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updated: 1/5/2018 9:45 AM

My College Planning expands to Chicago

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  • Jack Schacht

    Jack Schacht

Daily Herald Report

My College Planning Team with locations in Naperville and Downers Grove is expanding into Chicago.

The company offers free workshops as well as one-on-one counseling services that range from guidance in choosing colleges to providing tips on little know strategies families can us to reduce college costs. In the past five years, MCPT has worked with more than 100 nonprofit venues, including libraries, park districts, high schools and churches in the northern and western suburbs to give more than 2,000 families advice on how to help their children get into a good college at a more affordable price.

According to founder Jack Schacht, MCPT's suburban workshops have shared income, asset, borrowing, tax and other financial strategies that families can use to optimize their need-based institutional grants. MCPT will continue to do the same in Chicago, where it hopes to fill a need with families grappling with how to put their children through college without breaking the bank.

According to MCPT surveys, 91 percent of attendees give the workshops the highest rating in terms of how helpful they are for college planning and a full 98 percent said they want their venues to continue sponsoring them. Schacht attributes that to MCPT's commitment to making the workshops informational, rather than sales pitches, and to providing critical information not covered by typical college planning workshops offered by high schools.

Chicago workshops will feature speakers including Chicago Public School counselor Lindsay Muzzy and certified financial planner James Brewer.

Muzzy leads the counseling team at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, ranked tops in Chicago for scholarship money received by its students and for "college persistence" -- the number of students who not only attend college, but stick with it to earn a degree. Located in Chicago's West Englewood neighborhood, Lindblom has a student body that is roughly 97 percent minority and 80 percent low income, so Muzzy is keenly aware of the challenges facing underserved families.

Brewer has an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and over a decade of experience working with college families.

In addition to its free workshops, the group offers private counseling sessions on everything needed to prepare for college including developing strategic college lists, tutoring for the SAT and ACT, developing and reviewing essays, finding attainable scholarships, reviewing student loan options and strategizing to lower expected family contribution (EFC) for financial aid.

"We're excited to bring our services to families in the city of Chicago and to give them the tools they need to make college affordable, no matter their income level," Schacht said.

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