax break for contributing to your home state’s plan, six states allow a deduction to any state’s 529 plan.


Orsolini notes this is mainly a concern for low-income families that might lose out on need-based aid. “In the grand scheme of things, it is always better to have savings than not have savings for college.”


“Nobody pays the sticker price if they know what they’re doing,” said financial adviser Joseph Orsolini, founder of College Aid Planners.


For instance, a student with $85,000 saved in a Uniform Transfer to Minors Act account would have $17,000 count against the family for financial aid because the student owns the asset, Mr. Orsolini said. If the parents were to transfer that amount to a Section 529 plan (which are considered to be a parental asset as far as financial aid is concerned) only $4,800 would count against that family for that $85,000 account.


Financial Advisor [September 1, 2015] Older Parents, Younger Children

“I have three families where parents over 60 have student debt from children; that makes planning tough,” says Joseph Orsolini, a certified college planning specialist and CFP at Glen Ellyn, Ill.-based College Aid Planners.

Certified financial planner Joe Orsolini of College Aid Planners in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, recommends that ownership always go to the noncustodial parent.


The nitty gritty of how the APA is calculated is mind-bendingly confusing, so the fact that the changes haven’t been widely registered isn’t surprising. “These are the minute details the average public doesn’t know, but this is how the sausage is being made,” says Joseph Orsolini, a certified financial planner and founder of College Aid Planners.


Orsolini says that missing or being late on a single payment will put multiple negative hits (one for each loan) on their credit report. “I tell students that when they graduate the first bill they should pay every month is their student loan payment – before rent, car, or a cellphone bill,” he says.


Ask Yahoo! Finance [July 21, 2015] Should I Pay Off My Son’s Student Loans Early?

Your son’s college will have no idea what you do with the loan once he gets the money. Payments are handled by a third-party loan servicer, not the college, says Joseph Orsolini, CFP at College Aid Planners.


Few entry-level jobs give college grads the cash flow to pay for basic needs, let alone student debt, says Joseph Orsolini, a financial planner with College Aid Planners in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

US News & World Report [May 20,2015] 4 Ways to Grow a College Savings Account Quickly

 can deposit tuition payments into the 529 account before tuition is due and 
take it out once the holding period is up,” says Orsolini. “In my home state of Illinois, this provides a 3.75 percent state tax credit for parking your money in a 529 plan 
for as little as five business days.”

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“What happens in a student debt bubble is you get lifestyles re-setting,” says Joe Orsolini, a certified financial planner with Glen Ellyn’s College Aid Planners.


Joe doesn’t see a need for the government to fund college when it is at such an affordable rate already. He backs up his point with raw numbers. “The average cost of a public, two year in-district college is $3,347 according to the College Board. Anyone with an income of less than $160k spending $4k on tuition and books gets a $2,500 tax credit (American Opportunity Credit) to cover those expenses.


Society of Grownups [August 29, 2014] Buying a 529 Plan? Avoid These Common Mistakes


YAHOO! Finance [August 14, 2014] Are College Aid Planners Worth the Money?


AmeriForce [August 10, 2014] Ways To Save for Your Child’s Education


Yahoo! Finance [April 28, 2014] 5 Ways to Avoid Student Loans


Ask Yahoo! Finance [April 11, 2014] Help! My Student Loan Debt is Ruining My Life!


Smartycents. [January 21, 2014] Filing the FAFSA: What Parents Need to Know




MSN Money [July 31, 2013] 6 Questions to Boost College Aid


The Street [July 29, 2013] 5 Ways to Solve College Sticker Shock


ABC7 News [February 13, 2013] Tips to Avoid a Mountain of College Debt

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Credit Union National Association [February 6, 2013] Parents: Borrow for Kid’s College, Jeopardize Retirement


Bloomberg Businessweek [October 11, 2012] Perry’s Fixed-Rate Tuition Given Poor Marks in Georgia

276770_418979368124581_110117006_n [September 26, 2012] How to Decide Which Student Loans to Accept

FOX Business [September 12, 2012] Top-Value 4-Year Colleges Around the US


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CUNA Turning Points [July, 2012] Paying for Your Child’S Higher Education


U.S. News & World Report [May 21, 2012] 7 Ways to Prepare for Student Loan Repayment



Daily Herald [March 25, 2012] Suburban Students Struggle With College Debt


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Wall Street Journal [July 1, 2010] They Left the Bank, But Not The Customers


The Bill Moller Radio Program [September 26, 2009]

logo-sfc [September 2009] How 6 Experts Manage Their Kids’ 529 Plans