College Financial Aid Advisors Scholarship

Case Study

Maximizing a 529 College Savings Plan to Afford UC College Education

Michael’s family took a proactive step in securing his educational future by opening a 529 College Savings Plan when he was just a year old. With an annual income of around $145,000, Michael’s parents were aware of the financial challenges that lay ahead with three children, including Michael, planning to attend college. Michael, an exceptional student, expressed his desire to attend a University of California (UC) College, prompting his family to explore ways to make his dream a reality while managing the financial strain.
The Challenge
Balancing the financial demands of sending three children to college, particularly a UC College with its associated costs, presented a considerable challenge for Michael’s family. Despite the foresight in starting a 529 plan, the family sought ways to optimize the use of these funds and explore additional avenues to reduce the financial burden.

Action Steps


Optimizing the 529 College Savings Plan

Understanding the potential of the 529 plan, I worked with Michael's family to maximize its effectiveness. We reviewed strategies, assessed ways to pay for college to align with the family's goals and timeline.


Researching Financial Aid Options

Given Michael's excellent academic record, we explored various financial aid options available at UC Colleges. This included federal aid, state grants, and institutional scholarships. I guided the family through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process to determine their eligibility for need-based aid.


Seeking Merit-Based Scholarships

Leveraging Michael's outstanding academic achievements, we identified and applied for merit-based scholarships offered by the UC Colleges. This included scholarships for academic excellence, leadership, and extracurricular involvement.


Exploring Work-Study Opportunities

To further offset costs, we explored work-study opportunities available at UC Colleges. This not only provided additional income but also offered Michael valuable work experience related to his field of study.


Maximized 529 Plan

Through careful conversation about the 529 plan, Michael's family saw substantial growth in the account, effectively supplementing their college savings.

Financial Aid and Merit-Based Scholarships

Michael's exemplary academic record made him eligible for several merit-based scholarships, significantly reducing the overall cost of attending a UC College. Additionally, the family successfully secured need-based financial aid, further alleviating the financial burden.

Work-Study Opportunities

Michael secured a work-study position on campus, providing him with additional income to cover personal expenses and contribute towards his education.


By strategically leveraging their early investment in the 529 plan, exploring various financial aid options, and capitalizing on Michael’s academic achievements, the family successfully navigated the financial challenges associated with sending three children to college. Michael’s dream of attending a UC College became a reality, showcasing the effectiveness of proactive financial planning and strategic use of available resources.
Scroll to Top