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During the “Tackling College Costs” workshop presented by financial advising firm, Vuefolio, on the SAP Dublin campus during Parenting Week, Oindrila Ray presented on a variety of topics regarding college financial planning for parents.

I received some great takeaways from the session:

  1. Target saving for Flagship public colleges, like UC Berkeley, rather than Elite private schools because the acceptance rate at the Elite Private schools is low and you will likely be eligible for some financial aid from the school.
  2. The actual cost of college depends on
    1. Family Income, Number of children attending college at the same time,
    2. non-retirement assets
    3. financial aid available.
  3. Vuefolio recommends Direct 529 plans as the main savings vehicle for college savings. There are many ‘top-off’ options like home equity line of credit… they do not recommend that being the primary source of financial contribution.
  4. A variety of tips on navigating Financial Aid
    1. Non-retirement assets are considered available to fund college even if that is not your plan to use them.
    2. If you have multiple children attending college simultaneously, that changes the FI calculus.
  5. A somewhat sobering statistic was that in 2009, 90% of incoming freshmen to UCB were CA residents, in 2014, it was 65%.


Oindrila also shared that students at her child’s high school were not making it into UC Berkeley but were being offered spots at UC Merced because the top 10% of students at every high school are guaranteed a spot at a UC… just not necessarily their choice of UC. This has lead to many students to opt for out of state public or private schools, which provide some ‘merit’ aid.


Taking the information I learned in this workshop, I feel have a better understanding of the options I have for paying for college including how assets will be valued in financial aid calculations, adviser 529 plans and how to determine how much to save based on my children’s most likely college admissions.

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  1. Lauren Maser

    So glad you were able to attend this workshop, Steve! It’s great to hear that you have a better understanding of the options you have in paying for college education.

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