Originally Posted by longway2go
Hi, I am 43 married with one smart teenager at home. When I say smart I mean he is in his second year of high school taking tough courses and has a 4.6 GPA. I hoping that will help with paying for college.
Welcome to the forum! Here's a small lesson concerning paying for college that I've gone through....
My experience indicates that a kid with excellent grades wants to go to a mainstream school, smarts alone won't get you money to pay for college*. There are special programs that offer scholarships, but the kids that win those are kids with "helicopter parents", doing community service and all kinds of amazing do-gooder things on their "brag sheet" from when they were old enough to walk. Occasionally, though, a less prestigious school offer academic scholarships to increase their average SAT score or align their racial makeup. And athletic scholarships are common, but only the really best athletes get those. If "all" of your savings is in retirement accounts, student financial aid could come to the rescue; expected family contribution is based on income and assets**.
So as you plan, I'd say count on some other way fund college.
* DD1 got nothing but A's and took every honors and AP course she could get, but no academic scholarship since she picked an internationally recognized private university. DD2 got a B or two, took every honors and AP course she could get, but no academic scholarship since she went to the hardest to get into state university.
** Very roughly, EFC is calculated by adding up your 'available from income' (income less federal taxes, less SS, and less $25k) plus 'available from assets' (non-retirement assets less $50k times 0.12). Then EFC is $8K plus 0.47 times the total available from both income and assets that exceeds $30K. Oh, and 25% of any money in the kid's name is added to the EFC.