College Planning Experts

Summer Workshop: Learn how to get FREE money for college

Nathan COC Workshop

After speaking at hundreds of universities and high schools across the nation and helping thousands of families, I believe that there are 10 core mistakes largely responsible for why most families NEVER receive the FREE money that’s available to them. One of the biggest challenges parents face is not taking the time to understand the current college system.

So, what are the 10 core mistakes most parents make while going through the financial aid process?

  1. Assuming that they won’t be eligible for financial aid because they own a home or make over $40,000 per year.
  2. Focusing their time and energy searching for private scholarships instead of spending their time learning how to qualify for “need-based” or merit financial aid.
  3. Assuming only minority students, athletes, and academically gifted students get financial aid.
  4. Choosing colleges and universities without paying attention to how their student performs relative to the rest of the student body.
  5. Assuming all schools are created equal and they will be able to give you the same amounts of money.
  6. Not understanding the difference between “included assets” and “un-included assets” on financial aid forms.
  7. Not understanding investment options; it’s all counted in the same way.
  8. Assuming all CPA or Tax Preparer is qualified to fill out financial aid forms.
  9. Waiting until your child’s senior year of high school to start working on your college planning.
  10. Going through the financial aid process on your own because it’s “Cheaper”.

College Planning Experts celebrates 10 years of serving families by making college affordable, one family at a time. One of the families we have been working with recently stated that going to a workshop opened her eyes to how the financial aid system really works, and that it helped her learn how to afford to send her son off to college.

Next month, Los Angeles County parents will have 5 opportunities to learn more about the college application process. We’ll discuss everything from the greatest myths about the college process to simple strategies to send your student to a fancy private school for less than the cost of a junior college. It’ll be like learning how to get a brand new Lexus for the price of a used pick-up truck.
Topics will also include why private scholarships and 529 plans are a waste of time, how to double or even triple the amount of free money you receive from each school. Parents will also learn how to avoid the one mistake that will kill your chances of getting any money at all. Believe it or not, almost every other parent will probably make this mistake and you will learn much, much more.
RSVP to one of our upcoming workshops by going to our calendar: Don’t forget: the class is totally free, but we have limited seating available

Reserve your seat (RSVP) @ or call 661-295-9946 today.

2014 Student Loans Continue to Rise, Should You Be Worried?


Students who plan on taking out government loans could pay nearly $2,000 more starting July 1st.  Just yesterday Congress set the new interest rate for federal student loans at 4.66% starting this fall.  The students who are most affected by this change will be the incoming 2014-2015 students, as well as current freshmen in college.  What does this mean for students who plan on taking out loans?

The interest on student loans can increase by nearly $2,000 over the life of the loan.  The new rate of 4.66% was established and announced by Congress just this week on Wednesday, May 7.  This increase, although important, isn’t the only area of concern parents should be aware of.  In 2014 the national student loan debt exceeded 1.2 Trillion dollars. This is HUGE, and cannot be overlooked.  Student loans are now 2nd on the consumer debt list, following mortgage debt.  Should families worry? Be informed, but do not worry.  As a resource for families we are here to help guide you step-by-step along the way, and did I mention we save you money in the process?

Related: saves families an average of $21,900


This information is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to college planning.  The more a family plans for college, the more a family saves. All parents deserve to be informed on college trends so you will be educated when making costly decisions.  Attend our college workshop – “How to pay for college without going broke” this month. Our workshops are free to attend and they are 100% informational.

Our goal, at College Planning Experts, is to connect students with opportunity.  The three pillars of college success that we focus on are:

  1. Helping students get accepted to their best fit college
  2. Maximize all scholarship and grant opportunities
  3. Funding the cost of college without sacrificing your retirement or life savings

We only have a few spots left for our May workshops.  You can reserve your seat by registering online at or give us a call to make sure seats are still available.




Brian Safdari

CEO & Founder of College Planning Experts

More Scholarships and Grants, Less Loans

I want to congratulate all high school seniors on all of their hard work during school.  Just a couple weeks left until graduation and the start of their next chapter begins! Now it’s time to save on the cost of college and pay for it without sacrificing all of your life savings or retirement funds.

This is the time of year when most parents of high school seniors are filled with mixed emotions. Some are great, some are exciting, and others a bit nervous or anxious. Sending your child off to college is an extremely delicate subject especially when deciding on the best way to pay for college – one of the most talked about subjects.  As the prices of college tuition may scare you, always remember in today’s economy their is a high value placed on having a college degree.  Though a bachelor’s degree is not a promise for economic success, statistics show that a higher percentage of graduates with a college degree are able to find and secure career jobs.

Most high school seniors have already committed to the college they will attend this fall (the national deadline for most colleges is May 1st).  Now that your child is enrolling in their courses, paying for college is next on the agenda.  College Planning Experts has helped save over $21 million in financial aid for college students over the past 10 years!  Our team prides ourselves on maximizing all opportunities for students and families.   We’ve noticed that the families that plan ahead and take action at early stages in the game are the ones that see better results.  Over the past few years we have started to plan with families as early as the 6th grade and even sooner! It’s never to early to start planning for college.

If you live in Los Angeles County and are wondering how to save on the costs of college, visit our FREE College Planning Workshops coming up next month in the San Fernando Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley.  Seating is limited and you can’t afford to miss this financial aid workshop.  At the workshop we teach the secrets on the college financial aid system, such as how to get free money for college regardless of your income, assets, or student’s GPA. All families who RSVP and attend will receive a college planning folder with a ton of information on how to plan for college like an expert.


Call us today to learn all of the opportunities available to you and your child! (661) 295 -9946


Warm regards,

Brian Safdari

How To Negotiate The Best Deal On A College Education For Your Child

Pay for college
When you went to purchase or lease your car – did you accept the first offer they made you, or did you look at their price as a “starting point” for negotiation? What about when you bought your home? Did you purchase it at list price, or did you muster up all of your negotiating skills to try to get the seller to come down in price?

So why is college any different? Even the cheapest state schools today will cost you about $10,000 between tuition, fees, books, room and board, and miscellaneous expenses. A private university can easily cost you $40,000 per year and up. Now multiply those amounts by 4 years. And that doesn’t even include graduate school (God forbid!).

A college education for your child (or children) is one of the single biggest investments you will ever make in your entire lifetime! Doesn’t it make sense to treat it like any other major purchase and do your best to negotiate the best possible financial aid package for your child?

Where Do You Begin?

For starters, your children should be doing their best to get good grades in school. In addition, all students should be taking some type of review course to get a good score on their SAT’s/ACT’s.

Second, you must start narrowing down your school choices to colleges and universities where your child lies in the top 25% of the applicant pool – this will significantly increase your chances of getting a good financial aid package.

Next, you must start researching schools that have the best policies on giving good financial aid packages. You want your child to apply to schools that will meet most or all of your family’s financial need.

Lastly, your student will be able to negotiate financial aid awards if your student receives award packages from colleges that are in the same academic caliber. Schools of equal caliber will sometimes offer more aggressive financial aid awards to make sure your student attends their school.

To learn more about negotiating and finding the best deal on a college education for your specific situation, RSVP to one of our free workshops online.

How Will The New SAT Affect My Student?


“The SAT is being redesigned to more closely reflect the core skills and knowledge that current research shows are essential for college readiness and success.”[1] The future direction of the SAT is going to be both useful and beneficial for students.  In 2005, the SAT went from a 1600 point scale to a 2400 point scale, until the big news today.

Click Here for more information on College Boards’ SAT, the ACT, or more scholarship information

Earlier today, College Board announced their plans to redesign and redevelop the SAT in the spring of 2016.  Takers of the SAT will now be scored on a 1600 point scale, which is how the SAT was originally scored up until 2005 (this is when they made the essay a requirement).

The redesigned SAT will focus on:

  • Critical Reading + Math (essay/writing optional)
  • Preparing students for real world experiences
  • Implementing Common Core standards and testing accurately

So what does this mean for future students planning on taking the SAT?  If you have a student currently in the ninth grade, they will be amongst the first takers of the redesigned SAT.  With the majority of high schools in the United States adapting to the Common Core standards, the SAT is also adapting to better prepare students and increase their opportunities for real-world careers.

Stay tuned as I will have more information as soon as it is released!


Brian Safdari, CEO of College Planning Experts


[1] /delivering-opportunity/sathigher-ed

Only 11 Days Left To Fill Out Your FAFSA!

Note: The FAFSA is for graduating high school seniors entering college and for all current college students.

Have you started on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?   There’s only 11 days left for California residents to apply.  Each state has a different deadline, so if you’re in a different state make sure to visit FAFSA.ED.GOV to find out your deadline.

Top 3 reasons to fill out the FAFSA:

  • The federal student aid and government have $150 billion just to help your student pay for college
  • You can qualify for FREE money and not even know it (if you don’t apply, you’d never know)
  • Don’t want loans? If needed, filling out the FAFSA will make the best loans available

The deadline to complete the FAFSA in the state of California is March 2nd 2014.  If I could give you a big piece of advice (that would have helped me through this process) it’s to NOT WAIT UNTIL MARCH 1ST TO START THE FAFSA.  There are many technical issues that can prevent you from submitting the form, and if you are reading this right now, then I want you to avoid these simple mistakes before they happen.  This deadline is for initial awards and to ensure that your student gains access to financial aid ($150 Billion) before the Federal Student Aid runs out of money.

Some of the most common FAFSA myths:

  • “I make too much money to qualify”
  • “The form is complicated and confusing”
  • “I don’t have the grades to qualify”

Many families do not fill out these forms because parents often think “we make too much money to qualify for financial aid”.  Qualifying for financial aid isn’t just based on parent’s income.  There are many factors  that influence financial aid, and at our College Planning Workshops, we cover the 5 greatest myths about the college process.  The #1 myth regarding college planning and financial aid is families thinking they make too much money to qualify for financial aid.  If you want to learn what other factors can hinder or help your family qualify for financial aid, then feel free to give us a call today at (661) 295-9946 or fill out a “Contact Us” form.

Almost every family qualifies for some type of financial aid (scholarships, grants, work-study, etc.).  You just have to learn how to properly plan and fill out the forms correctly, in order to maximize financial aid.

Each year we speak at over 73 middle schools and high schools.  We teach families how to get free money for college and how to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses while your student is in college.  Paying for college without sacrificing your current lifestyle or losing all of your life savings are just two of the ways we help over 1,650 families every year.

The FAFSA is a free application open to all families with students going into college.  Make sure to complete this form before March 2nd 2014 to ensure your family has access to the $150 Billion that the Federal student aid gives out every year!

What Colleges Give The Most Financial Aid?

Over the past few College Planning Workshops, many parents have asked me, “Brian, which colleges are known to give the most financial aid?”  I wanted to write this blog to inform parents and students on which colleges are known to have high academic standards while also being the most generous in terms of their financial aid awards.  This means less loans and more FREE money for your student.

Last week, the Princeton Review released their annual list for the 150 Best Value Colleges in 2014.   The list contained 75 public schools and 75 private schools throughout the whole country.


The Princeton review takes the following facts into account when creating their list for the 150 Best Value Colleges:

  • Academic Rating – How challenging is the school academically?
  • Financial Aid Rating – How generous is the school when it comes to meeting family’s need-based aid?
  • True Cost of Attendance – Total costs of college minus the average financial aid award package given by the school


There were a total of 18 schools in the state of California that made the Princeton Review list for the Best Value Colleges.
Here are some of the colleges in California that made the list:

  • University of California: Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Stanford University
  • Pomona College, Claremont, CA
  • University of California: Santa Barbara (UCSB)
  • University of California: Santa Cruz
  • University of California: Berkely

My advice to high school students is to challenge yourself academically so you are more attractive to colleges.  Having exceptional grades in high school will not only increase your chance of getting accepted to your dream school, but it will also increase scholarship opportunities from the schools themselves.  Colleges account for 95% of all scholarship opportunities in the country and at we like to focus our students on where the majority of FREE Money comes from – the college!

The main purpose of College Planning Experts and the Princeton Review List of Best Value Colleges is to help students and families, like you, reach their college goals without going broke in the process.  When choosing what colleges to apply to it’s necessary to find the best fit academically for your student. Choosing the right college is a primary indicator of the financial aid awards you can expect to receive.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how we help students get accepted to the best fit schools, you can give us a call at (661) 295-9946 or send us an email at

How Can You Take Charge of College Process?

Did you know the Federal Student Aid (creators of the FAFSA) offers over $150 billion every year to help students go to college?  Most parents and students qualify for some type of financial aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) regardless of income, assets, or the student’s GPA.  Take charge of the college process and you will be surprised at how much help is out there for your specific family. Even if you do qualify for financial aid,  it is important that you know how to apply correctly in order to receive it.

In 2013 helped the families we work with receive an average financial award package of $21,900 per year.  This is free money that they never have to pay back!  Also in 2013, College Planning Experts held 113 College Planning Workshops and taught over 2,350 families about the secrets of the higher education system.

If you are currently going through the college process you owe it to yourself to learn the facts behind college.  Take control.  The college planning information we provide at the workshops is the same information we use to help families receive the Free Money that they are eligible for. Most importantly, our workshops are free and we have 3 coming up this month, starting this Thursday February 6th.

If you cannot attend a local workshop, but would like to see how we can help your specific family situation, give us a call at (661) 295-9946 and mention this blog.

CLICK HERE to view our upcoming workshop dates.


Here are some of the topics we cover at our College Planning Workshops:

  • How to get Free money for college regardless of income/assets/students GPA
  • The 5 Questions you need to get answered before you apply to college
  • Learn the #1 way to get more money from colleges
  • How to balance the cost of education vs. the value of the degree earned
  • The 7 Biggest Mistakes parents make and how to avoid them


This is the best time to learn more about how to get free money for college and how to maximize your options to give your child the opportunity of a lifetime. If you would like to RSVP Click Here or give us a call at (661) 295-9946.  Seating is limited and we fill up quickly so RSVP today to ensure your spot.


RSVP here –


I encourage all parents to come to this 100% informational workshop.  Nothing will be sold and when you attend you will receive your own college planning notebook for FREE!

See you there!


See what parents are saying:

Brian Safdari on KFWB’s Money 101 w/ Bob McCormick 2014


How will the $1.2 Trillion College Debt Crisis affect your future?

College Debt

Do you have a plan for getting accepted and graduating from college? The United States student loan debt just tipped $1 Trillion last year for the first time in history. This amount of debt is HUGE! Take a second and realize just how much $1 Trillion really is. Let me write it out for you $1,000,000,000,000. Believe it or not, student debt is now following after mortgage debt. How much planning and research do you do before purchasing a home? College planning is just as important. Colleges are becoming more and more of a complex system and the odds will be against you if you aren’t in the know. There is no sign of student debt slowing down and in 2014 we should expect the average amount of student debt to continue to grow.

How does this affect you and why am I making such a big deal about this? Every year help hundreds of student get into college, graduate, and take on the least amount of debt possible. One of the biggest mistakes is with financial aid and planning. Financial aid should never be overlooked during this process. Every student has the opportunity to attend the college of their dreams without parents going broke, sacrificing your life savings/retirement, or taking on a huge amount of debt; but you have to understand how the system works.

This year we have already helped 200+ families correctly submit their financial aid forms. Even if you don’t think you qualify for financial aid, STILL APPLY. All families qualify for some type of aid, but one of the biggest mistakes is that they don’t even apply. At our College Planning Workshops we cover the 7 myths about the college planning process. One myth we frequently hear is “We make too much money to qualify for financial aid”. At we help all families strategize and plan for college acceptance, regardless of your income, assets, or student’s GPA.

One of the main forms we help families properly submit is the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is a FREE application for everyone. One of my next blogs will be about the FAFSA, other financial aid forms, and what you should know in order to maximize financial aid awards. Visit us at to request a college planning analysis or sign up for our FREE College Planning Workshop. You owe it to yourself to learn the strategies of the higher education system and take charge.

Warm Regards,
Brian Safdari

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