I have a son who is a Junior in high school and I'm trying to get some finances in order within the next week, since my understanding is that FAFSA uses finances beginning in January of the student's junior year.
I have a 529 account set up for him and we have already been putting funds in there for him. He doesn't have much in any regular savings account - probably less than $250, so I think we're okay there. What I'd like to know is how much of my own savings account is taken into consideration and if there is something I should do to "hide" some money. We've heard that it is a good idea to take a portion of the parents' savings account and do something with it. Is this true?
I just received a year-end bonus of $17,000 so I'm looking for advice on what to do with it for FAFSA (EFC?) purposes. I will put a few thousand into the 529 (probably $3,000). We're also considering paying off a car ($3500) and making a home improvement or two for another $3-$5,000. Are we doing the right thing? SHould parents really do whatever is possible to lower their own savings (maintaining a comfortable level for emergencies, living expenses, etc...) ?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated for our first college planning experience!