Kevin Campbell on The Business Spotlight TV of http://www.CollegePlanningAuthority.com a college funding and scholarship company. Kevin Campbell with host Patrick Dougher talk about the high cost of college and how Kevin’s company is helping students get scholarships, grants and funds for school. They have gotten this years senior class over $3million in awards money from several Universities all over the country. Schools like SMU, TCU even out of state schools. This is a resource that parents should use.
Patrick: Welcome to the Business Spotlight. I’m your host, Patrick Dougher. My guest today is Kevin Campbell. You’re going to have a lot of fun with this one.
Kevin started as a marine, went off, did his thing, came back, college was a hopeful (?), needed more time, like a lot of us purchased some wisdom, and then he finally said, “I don’t want to be this anymore.” He went back and got his degree in record time with great scores in every area and then went on to create businesses – several, in fact.
When he finally figured out what he wanted to be when he grew up, he found out “You know what? I could save a lot of families more money than they could ever imagine if I just help them with the college funding aspect.” Because as most of know that have children, the college proposition today is a small mortgage to a large mortgage in expense. I love this phrase. He almost gets giddy when he gets to tell people that he’s going to save them like $35,000 a year. That is why I wanted him on the show. Thanks so much, Kevin, for being on the air.
Kevin: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Patrick: I want to get into this story. College Planning Authority is your company, college funding is what you do, and you are saving people tons. How much is the number now up to that you’ve saved or that you’ve gotten for people?
Kevin: Frankly, I haven’t tracked it on a cumulative basis. But for example, just this year, our senior class this year received $3.8 million in grant and scholarship offers. We’re in financial aid offers with the majority of that being in grants and scholarships, meaning it doesn’t have to be paid back.
Patrick: Man, that’s got to be music to every parent’s ears. Mom and dad don’t have to go to the poorhouse.
Kevin: That’s a huge thing. What we have going on right now in the US is college is astronomically expensive as you know. I know you’ve just gone through this.
Patrick: Yeah. We’re going through this.
Kevin: You’re in it right now and you’ve have several kids already go and you’re in it now, so you know how bad this is. On top of that, people are trying to look at these expenses and going “How are we going to do this without committing financial suicide? How are we going to get our kids through college without wrecking our own retirement?”
In this economic environment we’re in right now, people recognize, “My kids really do need to go to college” if they’re capable of going to college. College isn’t for everybody. For those who it is for, they need to get there, they need to get in and get out as quickly as possible and with the right value of education. People are really having a hard time with this. These days you’re looking at $100,000 a kid or better in college expenses – and that’s sticker price. If you’ve got two or three kids, he goal is not to pay sticker but you’re looking at a state school these days. If you’re going to UT Austin, you’re going to spend somewhere close to $100,000 a kid if you end up being sticker price.
Patrick: Wow! I know you’ve got a process that you walk people through. I know that you have several things that you do. You do your talks. Tell me a little bit about some of the things that you do and the services you offer.
Kevin: The best way to describe us, our company, and what we do is that we are a private college counseling company, meaning that we help students with career development and admissions, applications, helping them find the right colleges, the right career so they’re not switching majors and taking eight years to graduate and all those kind of things.
But in addition to that, where we differ from any other private counselors is that we also couple that with the financial side, meaning that we understand the financial aid system, how it works and how to maximize somebody’s eligibility for aid. When you couple all that together, when you have a well-prepared student who’s doing everything correctly and you have a financial plan at the same time, that can tend to be a very, very powerful position to be in.
Many people aren’t just paying sticker for college these days. Given $100,000, well, that’s sticker price. When you have to borrow all the money to go to college, then you’re paying that sticker price plus all the interest and taxes and everything else that goes along with it. Reducing those expenses and having a reasonable plan and a defined plan before you get into this really helps families out.
Patrick: People come to you and they really need to prepare. How far in advance? When does someone start seeing you?
Kevin: My perfect time to start with most students is in their sophomore year of high school. Keep in mind, most people start thinking about this their junior or senior year of high school. In our programs, we’re working with the students hands-on. We really like to get them when they’re sophomores. But we do continue to take them after that. That’s just our preferred time.
Patrick: One of the things that I see you guys do, I would call you almost like a student’s agent to college, because not only do you prep the student with the assessments, the prep test, getting prepared for those so they maximize them – you’re walking with them for a few years getting them what I call marketable for the college of their choice, not the one that they default to. You prep them to go to the college of choice, right?
Kevin: We’re trying to get students into the right college for their education, not for the cheapest college they can find.
Patrick: Exactly. That’s the thing. As we go into this next segment, I really want to get into the ideal student and how people can connect to you directly and then what they get. What’s the process that they’ll go through?
This is the Business Spotlight, my guest is Kevin Campbell – college funding, College Planning Authority.
Patrick: Welcome back to the Business Spotlight. I’m Patrick Dougher and my guest today is Kevin Campbell of College Planning Authority, CollegePlanningAuthority.com. They’re really a college funding company.
Kevin: I don’t actually fund college.
Patrick: Yeah, it’s not that.
Kevin: We don’t do student loans and that kind of thing. We help guide parents on how to fund college.
Patrick: Right. But you guys have really done some amazing things. Some stories that I’ve heard are…
Kevin: They’re staggering.
Patrick: Yeah. Kids going to SMU getting $40,000 or something.
Kevin: One of my students this year was not even intending on looking at SMU because of the stricter price. SMU is pushing over $55,000 a year now.
Patrick: $55,000 a year!
Kevin: And he’s a very talented student, a very smart young man, he did everything and he was great. He did everything that we asked him to do.
Patrick: He was a good candidate.
Kevin: He was a good candidate and he was a good student of us, meaning that he stepped through everything we asked him to do and did it very well. By the time it was all said and done he had $41,000 in scholarships. Their out-of-pocket costs for him to get SMU next year is less than $8,000.
Patrick: I heard you tell me a story the other day about somebody that wanted to go to TCU – or actually was already at TCU – and had basically had what I call a brain burp when they filled out their forms.
Kevin: They were just unaware. A lot of these forms are very confusing. We see mistakes on the financial aid forms all the time. We were able to analyze those, go back and correct them and actually TCU actually credited money back to them which I was very impressed with.
Patrick: Credited money back.
Kevin: We were able to make some other financial improvements in her situation. I think the net end to them is going to be, over the next three years (the remaining of their time at TCU), I think the swing to them is maybe about $24,000 difference that we’re going to be saving them.
Patrick: That is amazing. Again, I think about the sticker. I paid for 95% of my own school, but I worked in the oil field (?). I could do that.
Kevin: The cost was substantially different.
Patrick: Yes. That’s the other thing. It kind of pulled the plug on what they can charge is $8 a credit hour, and now I think it’s a $100 and something.
Kevin: No, no, no. It’s far more than that. Yeah.
Patrick: Tell me what the experience is like. How do they get a hold of you and then what’s the experience?
Kevin: We do a lot of educational workshops. A lot of them are through schools coming up in the next year. You can look at our website (CollegePlanningAuthority.com) or just call our office at (817) 231-0233 and tall to us and we’ll see if we can help you or not.
Patrick: I would tell you that one of the things that is really big is, if you’re in the Dallas Fort-Worth area especially, if you’re affiliated with any booster club, they should be getting you guys in there especially the band boosters and stuff. I have a big passion for that because I’ve seen that 80% of that audience is college bound or college material.
Kevin: Yeah. It is. Right now we’re actually sponsoring a lot of band boosters. I think we’re sponsoring at this point seven marching bands next year.
Kevin: And the number continuous to grow every day, so we’re sponsoring quite a few of those. But yeah, that’s a great group for us to get in contact of. We do a tremendous amount of free teaching and free workshops. We donate a lot of our time for the community because we can only handle so many clients. We can only handle so many that we can actually work with one-on-one but we have a real passion for what we do. Our goal for 2012 was to speak to at least 2,000 families through our workshops and our free events.
Patrick: So they connect with you, then what’s the process?
Kevin: We have several different service offerings. It depends on the family situation. We go through a discovery process and figure out what program they’re the best fit for that’s going to get them the best bank for their buck. In our most popular program – the student will be working with our college planning team. My co-worker, Craig Root who has spent 29 years working for private universities before he joined our team is our head of student services right now. He’s a former dean of students and worked in the admission office. He knows the game.
Patrick: He gets it.
Kevin: He works with the students and helps prepare them, and at the same time I work with the parents and help them prepare financial plans and help them minimize their out-of-pocket costs and then figure out what are the most effective ways to pay for the rest of it.
Patrick: You’re going to let somebody know pretty quickly if what you can do or at least that you can do and then if they engage with you, you have even certain guarantees – if they do their part and you do your part.
Kevin: Absolutely. We’re not for everybody, but for the people that we do choose to work with, our guarantee for them is that we’ll double what they paid us. If they don’t receive twice in financial aid what they paid us, if they don’t at least double their money then we’ll give them refund.
Patrick: And if they don’t fit that, if you can’t see that early then you’re going to tell them up front or early on. It’s okay, guys. We don’t need to worry about that.
Patrick: So they can get a hold of you how again?
Kevin: Our website is CollegePlanningAuthority.com and our office phone number is (817)231-0233.
Patrick: That’s great. I can tell you I’ve known Kevin for a number of years and I’ve seen him build this business and I’ve seen him build this process and I know that it’s a life-changer. If you’re a parent and you got a college bound kid, if you’re not talking to Kevin, you’re missing it. You’re costing yourself money. It’s that old burning money type of thing, because he does have the ability to help you if you qualify in the parameters.
This is the Business Spotlight. Thank you so much, Kevin.