Are your brackets ready?

Squares are purchased, initials marked, and the Boards are ready. Yes, all eyes turn to the NCAA Tournament and college hoops. This year, the tournament comes to our backyard as Boston plays host to the East Regional Finals at the TD [Boston] Garden at the end of the month.

March is a busy month across the higher education landscape.

  • Graduating classes are gearing up for finals, marching, and the next stages of their lives
  • 10th and 11th-grade students are watching and enjoying the feeling that they will soon take their next step.
  • Transfers: those who need a new look or individuals looking to restart should be finishing applications
  • Parents should calculate their ability to contribute to the student’s education costs and, if need be, what Plan B will be.

The FAFSA dilemma is not over…Sorry.. Student/family financial aid data is coming to colleges, universities, and accredited post-secondary schools. Fingers crossed

In the meantime, students and families must focus on what they can control-maintaining their mental well-being. Families of 12th-grade students bound for college in September should use this valuable time to prepare for pending decision time.

  • Watch and follow up on all information on your student’s colleges, universities, and other accredited post-secondary schools’ portal.
  • Analyze financing strategies, including running Net Price estimates for public and private institutions.
  • Begin comparing cost, merit scholarship received, and personal resources (including 529 college savings funds and disposable monthly income) to project financing gaps at each school. Spreadsheet available at
  • Invest at least one-hour daily hunting for non-college, independent, community, and philanthropic scholarships. Make it a family affair!
  • Evaluate your credit standing to ensure that, if needed, you can serve as a co-signer on a last-resort private college loan.


Colleges are now moving to eliminate Dean Lists – in the face of rising mental health issues on campus, two high-pressure institutions. Schools like Cornell, Penn, and others are moving away from the Lists. I’m not sure how I feel.

Discover Exits the Student Loan Industry – It’s all about making them more profitable for the sale to Chase. If you’re a Discover customer, watch your accounts – print your last private student loan statement.

New employer-employee education benefit programs to help workers manage education loan payments. As part of the January 2024 Secure Act 2.0, changes permit employers to shift financial resources to help with monthly loan payments and add college advising benefits to EAP.

Standardized test scores will return to college admission requirements for 2025-2026; plan accordingly as you develop your student’s college search list.

Are You Saying YES to the College

Here are five criteria that I ask all students and families to consider when choosing the final college, university, or accredited post-secondary school to attend. Yes, and you have your match – fit!!

The school will:

Advance my academic learning and skills to the next level
Meet my personal needs
Provide me with a socially safe community to learn and live.
Be affordable, with limited educational debt
Prepare me for a job and Career on the way out.

To learn more about who we are, our services, and our approach to planning and funding your student’s educational pathways after high school, visit Start a Conversation- the office is always open.