Three tools that can help families slash college costs



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Three tools that can help families slash college costs (

Everyone knows that college is outrageously expensive. However, there are various tools that parents and students can use to help cut down costs, and Lynn O'Shaughnessy rounded up three of them:

  1. "College Completion" is a mini-website that helps prospective students find schools with the best graduation rates. Taking extra semesters to graduate is one way students rack up unnecessary costs.
  2. The "Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculator" on the College Board's website can help families determine whether financial aid is a possibility, and what schools to aim for.
  3. The federal government requires schools to post net price calculators on their websites. They provide families with personalized estimates of what a given school will cost after scholarships and grants are subtracted.

Most college students run out of money during at least one semester (FA Magazine)

64.5% of undergraduate students who responded to Edvisors' "2016 Running on Empty - Mid-term Finance Survey" reported that they had run out of money before the end of a semester at some point in college, writes Jerilyn Klein Bier.


Respondents cited various reasons for money troubles, including unanticipated expenses (51.0%), not enough financial aid (49.4%), high textbook costs (49.0%), the fact that college is too expensive (48.6%), and changes in their own financial circumstances (42.4%) or those of their parents (30.9%).

Three big risks for the stock market rebound (Charles Schwab)

"Since the start of November the global stock market has been retracing the pattern seen in the second half of last year. That pattern suggests an end to the rally, but there are reasons to believe it may not be over yet," argues Jeffrey Kleintop. "Key differences between the current rally and the one that failed last fall are support from a weaker dollar compared to emerging market currencies, increasing commodity prices, and better-than-expected economic data in some countries."

As such, Kleintop argues the three big risks to the current rally are a return to a strong dollar, a return to weakness in oil and commodity prices, and a return to disappointing economic data.

RIA deals hit record highs last year (Financial Planning)


"Transaction volume for mergers and acquisitions of independent advisory firms in 2015 reached a 10-year high of 84 deals, up 56% from 2014 and 127% from 2006," reports Charles Paikert, citing Charles Schwab's Advisor Services Deal Data report.

Moreover, the average transaction size in 2015 was $1.3 billion, up 53% from the previous year, and this was the largest average since 2009. Additionally, the total annual deal value increased by 143% to $115.4 billion, up from $47.4 billion the year before.

A robo advisor is partnering with IBM Watson (InvestmentNews)

New York-based robo advisor Marstone will be working together with IBM Watson to offer digital advice supported by cognitive computing. Marstone will be the only robo on the market to be part of "IBM's ecosystem, which has a financial services-focused division called IBM Watson for Wealth Management," reports Alessandra Malito.