College Financial Planning Tools
and Student Loan, GPA, and Tuition Calculators

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Welcome to the College Financial Planning Tools section at

The college financial planning tools and calculators in this section are dedicated to helping you plan and save for your child's future college education, as well as to help you calculate student loan payback, the opportunity costs of a college education, GPA, and more.

The ultimate goal of this online calculator section is to help you to think outside the box when it comes to choosing, planning, paying for, and paying off college.

Since there are few profits to be made selling you on minimizing the opportunity costs of college, or selling you on getting the most valuable education at the least cost, these will be the central themes discussed on the individual calculator pages within the college financial planning tools section.

I hope you will find the college financial planning tools and calculators in this section to be one of the few trustworthy resources for helping you to plan and manage your education dollars for the greatest financial and emotional returns.

To set the tone for what you will find on the calculator pages in this section, let's discuss a couple of pet peeves of mine that are related to selling parents and their kids on the importance of college.

Making Critical Life Decisions Before Being Qualified to Do So

Scientific studies have shown that the typical young adult is not capable of making wise decisions until they reach the age of 25. Yet we as a society demand these young adults decide what their lifelong livelihoods will be at age 18 or 19 -- before they've had a chance to experience the real world on their own.

Worse yet, these young adults are not afforded the opportunity to actually work in the field they choose until they have spent 4-6 years of their time and tens of thousands of dollars studying it.

In my opinion, internships (volunteering) in a chosen field should be a prerequisite to enrolling in college to study the chosen field. At least that way students would know first-hand whether or not they would actually enjoy working in the profession in the real world -- before spending so much time and money studying it.

Sure, everyone wants to earn what a surgeon earns. But give a young adult the chance to accompany a surgeon when that surgeon has to tell a family that their loved one just died, and the surgeon's coveted income-level might lose some of its appeal. This type of real world wake-up call could be applied to nearly every field of study. After all, studying a field and working in it are two totally different things.

Do College Graduates Really Earn More?

Well, that depends on three things:

  1. How much credibility you give to findings that report college graduates earn $1,000,000 more than non-grads over the course of their working lifetimes.
  2. Whether or not you factor in the opportunity costs of attending college.
  3. Whether or not you factor in the net-effects of higher tax brackets.

Now I'm certainly not suggesting that attending college is a waste of money. What I'm attempting to point out is that studies can easily be manipulated to find in favor of the researcher.

For example, considering "college graduates" includes multi-billionaires who graduated from college, it only takes a few multi-billionaires to make up the million dollar income difference between grads and non-grads.

Furthermore, while it may be true that college graduates earn a million dollars more in income than non-grads, how much of that million dollars is eaten up by a combination of higher marginal tax brackets and the opportunity costs of attending college?

For starters, if earning a million dollars more puts a college graduate into a 25% tax bracket versus a 15% tax bracket of a non-graduate, that means that at least $100,000 of the additional income will be going to just to pay the extra income taxes.

And finally, what if a young adult skipped college and instead invested the $100,000 in college costs and student loan interest, along with the 4-6 years of full-time wages they could have earned? Even figuring lost wages at $60,000 ($15,000 per year), if the non-graduate earned just 5% on their $160,000 investment, by the time the non-graduate reached age 65 their not-for-college fund would have earned over 1.2 million dollars in interest.

And sure, the billionaire-weighted college grads could invest the income difference, but that difference may actually be much less than a million due to higher tax brackets and student loan repayments.

The Most Important Question

No matter how much credibility you give to the findings that college graduates earn a million dollars more than non-graduates, a question that can't be answered by the study is ...

How many college graduates truly love their work?

All too often young adults end up choosing a field of study based on the wrong reasons. Reasons such as ...

  1. Because of the earning potential of the chosen field.
  2. Because of the high demand for workers in the chosen field.
  3. Because the chosen field has the easiest curriculum.
  4. Because the chosen field is predetermined by the parents.

In my experience, even if a student breezes through an easy, parent-prescribed curriculum and gets hired right out of college in a job that pays an enviable income, none of that really matters if the college graduate spends the next 40-years hating in their work.

In my case, once I finally experienced the joy of earning a living performing a work I love and believe in, I began encouraging my children to discover a work they love -- a work well-suited to their talents, abilities, genuine interests, values and personality traits.

If it turns out that the work they discover they love requires a college degree, then yes, enroll in college. Otherwise, if the work doesn't require a college degree, then they can probably get the training they need without experiencing all of the opportunity costs that come with getting a college degree.

Again, I'm not trying to discourage anyone from attending college. My only point here is to encourage you to think for yourself instead of relying on self-serving education sellers to do your thinking for you.

Below are the current basic college financial planning tools and college money management calculators contained in this section, all of which are dedicated to helping you to increase the emotional returns from your college education dollars.

Current College Financial Planning Tools

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College Fund Calculator to Calculate a College Saving Plan for 1 Child
This free online college calculator will help you to create a college saving plan that anticipates the rising cost of college tuition -- as well as other educational expenses -- due to the inflation that is expected to occur between now and when your child graduates high school. Also includes an explanation as to why "Financial Planning for College Involves More Than Saving Money".

College GPA Calculator to Calculate All Aspects of Grade Point Average
This free online grade point average calculator will calculate your present and cumulative GPA for any number of classes and grading periods (semesters or quarters), plus tell you how many credit hours and at what GPA you will need to earn in the future in order to raise your GPA to your goal average. Plus, the calculator also has a feature for calculating your Major GPA separate from your Overall GPA, a printer friendly report feature, and a built-in tool for converting between semester and quarter hours. The page also includes all of the GPA formulas used by the calculator.

College Planning Calculator to Calculate a College Savings Plan for Up to 6 Kids
This free online college calculator will help you to formulate a college funding plan for all of your children at one time (maximum of 6 kids). Includes a year-by-year forecast of the inflated annual cost for each child, as well as a combined year-by-year saving, income, and expense summary.

Student Loan Repayment Calculator for Up to 24 Separate Loans
This calculator will help you to forecast the financial consequences of all of your combined educational borrowing. It will accept loan entries for up to 24 different student loans (up to 4 loans per year for up to 6 years), and will accommodate all types of loans: Subsidized, Unsubsidized, PLUS, and Private. The calculator also allows you to defer payments, capitalize interest, and make more than the minimum payments. Also includes a printer friendly report (combined or separate) and brief discussions about Overcoming Student Loan Complexities, Subsidized Vs. Unsubsidized Loans, and Simplified Types of Student Loans.

Future College Financial Planning Tools

The following is a list of college financial planning tools and calculators that I plan to add to this section as I have time. I'm basically adding college financial planning tools and student money management calculators to in the order from highest demand to lowest demand, so if you see any calculator in the following list you want me to put on the high priority list, please let me know. Or, if you desire a college calculator that is not on the list of planned calculators, please let me know so I can add it to my list.

  • College Cost Estimator
  • College Tuition Calculator
  • Student Loan Debt Consolidation Calculator
  • Student Loan Payback Calculator

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