Lea Cruz, Founder of Excel College and Retirement Planning, Interviewed on the Influential Entrepreneurs Podcast

Lea Cruz discusses how college planning helps to maximize potential aid a student can get. 

Listen to the interview on the Business Innovators Radio Network:


Lea explained: “When it comes to college planning, one of the best ways to maximize need-based aid you can get is to take advantage of all available resources-federal, state and the colleges, along with proper strategies to better position a family for eligibility. Start by looking into grants and scholarships first; these are free money that does not have to be repaid. Make sure you complete all required financial aid forms by each of the colleges and submit it as early as possible. Additionally, research how each of the colleges meet need based aid or if they give out merit aid and the student’s chances of receiving it. Maximizing gift aid will help reduce total out of pocket cost and student/parent loans.”

Understanding a family’s financial situation is also vital in maximizing need-based aid.  Knowing what the colleges will consider in the Expected Family Contribution calculation may allow a family to better plan to save for college expenses without costing their student future financial aid from the colleges. People should also create a budget and look at which expenses they may be able to cut to reduce overall costs. Also, reducing taxable income can help increase their family’s need-based aid eligibility. Finally, they must research any tax deductions or credits they may be eligible for and make sure to take advantage of them before filing taxes.

By taking the time to research all available options and understand their financial situation, people can significantly increase the amount of need-based aid available to them. This can help cut overall costs and reduce the amount of student loans that needs to be borrowed. Ultimately, taking a proactive planning approach and choosing the right colleges students apply to help families maximize financial assistance and save money.

Using these strategies when it comes time for college planning can save time and money in the long run. Anyone interested should make sure to look into all of their available options and understand what course of action best suits them. Taking the time to do this now can help when it comes time to pay tuition bills. College planning is essential, given the rising cost of education, in maximizing aid minimizing cost and to ensure this does not becoming a retirement problem for parents down the road. With careful research and a proactive approach, families can ensure that their students can get the most out of their college experience and is also financially feasible for the parents.

Oscar S., proud parent of a USC student and future freshman in college, says: “When it came time for my daughter to attend college, it was a frightening time for us as parents.

Thank GOD we came in contact with Lea. She gave us so much comfort knowing she would do everything in her power to get us as a family in a positive position where my daughter would get as much financial help as possible and still be able for us as parents to afford college.

 We are so happy with Lea, that we have our second daughter that will start college next year and we are working with Lea once again.

 Lea would always answer her phone and always responded quickly to all concerns throughout the process and then after.

 If you’re considering joining a college preparation company, it’s one of the most important choices you will make, you will be in safe hands with Lea…”


About Lea Cruz

Lea has been helping families with their college planning journey since 2010. 

She also provides clients in need of assistance with retirement planning safe options to grow their retirement nest egg as they near their retirement years, as well as shows them a retirement option on how they can build a retirement plan that will provide them tax-free income when they retire.

Learn More about her free webinars, workshops, and a free consultation:




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