Our Services

Financial Aid Applications

CFS completes all financial aid applications on behalf of our clients.

• Non-custodial Parent PROFILE (when applicable)
• Institutional Applications

CFS is responsible for all DEADLINES and requirements. We worry about who needs what, where, when and HOW. Similar to having a CPA complete your tax returns we implement every strategy to ensure you qualify for the maximum amount of aid.

This can be a very overwhelming process. It is essential that all of your financial aid paperwork is done on time and accurately. Let the professionals handle this for you.

How Should I Borrow For College?

There are hundreds of borrowing options available to every family.

CFS will ensure you understand the pros and cons of each option and how to execute the one that is best for you. There is no universal path to the best borrowing method/s. Find out which option/s makes the most sense for your family.

It is essential to make sure you are borrowing in the most COST-EFFECTIVE manner. The difference between different lending programs can translate into tens of thousands of dollars.

It’s our job to make sure you know the answers to all of these questions:

• How much can I afford to borrow?
• How much should my student borrow?
• Should we take loans out in the student’s and/or parent’s name?
• Should I use home equity?
• Should I borrow against my 401 (k)?
• What are the student loan rates and how do we execute the option that makes the most sense for our family?

Tuition Affordability

Calculate what you can afford.

Do you know the exact dollar amount you can afford to pay for college each year, without having to borrow?

We do!

By implementing Joe Messinger’s College Pre-Approval methodology we show our clients what this dollar amount is, and then identify colleges that fit within it.

Negotiating With Colleges

CFS has a proven system for successfully appealing colleges’ original financial aid offers.

Much of our success comes from knowing which schools will compete with one another, which allows us to strategically leverage schools against one another.

In addition, we employ a team of current Financial Aid Counselors to direct this part of the process. Think of it like having an IRS employee assist you with your audit.

CFS has hundreds of client testimonials demonstrating our successful appeals.

School Selection

Know what you will receive before you even apply.

Wouldn’t you like to know how much a given college will actually cost your family more than 1 month before you have to make a decision?

With CFS’ database and software we can tell our clients how much money they’ll receive BEFORE they even apply.

This knowledge allows families to decide which colleges are financially feasible before receiving the bill. We show families how not to be fooled by the “sticker price.” Many of the most expensive schools are also the most generous. Find out which ones apply to your student.

Regardless of your families’ financial situation we can identify the best fits for your student’s criteria that will also be the most cost-effective.

What if I don’t qualify for need-based aid?

About 65% of CFS clients will not qualify for need-based aid. This area is one of our specialties. There are still plenty of creative ways to find value, regardless of your financial situation. Just ask our clients!

Student Athletes

What if your student-athlete does not receive a full scholarship?

How can my student-athlete receive aid at Ivy or NESCAC colleges?
Make sure you talk to a CFS Rep BEFORE your family does a pre-read.
CFS has several resources available for potential student-athletes. Athletics can be a very powerful tool from both an admissions and financial aid standpoint. We want to capitalize on this leverage.

CFS has relationships with dozens of college coaches across a wide range of collegiate sports. Several members of the CFS staff are former college athletes that have personal experience with this endeavor.


CFS conducts free financial aid workshops throughout the year.

• How to minimize your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
• Timelines and requirements
• Student assets vs. parent assets
• How to value your home
• How colleges view 529 and other education savings plans.
• How colleges view retirement plans and retirement contributions.
• Which schools offer the most need-based and/or merit-based money.
• How to negotiate and improve your initial financial aid award with colleges


CFS provides free financial aid workshops for high schools throughout the Northeast.

The 1-hour power-point presentation is a comprehensive tutorial for high and/or college parents.

There is no solicitation and/or mention of services during the presentation. The workshop is very interactive as attendees are encouraged to ask question throughout.

Some of the content includes:

• How to minimize your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
• Student assets vs. parent assets
• How to value your home
• How colleges view 529 and other education savings plans
• How colleges view retirement plans and retirement contributions
• Which schools offer the most need-based and/or merit-based money
• How to negotiate and improve your initial financial aid award with colleges

We have worked for years to develop the best possible financial aid workshop available. We believe we have reached that status and continue to evolve and improve with each presentation.

We have dozens of guidance counselors, PTA members, and administrators that serve as enthusiastic referrals for our program.

Schedule a free consultation.

30 minute consultation will determine your eligibility for need-based aid, determine which schools are cost effective for your family, and provide feedback on current schools.