Are there any assets that are not counted for financial aid purposes?

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Yes, assuming you are talking about federal financial aid. Under the federal government's financial aid formula, four main types of assets are excluded from consideration when determining your child's financial need:

  • All retirement accounts (e.g., IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s)

  • Home equity in a primary residence

  • Annuities

  • Cash value life insurance

These assets are known as nonassessable assets. All other assets that belong to you and your child are known as assessable assets and include items like checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, 529 plans, Coverdell education savings accounts, custodial accounts, trusts, and investment property. The more assessable assets you have, the more money you will be expected to contribute to college costs.

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