Jul 24, 2020

NGPF Podcast: Author Eric Tyson shares strategies to help families figure out the college finance puzzle


Thanks to Eric Tyson for returning to the NGPF podcast to discuss his new book, Paying for College for Dummies. You might remember Eric from an earlier podcast episode where our focus was on personal finance and investing. He has taken on this new challenge of explaining how the college financial aid process works in ways that we can all understand. Now that is an admirable undertaking given its opacity! In this podcast, Eric shares common misconceptions that people have about financial aid, the prevalence of discounting in higher ed and how to think about negotiating for a better package in this age of Covid-19.  


  • 0:00~0:57 Introduction
  • 0:57~3:33 What got Eric to writing Personal Finance For Dummies
  • 3:33~7:47 Fee-only financial advisors and fiduciaries
  • 7:47~9:41 Paying for College For Dummies
  • 9:41~12:24 Alternatives to college
  • 12:24~16:18 Misconceptions people have about paying for college
  • 16:18~16:42 A word from NGPF
  • 16:42~18:18 How the financial aid process penalizes custodial accounts
  • 18:18~19:05 Average discount private colleges offer
  • 19:05~21:49 What will college look like in the fall?
  • 21:49~24:13 Leverage students have to ask for more financial aid
  • 24:13~26:17 Recommended resources
  • 26:17~29:36 What higher education looks like in the future
  • 29:36~30:45 Conclusion



  • “Even with all the articles and books written about the financial aid process, it’s still a very mysterious process and is poorly understood by most people. The good part of the reason for that is because colleges really don’t have any incentive for clearly explaining it to the public.”


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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