Twas The Night Before FAFSA

Twas the night before FAFSA

And all through the nation

Parents were sweating bullets

Over the cost of higher education


“These forms are so annoying!”

One poor father cried

As he sat shuffling papers

While a part of him died


“Honey, what’s the big deal?”

The mother inquired

“Our daughter deserves the best

Even if you can never retire!”


“I’m all for a great college”

The father practically sobbed

“But I won’t pay for rock climbing or safe spaces

Unless they help her get a job”


The mom stopped and stared

And gave dad the stink-eye

So he turned back to his FAFSA

With a shrug and a sigh


But he couldn’t let it go

Because in his assessment

College is a big rip off

With no return on investment


“Does she even have to go?”

He wondered to himself

“Why can’t she just read a few books

On any library bookshelf?”


Lost in his thoughts

He became more dismayed

Because he knew even Ivy League grads

Don’t have it made in the shade


But he knew better than to argue

He didn’t want to bicker

Even as he realized

He’d pay a quarter mill for a dumb rear window sticker


He snapped out of his fog

And turned back to see

If he filed his FAFSA

Whether he’d get a good EFC


“They want me to pay WHAT?”

The dad went ballistic

“What orifice should I pull that from?

How can they be so unrealistic?”


“I played by the rules

I saved how I was advised

I lived below my means

But now I’m being penalized!”


On that cold winter’s night

He entered his own private hell

Because “winging it” in college planning

Almost never ends well


But suddenly, he remembered

A tip from a college guy

He corrected his FAFSA

Giving it the old College Try


This time, the result was different!

The dad was MUCH less stressed

Now he could afford to send his daughter

Where she could study, party and protest!


Which change did he make

What kind of damage control?

He remembered a strategy

A little-known loophole


Financial aid rules are wacky

The regulations are obscene

They go on for more than 1,100 pages

And they’re punitive and Byzantine


But sometimes a family

With a little planning and luck

Can level the playing field

So they don’t end up getting…hosed


Thankfully, all ended well

For this mom, dad and student

And we can all agree

That failing to plan for college is imprudent


FAFSA Corrections, IDOCs And OCA’s (Other Confusing Acronyms)

We’re *ss-deep in FAFSAs and CSS Profiles around here but I wanted to issue a public service announcement to clients and non-clients alike.

FAFSA “Corrections:”  Financial aid applicants can receive notices of “correction” for many reasons.  One of the most annoying/misleading occurs when you apply to more than 10 schools.

Listen up, hear me now and believe me later:  FAFSA takes 10 colleges in one “batch.”  If you have 12 colleges on your list, the procedure should be to file the first 10, then wait two-three days for FAFSA to process.  THEN, go back into FAFSA, delete two colleges, ADD the missing two and resend.


This addition is a “correction” in FAFSA speak, nothing more.  Remain calm.

CSS Profile IDOC: Here’s what’s up with IDOC.  After you file a CSS Profile, you will likely receive a notice from the good folks at the College Board that they need your tax returns, W-2’s, etc.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE – use IDOC to upload your info, follow the directions, they’re easy and not a scam either 🙂

Bonus “Fun” 

Don’t wait until the last minute to file anything.  There have been issues with the CSS Profile website, seemingly due to high volume and, I suspect, a hasty redesign of their site for this season.  Here’s a comforting “Alert” that Pearl’s been seeing intermittently for the last few days when she attempts to file our clients’ CSS Profiles:

If you’re interested in our help with your financial aid forms, here’s where to go:

Financial Aid Warrior Forms Prep Service

We are not accepting November 1 deadlines, fyi – just sayin’ 🙂

Speak soon,

– Andy “Financial Aid Scoop” Lockwood

P.S. If you have questions about our forms prep or other services, email us at or call 516-882-5464

Don’t Be SPOOKED By The High Cost Of College!

Good eeeeeeve-a-ning……

Quick question:

Are you starring in your own horror movie?

If the financial aid process makes you feel like you’re starring in your own horror movie..

…You know, where everyone in the theater knows what’s going to happen – the actor is about to “get it”when she finds herself in a basement, attic or other abandoned site…

….and hesitantly, stupidly, walks toward some creepy noise (instead of getting the heck outta there!)….

…then pauses, deciding what to do, only to inexplicably open the dark, creaky door, then…


She comes face to face with the monster!

Are YOU that actor?

Financial aid season is here, and the monster is the criminally insane price of college!

But you have one, last chance…we can rescue you from certain doom!

On Monday night (not day, we have to avoid direct sunlight), the little Countess and I are running a new webinar, 21 Deadly Financial Aid Mistakes That Can SLAUGHTER Your Chances Of Getting What You Need – And Deserve!

There’s so much at, ahem, STAKE, you don’t want to miss it!

On this presentation, you will unearth the dark magical secrets of how to:

  • Qualify for every last dollar of financial aid you’re entitled to
  • Avoid ghastly, money-sucking mistakes BURIED in the financial aid forms that could slaughter your chances of receiving the award you deserve
  • Adhere to every DEADline the creepy folks in the financial aid office torture you with
  • Actually RELAX and take a deep breath (remember what that feels like?) during this incredibly high pressure – high stakes – moment in your and your family’s precarious lives!

Don’t let the FAFSA, CSS Profile, financial aid office and monstrously overpriced, rip-off colleges do unspeakably horrible things to you –  register for Monday night’s free webinar:

All of the gruesome details, time, location, what to wear (please don’t conceal your neck), etc. are on that registration page.

Please invite some other victims, um, “friends,” who could use this information.

See you on “The Other Side”

Count Andrew FAFSALA Von Lockwuud

Undead College Planner

P.S.  I know, this email was a smidge goofy.  But Pearl and I are GRAVELY serious about helping families avoid staggering student loans (currently $1.4 Trillion with defaults constantly rising), a Zombie-like economy where 50% of college gradutates don’t have jobs TWO YEARS post-graduation.  Not to mention all the parents who sacrifice their retirements and mortgage their financial future up to the eyeballs just to pay for college.

Avoid these horrible fates – enroll today before it’s too late!


P.P.S.  Bwah ha hahahahahaha!!!!!

How To Get Your Act Together For College

Financial aid, scholarships, application and essay tips you won't hear at your HS "College Night"

andy college shirt pearl red patterned shirt

Over the years, we’ve heard some of the STUPIDEST things from guidance counselors.

  • Don’t submit a resume, it’s too “braggy” and you’ll make the admissions officer feel badly
  • Stick with [State University], it’s the best you can do
  • You won’t get any money for college, it’s a waste of time to apply (but you should still sit through an excruciating line by line 90-minute presentation in our cafeteria on the FAFSA!)

Look, I actually like most guidance counselors, especially the ones who care and admit that “they don’t know what they don’t know.”

But you’re the one about to send your kiddo to college, and you need answers.

Answers to questions like,

How do I even apply for financial aid?

Should I bother, I own a home, have a job and pay my bills?

I’ve heard how easy it is to screw up the forms, how do I avoid checking the wrong box or messing up something else?

Is it true that there are “loopholes” that can help me qualify for more financial aid?  I don’t care how sleazy or illegal they are, I can’t pay $65,000 per year per kid!

That’s why we’re hosting a brand-new, free presentation for parents of Class of 2018 and younger,  How To Get Your Act Together For College.


We’re going to cover a bunch of checklist items for financial aid, scholarships, applications, essays, college visits, interviews, even how to handle your guidance counselor.

(We will NOT be discussing any sleazy or illegal tips.)

(I save the “good stuff” for actual clients! 🙂

This is the first time we’re sharing information like this, to be utterly candid.  As in, I have no idea how things will go.

Especially because we’ll be running chat, live, which means that you’ll get to fire away your questions!

It all happens tonight – Thursday night!

You’d be smart to tune in tonight before the school year picks up momentum and you learn that you don’t have time for anything!

Please forward this email invitation to any family who feels like they’re behind the College Eight Ball – while there’s still time! 🙂

See you tonight!

Andy “Despised By Guidance Counselors” Lockwood

P.S. This presentation is definitely NOT going to be the “same old same old” as you’ll hear this Fall at one of those high school College Nights.  Pearl and I are 100% independent, we don’t answer to any administration or district, which is why you’ll hear a lot of non politically-correct opinion and pointers.  (Consider yourself warned! 🙂


How To Pay For College If “She” Is Elected

Hi ho, fellow citizen!

I was just chatting with my friends Anderson Cooper (“Coop,” to his friends), Wolf Blitzer (“Blitz”) and Megyn Kelly (“K-Money”) about the upcoming election and they made an interesting point:

“Who cares?”

I mean, really, if you’re concerned with paying for college, or getting into college, it doesn’t really matter who the president is to you or 99% of the families I know.

Hillary won’t make college free for anyone, because Congress won’t allow it.

I have no idea The Donald’s thoughts on college are, if he even has them.

My point?  There is only one person who can affect how much you pay for college.

(No, it’s not me. Did you think I was going “there?”)

Here’s a hint:  it’s the guy/gal staring back at you when you brush your teeth in the morning.

Yes, Y-O-U!

Your best bet is to arm yourself with powerful insider strategies about the legal “loopholes” that, if taken advantage of, can help you qualify for more grants and scholarships than you thought possible.

You also need to stay away from deadly, eligibility-sabotaging “landmines” that can rob you of the financial aid you deserve – and need – to send your kids to their top choice colleges!

Don’t rely on empty campaign promises to take care of your college woes – take matters into your own hands!

Make it a point to come to one of our workshops this Wednesday or Thursday – assuming the world doesn’t end by then –  to learn how you can slash college costs, even if you think you make too much or cannot possibly qualify!

I’m conducting free workshops in Garden City Park on Wednesday, November 9th and Northport on Thursday, November 10th.  Here are all the registration details directly from me (not via WikiLeak, the Russians or an Anthony Weiner text):


If you have a Class of 2018 child, and are stressed out and uptight about how you’ll possibly afford the high cost of college, here is what you will discover:

  • How to legally hide your money from the financial aid office so that even James Comey won’t investigate you
  • The Art Of The College Deal – how to negotiate a ‘Yuge’ improvement over your initial, lousy financial aid award without resorting to name calling or groping the dean
  • How to shamelessly use a non-profit’s endowment, instead of your own money, to pay tuition
  • Why the suggestion your CPA gave you about where to save could go down in history as the worst bit of advice since “Don’t worry about it, just delete those emails – no-one will never know!”
  • Your questions! (Bring ‘em on!)

You can register here. Please bring a friend or two who is uptight and stressed about paying for college. As long as we have room, they’re welcome to come and they’ll love you forever for thinking of them!

See ya!

-Andy “The Unelectable” Lockwood

P.S.  So I wasn’t REALLY hangin’ with Coop, Blitz or K-Money.  But I’ve been seeing so much of them on TV in my family room lately sometimes it’s hard to remember that we’re not actually “friends.”

If you come to one our workshops this week, you’ll get so much valuable, free information about how to qualify for gi-normous college discounts that you’ll probably think of me as your new bestie!

(I’m available!)

Fact Checking High School “College Night”

Have you been to your high school’s annual College Night meeting yet?

Pearl went last night pre-debate (and pre rant), and is going to report on her experience today on College Talk Tuesday, [12:00]-[12:30] ET.

Spoiler alert – she was not too surprised at what was said…

But she was shocked by what was NOT said!

She’ll share her thoughts today.


We are hosting our own Virtual College Night this Thursday on College Success For Less, live and barely scripted!  You’ll have the chance to ask us your questions about financial aid.

We’ll rerun the recording throughout the weekend too (sign up for both live and recorded.)

Note: This will be your last chance for a deep dive on the financial aid and college planning process before the FAFSA is released October 1st.

Please pass this information along to other parents!

Andy “Just The Facts” Lockwood

Financial aid, college admissions “Crunch Time!”

Last minute college planning, financial aid, scholarships tips for college-bound teens

Hi there

We’re headed into the home stretch for seniors, between struggling with college applications, essays, regular homework, teacher recommendations and those “Back To School” nights…

…Not to mention the official October 1 opening of Financial Aid Season, when the FAFSA and CSS Profile come out (less than two weeks!).

That’s why stress levels for Class of 2017 kids and parents these days are as high as Snoop Dogg!

(Note:  I thought about substituting “Gary Johnson” but went with Snoop Dogg instead.  Each made me giggle.)

Permit me to throw out three quickie, important tips:

  1. Trust your recommenders, guidance counselors to do their jobs – writing up your letters, sending your transcripts to EVERY college…but VERIFY.  A little paranoia goes a long way.

  2. Get a handle on your financial aid deadlines – they vary by school!  Look ‘em up on each college’s website.

  3. Also get a handle on WHICH FORMS each college requires, some want only the FAFSA, others want the CSS Profile also (NOT “in lieu of” the FAFSA, in addition to), still others have their own or additional forms

Failure to do any or all of the above could result in needlessly shooting yourself in the foot re: getting into your top choice colleges,  or getting the grants, scholarships and other financial aid you otherwise deserve!

Here’s a list of upcoming events that we’re holding to help you cope, whether you’re Class of 2017, 2018 or younger.

Please forward this notice around to any/all parents who could use it!!!

Speak soon,

-Andy “Crunch Time” Lockwood

The Strangest Financial Aid Secret

Free webinar discloses a treasure trove of tips to help you maximize your financial aid and scholarships award

Parents in the “Forgotten Middle Class” category, who think that financial aid isn’t for them, will be pretty, pretty surprised at what we’re going to discuss tonight, in our webinar (replay available to all registrants).

>>>>>>>>>7 Tuition Discounting Secrets

I’ll resist the teaser and “spoil” the ending, there is a TON of scholarships and other financial aid out there, specifically for six-figure earning families…

…who know where to look for them and have a strategy to find them!

If you’re scratching your head, wondering, “What in tarnation is this guy talking about?” (Hah, read your mind, right?), Pearl and I will explain the specific steps you must take to get hold of your share, promise.

Topics to be covered include:

  • 5 “land mines” in the financial aid process that can decimate any shot you have at meaningful financial aid – and how to avoid them

  • Four “loopholes”that can triple your eligibility for grants and scholarships that are hidden in plain sight

  • The inconvenient truth about scholarship websites and what to do about it

  • How to force a financial aid office to give you an extra $30,022 after their “final” award…even if you don’t possess compromising photos of your financial aid officer

  • The counterintuitive reason why a high “sticker price” college can cost LESS than a “cheaper” state university

  • The mysterious reason why colleges prefer to give their money to the upper middle class

  • More, including your questions (we’ve already gotten a bunch of questions and typically get a ton more in chat!)

Please pass this invite along to as many people you know who need this info!

Speak soon,

-Andy Lockwood

P.S.  Yes, there will be a replay, available to watch over the weekend.  Sign up tonight, we’ll send a link for the recording after we wrap up live.

Declare Your Independence From The Overpriced, Rip Off Colleges

Arm yourself with insider knowledge on how to multiply your eligibility for financial aid and scholarships

This is completely unusual for us  – you can get our Instant College Funding System for 50% off right now AND a big fat bonus:  a personal review/critique of your financial aid forms…

…so we can catch any glaring, money-losing errors BEFORE the financial aid office does!

The “sticker price” on this system is $497- so you’re getting everything at a tiny fraction of that price (a measly $248.50!).

Check out this page where I explain everything  – including our unconditional, no hassles satisfacton guarantee.  Enter the coupon code ‘1776’ (no quotes) for the discount.

Why are we doing this goofy “Independence Week” sale?

Two hundred-plus years ago the Founders rose up against unfair, oppressive tyranny revolving around taxation without representation. In other words, they were getting ripped off.

Today’s “Forgotten Middle Class” families are facing a new tyranny: overpriced, rip-off colleges charging us up the wazoo for an education, the value of which is highly questionable, to say the least.

  • Student debt passed the $1.4 Trillion mark

  • Defaults are at least 20%

  • Student debt is the prime reason cited by college grads why they’re not starting a business or buying a home

  • 50% of recent college grads don’t have a job that requires a college degree!

I could go on and on with this declaration, but you get the point.  The deck is stacked against you, so now we’re doing something about it like Paul Revere riding through Boston, shouting his famous warning, whatever he actually said!

The other reason is that feedback from our initial “beta” group of customers has been flat out amazing, so I wanted to give you the same opportunity!

So…I am going to bend over backwards to get the Instant College Funding System into your hands…to the tune of 50% off.

ICF includes an incredibly easy to use, fun to watch series of lessons, checklists and other materials  on how to quickly, easily and accurately file your financial aid forms so you don’t lose out on financial aid because of a dumb mistake.

Even seemingly harmless, little errors can result in the lost of thousands – even TENS of thousands – of dollars of financial aid you otherwise deserved.   (I’m talking about mistakes of commission AND mistakes of omission!)

More importantly, you’ll see exactly where the specific money-sucking “landmines” lurk that you’ll need to avoid if you want to get the most $$ you’re entitled to.

Plus it covers what to do if you got “hosed” by the financial aid office, ‘cause it ain’t over until it’s over!  I’ll train you how to negotiate with the financial aid office so you can squeeze a few extra bucks out of them after their “final” offer!

And there’s more – the ICF system includes grant and scholarship-enhancing sneaky (but legal!) strategies to MULTIPLY your eligibility

…whether you’re a “Last Minute Louie” with deadlines looming (I know it’s summer, but FAFSA comes out in less than four months!) , or 1-2 years away from filing (you have a Junior or Sophomore).

You’ll never get this info from your guidance counselor, accountant or any book.  No way.

You’ll never get this info for a price this low, either.

30 Day Guarantee

There’s no risk to you, in the least, because this product is covered by a 30 day, no questions asked, 100% satisfaction guarantee. You’ll see it on the description page.

But you must act now – I’m increasing the price back to $497 because feedback from past customers has made it crystal clear what incredible value we’re providing.

The HALF OFF sale ends midnight Saturday June 9th.

Go here to find out more.

*Enter the coupon code ‘1776’ (no quotes) for the discount.*

Plus, when you enroll in Instant College Funding System before midnight on Saturday, you get 3 additional bonuses worth $841:

— Bonus #1: We will personally review your FAFSA, CSS Profile and any other financial aid forms BEFORE you file, to give ‘em the once over and catch any glaring mistakes or identify any overlooked opportunities to save $$.  Value:  $495

Letters That Worked – letters of appeal/negotiation sent to financial aid offices to improve initial, stingy offers, editable in MS Word.  Each produced more than $16,000 in improved offers. (Each, not total!)  Value:  $97

**This can be pretty doggone valuable: last year, we helped one of our beta customers get an extra $16,200 from Harvard – their initial offer was a goose egg!** This year we used the same techniques to goose an initial offer from Muhlenberg by $10,075.  Two years ago, we improved an offer from Emory by $38,579.  (Each figure is for ONE year, fyi).

Note from the Legal Department (me): Obviously I cannot promise or imply that you’ll get similar results, but don’t you agree how this unconditionally guaranteed, trial offer is a no-brainer for any reasonable person?)

— Bonus #3 –

Fast Start Consultation – for the first 12 to enroll, complimentary phone consultation to ensure that you’re going down the right path with ICF and using it in the most time-efficient manner possible for your personal circumstances.  Value:  $249

Any of these bonuses could create a windfall for you that far exceeds the miniscule price you’d lay out to grab your membership today.  Think about it, any one little smidge of the advice contained in these 29-odd lessons could save you $2,000, $10,000 or even $20,000 – per YEAR – per kid!

All told, with your special discount, you’re saving 50% off the “sticker price” for the Instant College Funding System!

This is how you can make the smartest possible investment in your future…and your college-bound teens’ futures….for a teensy  fraction of the sticker price. 🙂

Which means that you could comfortably afford to send your deserving teen to her “dream” school, the one she worked so hard to get into!

My private consulting clients pay $2,500-8,500 for much of the advice contained in ICF.  Today, you can “steal” the same information for pennies on the dollar.

Here’s your link you need to get going with the Instant College Funding System, and in just seconds, you’ll be inside, learning all of our college cost-busting, secret  tools!


Enter the coupon code ‘1776’ (no quotes) for the discount.

Talk soon,

Andy Lockwood

PS – This BIG TIME sale ends at midnight on Saturday, July 9th!

To get your discount, just go here, don’t forget the code ‘1776’ to get 50% off.

P.P.S.  I know this sounds hypey, but the truth is self evident – whether you have a rising Senior, Junior or younger, the Instant College Funding System could change you and your child’s life.

10 Financial Aid Strategies For Families Who Think They Can’t Qualify

Scholarship, financial aid, FAFSA "loopholes" and "landmines"

Many “Forgotten Middle Class” families have no idea how the college financial aid process works.  They needlessly leave thousands – or tens of thousands – of dollars on the table each year in terms of lost eligibility for grants and scholarships that they could have qualified for. This article highlights 10 little known facts about college funding so that you can qualify for the maximum available to your family.

  1. Some types of savings penalize you more than others.  Strangely, the advice you may have received from your accountant or “financial guy” about where to save may actually have sabotaged your chances of qualifying. Many families discover, after it’s too late, that they should not have saved money in their children’s names, for example.
  2. Some types of savings are entirely exempt.  Each year, I personally learn of scores of families who shot themselves in the foot by disclosing assets on the financial aid forms that should not have been disclosed.  Example:  retirement accounts do not fall under the definition of “investment” for purposes of the FAFSA (one of the two main financial aid forms) and should not be listed, or you will lose eligibility for grants and some scholarships.
  3. Colleges negotiate.  Although they are technically non-profit institutions of higher education, colleges are very much in business. (Ever look at the amenities they offer their students? Rock climbing walls?  Lazy rivers? C’mon!). Therefore, they do not always give their “highest and best” offer when they issue financial aid.  You might be able to get them to increase their offer, especially if you have other offers from competitor colleges.
  4. Expensive private colleges could actually cost less than so-called “cheaper” public universities.  I know, I know, this is counter-intuitive.  But private colleges give more because they have more – endowment funds.  Public colleges generally rely on their respective state governments and the federal government for their scholarship and grant awards, so they have less to give because budgets have been cut across the board.
  5. At any given college, roughly 25% pay full price.  The technical term for this group is “Suckers!”  Most of the families at any given school receive aid.  As a highly paid professional college consultant I recommend you try to get into the 75% group! 🙂
  6. Private colleges “bribe” kids they want to attend.  According to the National Association of Collegiate Business Officers, the average discount is 46.3%.  Average!  
  7. Rank is easily manipulated.  There have been numerous shocking stories over the years about how colleges manufactured their high rank in US News and World Report, by both legal and illegal means!  Google “Emory ranking scandal” or “How Northeastern gamed the rankings” if you have a strong stomach.  Either way, do not apply only to high ranked, “Rear Window Sticker” schools because you assume that they are somehow better.
  8. The college financial aid rules change all the time. In September, the Department of Education revised their regulations. Starting in 2017, a family filling out the FAFSA must provide two years’ worth of income tax information, compared to only one under the current system.  The department made other important changes relating to filing date and whether other colleges can see where you are applying
  9. 53% of eligible families do not apply.  I have seen that statistic for years, but never a solid source.  (Other than the Internet of course!) Nonetheless, I believe it to be basically true, because most six-figure earning families that I consult with are stunned that they can receive anything!  Everyone should apply for financial aid, even if their neighbor or know-it-all sister in law (the one whose daughter is ED’ing to Penn) give you unsolicited advice to the contrary.  After all, did SHE write a best-selling book on financial aid?  Seriously, does she know how the financial aid rules work, how much you earn, what you have saved, etc.?
  10. The biggest mistake families commit is starting too late in the process.  By the time your child hits senior year of high school, many options that you had in 10th or 11th grade may no longer be available.  The college process is like a train, it leaves the station whether or not you are “ready.”  Start your college planning early!

Below is a webcast from earlier this year that gives more detail on how the whole system works!

I hope you found this post to be helpful.