Software and student loan advice provider Edmit has partnered with insurance broker and consultant firm NFP to provide families with access to college financial planning.
The partnership offers NFP clients access to Edmit’s advisers and online tools, including Edmit Plus, and looks to assist those families new to the college search process by determining best value and return on investment (ROI), and understanding how to pay for tuition via scholarships, financial aid, student loans and work study.
“Edmit was founded because college is one of the biggest financial decisions we make in our lives, but it’s hard to get advice on how to do that,” Sabrina Manville, cofounder of Edmit, tells PLANSPONSOR.
Edmit works with families to go through the different options before selecting a school of choice. This includes considering student loans, calculating cost and scholarship estimates, and learning about resources to pay for college, according to Manville. Other offerings include personalized advice and estimates on the affordability for each school. Clients of NFP will receive a special pricing for the benefit, which will be based on employer size, according to Manville.
The objectives of the new partnership align with a recent study by Fidelity Investments, which found that 47% of Americans advise future college students to do more research on saving, scholarships and grants to decrease out-of-pocket cost. Other recommendations include saving as early as possible for college (37%), understanding the financial toll of borrowing student loans (34%), and acquiring as little debt as possible (34%). The “College Savings: Lessons Learned” study also highlights the importance of a 529 savings account; only 17% in the study had opened one before attending college.
When asked how they went about affording higher education, 41% of respondents say they had to cut back on other expenses; 38% went back to work or acquired a second job; and 29% lived at home and commuted instead of living in a dormitory. A small number of others packed more classes in their semesters to graduate earlier (13%) and some took online courses for class credit (17%).
Another factor when planning for college is the importance of communicating as a family. The study finds that for many respondents, family conversations surrounding college funding remain taboo. Only one in four participants suggest discussing these finances with parents and family early on in the college planning process. Fidelity Investments recommends families speak to an adviser or create a plan of their own.
The Edmit and NFP partnership hopes to work with those families cautious to discuss their college planning finances. The college planning process—minus the finances—is stressful enough, says Manville. Discussing options opens employees up to their own financial situation, while understanding the best choices and goal targets for them.
“We’ve seen stories of how expensive college is and how difficult college is,” says Manville. “So we work with families as they’re thinking about where to go to college, and find a college where they can take the right loans for the right school.”