College Planning Experts

The 2 Mistakes You Have to Avoid



In 2014, one of my goals is helping you navigate through the college planning process, so I decided to give you yet another valuable gift!  Financial aid season has arrived, and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I made when filling out the forms.

Here are 2 common mistakes on financial aid forms:

  1. The #1 mistake students make is leaving a field blank.  All income questions must be completed.  If the answer is zero, or the question does not apply to you, write in a 0.  If you leave an income or asset question blank, the federal processor will assume that you forgot to answer the question.
  2. Be careful to write your Social Security Number (SSN) and date of birth accurately and clearly.  Any errors in the SSN or date of birth will cause processing delays.

What are the consequences of making a mistake?

These college planning tips can help save you up to $11,000.   A family came in for advice last year around March with several mistakes on their financial aid forms.  These little mistakes cost the family $11,500 in FREE money.  This was very concerning, but like many families they did not know where to turn for help during this process.  In the end, they did not receive any FREE money that they were in fact eligible for.  Don’t let this happen to you and make sure to plan 2-3 years ahead in order to maximize the amount of FREE money you can expect to receive.

  • Remember financial aid is given out on a first come first serve basis
  • Any mistake will delay the process by 2-3 weeks.

These tips are for the parents and families who want to do things right, who don’t want to procrastinate, and who want to maximize financial aid.

If you have any questions give us a call to schedule an appointment at (661) 295-9946.

I wish you nothing but success in 2014!

FREE Gift to Welcome 2014

CPE Holiday





Looking Back, To Help Make 2014 Your Best Year

By: Brian Safdari

This holiday season I thought to myself, “what better gift to give than the gift of knowledge for the New Year?”

I have a special gift just for college-bound students and parents that you can download at the link below:

Click here to download your Special Gift

“A Checklist of Things You Should Be Doing”


This FREE gift is a chapter of my very own eBook College Planning Made Easy. In this chapter I go over the things you should be doing right now if you’re the parent of a college-bound student.

As we wrap up the holidays and bring in the New Year, I want to highlight the most important college planning tips of the year.  I narrowed the topics to these best points:

  • www.College Planning presented over 103 College Planning Workshops in 2013. WOW!
  • How students can attend a private university cheaper than a state school
  • How families can receive financial aid regardless of your income, assets, or student’s GPA
  • How your student can get into the “Best Fit” college, receive a “discount”, and graduate in 4 years
  • How to maximize aid and fill out financial aid forms properly in any family situation (married, divorced, single income, etc.)
  • How to start planning for the costs of college before your student is in High School

These topics just cover the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dedicated college planning, but my goal is to provide you with the resources you need whether you are starting, finishing, or right in the middle of the college planning process.  Over the past 9 years I have had the privilege to help over 2,300 families save over $3.1 Million in financial aid, helping to make students and families’ college dreams a reality!

To all the families that the team and I have worked with: I want to say thank you so much for making this process as rewarding for me as I hope it is for you! If you have not yet attended a College Planning Workshop, it’s never too late! To RSVP use this link: Upcoming College Workshops.


Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season and best wishes for the New Year!


Warm Regards,

Brian Safdari

How can you avoid getting into $200,000 in student debt?

student debt







By: Brian Safdari

Can you get into $200,000 in debt just from student loans? Of course you can, but I specifically wrote this article so you can learn how to avoid making this costly mistake.

In this article I will cover three main topics:

  1. Why finding career options before college is so important
  2. How to properly plan for a college education
  3. How to avoid unnecessary debt

A family we recently met with had 2 students going to universities in New York.  They did not have a plan going into college and Nick, their oldest son, was undecided on his major and career.  Nick spent his first 5 years in college figuring out what he wanted to do after he graduated.  After 7 years Nick finally graduated with an outstanding amount of debt.  What went wrong?

Nick was an excellent student who excelled in academics and extra-curricular activities.  He just wasn’t sure of what he wanted to do after he graduated.  Why is it so important to know what major(s) you want to study in college? I’ll answer this question by telling you it could save you $200,000.

Nick graduated from college in 7 years and ended up with over $200,000 in student debt.  The only reason he took that long was because he wasn’t sure about his major and he didn’t know where to turn for help.  It’s not uncommon for students to change their majors, and on average students will actually change their major 2-3 times.  What is important is that there are resources to help students who are not sure on their major or career.  College Planning Experts serves over 700 students every year, providing the resources families need to never make these mistakes.

I am not telling you that the average debt for a college graduate is $200,000 (more around $30,000[1]).  I am simply stating that students should at least know what fields they would enjoy working in based off their skill set, interests, personality, and goals.  High school students should begin asking themselves “What do I enjoy doing?” “What would I excel in?” “Do I want a big school or more 1-on-1 teaching?”  These questions should be asked before college, saving time and money while in college.

We call this student planning and positioning.  Knowing which field a student would enjoy working in will help decide what schools they should apply to.  Not all schools offer the same majors, so it is important to research what schools provide the majors your student might be interested in.  Is your student interested in a few different fields?  If this is the case then make sure your student applies to schools that offer all the majors they are interested in. This not only minimizes the need to transfer, but it ultimately cuts costs.

For more resources visit us online at or sign up for our Free College Planning Workshop today! Remember you’re not in this alone.


College planning just became easy with College Planning Experts.


[1] USA Today – Class of 2012 hit with the average debt of 29,400


How To Receive Free Money For College If You Are Going Through A Divorce Or Already Divorced

College Fee's










Written by: Brian Safdari

The daunting task of submitting and applying for Financial Aid for college can be an overwhelming chore to say the least. Now imagine if you and your family find yourselves in a divorced situation. That’s right; it just got 3 times more confusing. Numerous questions may be swirling in your head: Which parent do we file under? Do the schools want both parents’ information? Do we have to provide EVERYTHING? The questions can go on and on.


The good news is that in a divorce situation, you may just have many options in order to receive the most amount in financial aid, assuming you spend some time “planning” and gathering information from a credible source.


First things first are the forms used to apply for financial aid; the FAFSA and CSS Profile. These are the financial aid forms that most state and private schools use to determine financial aid eligibility. From your forms, you will receive a number called your EFC or expected family contribution.  Visit our website to get an approximate number of your own EFC. This number is used to determine your financial need. The way a school determines your need is they use your EFC and plug it into the formula Cost of Attendance (The sticker price to attend college including everything) - EFC (Expected Family Contribution (A number that reflects the amount schools think you a can afford) = Need. Our goal, at College Planning Experts, is to reduce your EFC and increase your need. The higher your need, the higher your grants and scholarships.


Now, here come the questions; do you know how FAFSA requires what to list about a divorce family? Do you know legally and ethically how to give them the information but not divulge more than what they need in order to get more free money for college? For example, if you are attending a public university, depending on the specific college, you may be able to submit your financial aid form with one parent. You need to dig deep and know the specific strategies regarding their “non-custodial” rules. One of the families we helped had a student attending a public school that the rule was “Who does the student live with 51% of the time”? In this specific situation, we had the student 51% with the lower income and asset family and we were able to receive $26,000 in grants at UCLA, leaving the family with a total cost of $9,000 per year. No too bad, huh?


Another thing to keep in mind is that since colleges are businesses, they want to have you pay as much as possible for college. Also, we know that the FAFSA, and other Financial Aid forms, have a high error rate (ask for a copy of my e-book to find out more). Avoiding mistakes and seeking guidance (strategic planning) will allow you to make college affordable without going broke.


There are three pillars in the college planning process. Pillar #1 is how to market and position your child to get accepted into the college of their choice. You will be shocked that colleges are not accepting students based on grades and test scores alone, but a big part is what makes your child “unique”. There are specific formulas to implement to increase your chances in getting accepted, even with a low grade point average (GPA). Pillar #2 is getting the most financial aid possible by understanding the financial aid formula we briefly talked about (COA-EFC = Need). All income level families can receive financial aid IF you know how to utilize the financial aid formulas (Come to our Free Workshop, we will show you how). Pillar #3 is funding college. How are you going to pay your share for college? How much can you afford monthly? What type of loans and resources are available to ensure you don’t have to sacrifice using all your savings or jeopardizing your retirement?


Brian Safdari, founder and CEO of, made costly mistakes that cost him over $53,000 in student loan debt unknowingly and unnecessarily. Also, he attended his least desired college that was not the best fit school. After the mistakes he made, he devoted his life to share the truth about the higher education system and how to legally and ethically take control of the process to send kids into the college of their dreams and ensure the parents do not go broke.


If you’d like help navigating through this confusing process and want your questions answered give us a call today at (661) 295-9946. Are you divorced? Contact us and we can help you save thousands on college. This will be one of the wisest financial decisions you’ve ever made. Visit our website at or give us a call today. Reference this article when you call to receive a special gift.

Urgent Information for Early Action/Early Decision College Students


Confused Student

By: Brian Safdari

Keywords: Financial Aid Deadline, Financial Aid, College Admission, College Planning, Planning for College, Free Money, College Application, Early Action, CSS Profile, FAFSA

This week we kick off our new, online blog with exciting information from College Planning Experts.  Before we dive into our important info on CSS Profiles, we want to take time out for all the families that were affected in the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan.  If you would like to make a donation to the American Red Cross please Click Here. They have raised over $6 million in response to this typhoon.


College Planning Magazine

Here at College Planning Experts, we plan to start this college season the right way, by providing families with exclusive content that is sure to help you with your college planning.

Here are some key take-aways if you applied early action/early decision (or if you want to get a jump start) for schools that require the CSS Profile:

  • Early action deadline for most CSS Profiles are due today November 15th, 2013
  • There are over 250 questions on the CSS Profile
  • Did you know over 90% of the forms are filled out with errors?  Fill it out error free and on time in order to get Free Money for college
  • Contact an Expert to ensure your Financial Aid forms are filled our correctly
  • Profile Costs – $16 per school and a one-time $9 Application Fee
  • Over 350 schools require the CSS Profile (Check to see if your schools do)

Financial Aid

Applying to college is one of the most pivotal points in a student’s professional career.  Just the application process alone could be confusing and intimidating. Since colleges get more and more competitive every year, it is best to know exactly what to do and when to do it to stay ahead of the game.  By knowing what to do and taking action, your chances of getting the results you want will be significantly higher than those lost in the process.

So you’ve just applied to your dream school, now what?  Applying for Financial Aid.  Here is where the college planning process gets even more confusing. If you want to pay full price for college then this article is not for you.  However, to get a “discount” on college, or to not pay the “sticker price” then applying for financial aid correctly is a must!

There are 2 main types of financial aid forms: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile.  To learn more about the different types of financial aid visit our “Resource” tab on our website.

CSS Profile Early Action

If you applied to a competitive private school, then you will most likely be filling out a CSS Profile.  For early action/decision the CSS Profile is due by November 15, 2013.  The College Scholarship Service Profile is distributed by College Board and serves about 400 colleges and scholarship programs.  This is different from the FAFSA, which is due early 2014. The CSS Profile requires more in depth information and is used by most private colleges as their basis for giving financial aid.  This is in addition to the FAFSA.

Start NOW!

If you applied early action/decision and have not started on your CSS Profile, you need to do it NOW!  To make sure you fill out your financial aid forms correctly you have less than 2 weeks to receive help and turn it in late.  Turning it in late, with no errors, is better then not turning it in at all.  If you have not already attended our Free College Planning Workshop, you can give us a call and we will let you speak to an expert to get your issues resolved.

There are over 250 questions ranging from family size, federal income tax, & other financial information.  Rather than just filling it out blindly, make sure you fill it out error free. Avoid making mistakes by contacting an expert, and better your chances of receiving Free Money.

Filling out your CSS Profile is necessary in order to guarantee your maximum eligibility for free money for college.  For more information on how to get Free money for college attend our Free College Planning Workshop. Take control of the college process, don’t let it control you.  Also for expert advice or immediate contact give us a call at (661) 295-9946.

West Ranch High School

Title: West Ranch High School
Location: 26255 Valencia Blvd.
Link out: Click here
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2013-12-05
End Time: 20:30

West Ranch High School

Title: West Ranch High School
Location: 26255 Valencia Blvd.
Link out: Click here
Start Time: 18:30
Date: 2013-12-03
End Time: 20:00

Crescenta Valley HS PTSA

Title: Crescenta Valley HS PTSA
Location: 2900 Community Avenue La Crescenta-Montrose, CA 91214
Link out: Click here
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2013-11-14
End Time: 20:00

Avery Library @ Cal-Tech

Title: Avery Library @ Cal-Tech
Location: Cal-Tech Campus
Link out: Click here
Start Time: 12:00
Date: 2013-11-21
End Time: 13:00

Rio Mesa High School

Title: Rio Mesa High School
Location: Oxnard, CA
Link out: Click here
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2013-11-20
End Time: 19:30

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