As the cost of college education continues to rise, parents can feel overwhelmed with financial planning. Thankfully, there are tools and strategies to lighten the burden. 

In this article, you’ll review ways to pay for college without debt, get updates on student loan forgiveness, and see how employers can help pay off college debt. But first off, we are excited to share the most comprehensive college planning resource you could possibly imagine…

Get A $300 College Planning Masterclass for Free

Ann Garcia, The College Financial Lady is a leading expert on college planning. She’s created a self-paced online class that covers all things college planning including:

  • Understanding the costs of college and creating a budget.
  • Completing the FAFSA and maximizing financial aid.
  • Finding and applying for scholarships.
  • Discover colleges that fit your child academically, financially, and socially.
  • Developing a spending plan that minimizes loans and maximizes free money.

If you’re a Crafted Finance client, we already paid your bill. You get access for FREE 

Email and ask for your Masterclass Activation Code.

Paying For College (Without Loans)

Paying for college is a thought that can put a knot in any parent's stomach. The costs can be absurd, and student loans have developed a notorious reputation over the years. For this reason, we wanted to provide you with information on how you can lessen the burden.

529 Plans

If you plan on putting kids through college, you need to start leveraging the power of a 529 account. These tax-advantaged accounts work wonders for higher learning costs, and recently, they’ve received additional legislative power buffs  

Things you should know about 529 accounts include:

  • Contribution “Limits”: Technically, each State determines the contribution limits for 529 accounts. The limits are super high (Mississippi and Georgia have the lowest limit set at $235,000 per beneficiary). However, for federal tax purposes, your contributions are seen as completed gifts. That means, in 2023, individuals can contribute up to $17,000 (or $34,000 for married couples) for each child without having to file a gift tax return. 
  • Superfunding: There’s a funding strategy for 529 accounts that enables individuals to make up to five years worth of contributions at once without exceeding their annual federal gift exclusion. It’s called Superfunding! In 2023, that means Hypothetical Grandpa could contribute up to $85,000 (i.e. $17,000 x 5) to help Little Avery get that diploma. 
  • 529 Plan Conversions: Starting next year in 2024, 529 accounts that have been open for 15+ years will be able to be rolled over into a Roth IRA for the account’s beneficiary. You’ll be able to transfer up to $35,000 into a Roth IRA account for your loved ones (spread over a number of years) if there is a balance left over in the 529 later on. ***Hot Tip: even if you’re not yet able to save regularly to a 529 plan, this 15 year clock is important to get started on when the kids are young. So consider opening a 529 account earlier and at least get a small balance going.***

At Crafted Finance, we can help you open 529 accounts for your kids at no cost to you (we don’t receive compensation for this service). Or we can point you to the 529 Plan that fits you best. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. 

Direct Tuition Payments

Direct tuition payments are a lesser known tool in the education funding toolbox. That’s a shame because it’s a pretty powerful one - especially for wealthier grandparents! If grandma and grandpa want to help put grandkids through college, they can save big time by making direct tuition payments.

By making tuition payments directly to the university, grandparents can avoid the generation-skipping transfer tax (GSTT) while simultaneously avoiding the use of any of their annual or lifetime estate and gift tax exclusions. Direct tuition payments also have no dollar limit, which means Grandma and Grandpa can also reduce their taxable estate by a notable amount with significant tuition payments. 

Keep in mind, however, this tool must be used for tuition payments. Sorry, but money gifted for other expenses such as books, school supplies, or room and board won’t be covered. It’s also worth mentioning that in 2024-2025, students who receive grandparent support are no longer penalized on the FAFSA. 


Many scholarship deadlines fall as early as a year before college enrollment begins. If the kids are currently in high school, it's in their best interest to start researching and applying for scholarships during the summer between their junior and senior years. 

Preparing along this timeframe will increase your chances of securing scholarship funds. That said, there are numerous scholarship programs out there. To help with your search, feel free to start exploring some of the following sites: 

What’s Going On With Student Loan Forgiveness?

Federal Student Loan Payments resume on June 30th, 2023. One of the only positives from the COVID 19 Pandemic was the suspension of payments and interest. Unfortunately, that is ending soon.

Not too long ago we provided a comprehensive breakdown of the Biden Administration’s student loan bill. Make sure to review it if you’re unfamiliar with the bill’s features and relief offerings. However, don’t thank the student loan forgiveness gods just yet. 

Since the bill was announced, two major lawsuits have popped up and have blocked the forgiveness of student loan debt for millions of Americans. The Supreme Court heard each case on February 28th of this year. However, it’s anticipated an official ruling won’t be made until June. 

Stay tuned!

How Employers Can Help With Student Debt

Starting next year, employers will be able to help their workers offset student loan payments with matching contributions to their retirement savings. For example, an employer could provide a 25% match that makes a $125 contribution to an employee's 401k when they make a payment of $500 towards their student loan debt. 

While you shouldn’t bank on it totally, this is a form of relief your child may be eligible for as they enter their careers after college. It’s also something you may want to consider for yourself! It may be worth asking your employer about it soon if you have an outstanding student loan balance. 

Look Out For Our College Planning Video Podcast 

Crafted Finance is teaming up with Ann Garcia to record a college planning video podcast. Together she and Joe Wride will cover:

  • How to find the best-fit college for your child 
  • How to prepare for college before your kids graduate high school
  • The huge missed opportunity of merit scholarships
  • Approaching FAFSA, application essays, and scholarships without losing your mind
  • How to actually withdraw from your 529 with no penalties

Clients and non-clients will be given access to the video.

How Crafted Finance Can Help You Further

At Crafted Finance, we know how stressful education planning can be. However, by leveraging tools like 529 plans, direct tuition payments, and scholarships, you can lessen the financial burden on your children.

This year it’s also worth keeping an eye out for a decision on the Biden Administration’s Student Loan Forgiveness bill as well as future employer-matched student loan repayments. But remember, education planning can be a team effort, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. 

If you have any questions regarding education planning, Ann Garcia’s college planning master class, or our college planning video podcast, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can call us at (650) 336-0598, or you can schedule a complimentary consultation to get the ball rolling.


Investment Advisory Services are offered through Crafted Finance, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Please remember that securities cannot be purchased, sold or traded via e-mail or voice message system. This advertisement and any documents, files or previous advertisements may contain information that is confidential or legally privileged.  If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you must not read this transmission and that any disclosure, copying, printing, distribution, or any action or omission of this transmission is strictly prohibited.  If you have received this advertisement in error, please immediately notify the sender by telephone at (650) 336-0598 or return and delete the original advertisements and its attachments without reading or saving in any manner.