Question: How do we strategically allocate our finances to minimize our EFC in the next four years? With the EFC calculations taking the majority of student accounts and parent investment savings, it appears wise to drain the student savings of our four kids in the next four years. It would also appear that we should allocate our personal savings and investments toward the principal of our home loan, rather than make them available for calculation as "savings." Thank you for your time and this resource!
You really need to talk to a financial advisor, not to an Internet "Dean." Certainly having money in your children's names will boost an EFC since their dough goes to the "bottom line" faster than parental savings do. However, having a big mortgage can work in your favor as well, so I'm not sure that paying off your house is the wisest strategy either. If you were thinking about spending some of those assets on your house (e.g., adding an extra bathroom or two as those four kids start spending more time in front of the mirror;) ), then that might be money you'd get back eventually (when you sell your home) but which wouldn't show up in an EFC calculation.