"Because of Andy's wizardry, we were able to send our three boys to expensive private colleges without having to eat mac 'n cheese every night for dinner." - Shari & Ralph Rizzuto, Huntington NY
Dear Fellow Parent:
Guidance counselors are useless.
Your accountant can't help either.
And colleges are BIG BUSINESS -- they want every last dollar they can wring out of you.
If your child is headed off to college in the next year or two, and you're officially you-know-whatting-a-brick when you realize just HOW RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE tuition has gotten since YOU applied back in The Day...
...and you're asking yourself, How on god's green earth will I possibly be able to afford to send my kids where they deserve to go...
...without raiding my retirement or selling an organ?
I suggest that you shut down Facebook, turn off your texts and other "dumb phone" intrusions, and give yourself 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to read this note, because it might open your eyes to relief that you didn't know existed.
I'm Andy Lockwood, best selling author of four college planning books, including "How to Pay 'Wholesale' for College", and "How to Negotiate Your Crappy Financial Aid and Merit Aid Offer," and, along with my wife, Pearl, a college advisor in Long Island, New York for more than 20 years.
One of our main specialties:
Helping select families who think they'll NEVER get any college financial assistance, comfortably afford to send their kids to the colleges they deserve, without breaking a sweat or vaporizing their retirement.
I'm featured regularly on local, national and international television and other media for my college expertise (e.g. Wall St Journal, Fox News, CBS).
I'm not bragging, because, seriously, who cares? I'm telling you this only to offer some of my credentials, because I too would roll my eyes if some guy in the Internet promised something that sounded too good to be true.
But if you bear with me and see what I have to say, I'll prove that I'm NOT exaggerating or wasting your time.
True, this message is about our college financial aid consulting services, but it's really about something more important...
I'll explain that in a moment.
But first, let me give you a quick lay of the land, so you can see how and why our program works for qualified families, at no expense.
It’s no secret, college costs have SKYROCKETED to insane levels over the past 30 years, and there’s no realistic relief in sight (sorry, Bernie and Elizabeth!).
Student loan levels have eclipsed 1.6 Trillion and counting, defaults are on the rise and 50% of college grads from two years ago STILL don’t have a job that requires a college degree!
This was BEFORE coronavirus, by the way.
Colleges act like they’re on your side, but don’t count on them for help.
These "non-profit" colleges and universities are businesses -- BIG BUSINESSES -- and want as much of your money as they can get their hands on!
They need to build new dorms with flat panel TVs, construct Lazy Rivers and pay their presidents and other higher-ups seven-figure salaries, among other “necessary” budget line items.
But don’t expect the government to step in on your behalf either:
Student loan interest and fees totaled $66 Billion, according to the Government Accountability Office. That’s more of a profit than most Fortune 100 companies make --- the Feds aren't giving up that revenue so fast!
What about your average CPA and accountant?
They’re too busy trying to keep up with voluminous tax law changes, they simply cannot devote the extra time to master the convoluted, non-common sense, punitive financial aid regulations.
I say “punitive” because the financial aid system PUNISHES responsible families who earn a living, pay their bills and live below their means, while rewarding less responsible families by showering them with grants and scholarships.
(I realize that this isn't politically correct, but I'm just getting warmed up!)
Last, and most disappointing, guidance counselors are woefully untrained in this area too, not to mention severely outnumbered (the average ratio of child to counselor is more than 400:1, nationally).
Pretty bleak. But hopeless?
Paying for college is like being on a packed flight from New York to Los Angeles. Every passenger ends up at the same destination, but each paid A DIFFERENT FARE.
Some of your fellow travelers paid more (congrats!), while others, LESS (grrrrrr!).
The trick is to know how to shop for discounted deals. But there's no "Priceline.com" for college tuition, unfortunately.
Good news: You might have a better shot at getting aid than you think. Check out these little-known stats:
Why does one family pay full price, while the other gets 50% off? It boils down to one thing:
Unlocking the “Rules of the Game.”
Crack the code and you'll be ushered into the College Endowment Promised Land, and receive a WINDFALL of fat, juicy scholarships and grants.
The other choice: ignore The Rules at your peril, and roll the dice.
My advice? Before you "wing it," picture how it would feel to burst the bubble of your deserving child, who worked their tail off to somehow earn acceptance into their “Dream College”...
...but THEN, after the excitement fades, you’re forced to quietly confide...
“Sorry, I just can’t afford it.”
If your child does her part, shouldn't you hold up your end of the bargain?
Many parents screw up the courage to admit how guilty and ashamed they feel because they fell short saving for their kids' college educations.
They softly confess their regret, stress and strain from fighting with their spouse and teen about which colleges they can afford to apply to.
But what if there were a way to avoid this frustration and family tension?
To get your hands on the grants and scholarships you need -- and deserve!
To make paying for college seem as easy and carefree as spending a lazy, summer day sipping your favorite cocktail, relaxing by the pool?
You might find this a little weird, but here's an illustration of how things work...
Back when Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were competing for the presidency, word got out that Romney paid an effective 14% tax rate -- that was close to half of what Obama paid.
Many folks were outraged, but interestingly, NOBODY claimed that Romney was doing anything illegal.
Yet Romney out-earned Obama by multiple millions of dollars! How did he pay less in taxes?
Fast forward to Trump vs. Hillary.
Same issue: Hillary accused Trump of hiding his tax returns, claiming he didn’t want the world to know how little he paid in taxes.
“That makes me smart.”
Look, you can love or hate Trump, Hillary, Romney or Obama. But you should be a little curious how Romney and Trump managed to slash their tax bills, legally (let’s just assume that).
You don't have to wonder too much. Here's the answer:
They relied on two powerful words...
I’m sure ol' Mitt paid his legal and accounting advisors staggering fees for their advice, they had to total far more than $100,000.
That a lot of dough…
...except when you realize that Mitt -- an extremely successful, shrewd businessman -- saved MILLIONS of dollars in taxes, thanks to his accountants' and lawyers' advice.
Romney didn’t look at his legal and accounting bills as EXPENSES. Rather, he viewed them properly as INVESTMENTS that paid off in an amount FAR GREATER than the sizable checks he cut to his accountants.
Romney, Trump and all successful businessmen and women understand the ROI (Return on Investment), when it comes to hiring experts to advise them.
In a nutshell, THAT premise is the bedrock of our firm, Lockwood College Prep.
For clients who meet our criteria, we're known for this simple proposition:
You give us X, we return you a MULTIPLE of X by way of grants, scholarships and other financial aid. (See below client results.)
Some parents think getting financial aid is merely about filling out a little paperwork.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the "easy" form required by all colleges. The Department of Education wants you to believe that it's straightforward.
They're right -- the FAFSA APPEARS to be simple, to the unassuming eye.
But that's misleading, because appearances are only part of the story:
There are more than 1,100 pages of regulations behind this so-called "simple" form!
The devil is in the details, especially when you delve into the regulations pertaining to what needs to be disclosed, and what doesn't.
If you "overshare" on the FAFSA and reveal something you did not have to disclose, you will literally rob yourself of thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands of dollars.
Maybe that's why Arne Duncan, former Secretary of Education and a Harvard grad, was famously quoted as saying, 'You basically need a Ph.D to figure that thing out."
On the flip side, if you never stumble across the four legal and ethical "loopholes" that permit you to "hide" -- or shelter -- your savings from the financial aid formulas, you could lose tens of thousands in aid that you otherwise deserve, too.
Oh, that's just the FAFSA. The even scarier application, The CSS Profile, is required by approximately 400 mostly private, competitive colleges.
It's twice as long and 10 times as difficult as the FAFSA, and governed by a separate, distinct methodology.
If you're the do-it-yourself type and plan on filing these forms yourself, you need to be super-organized and METICULOUS - even one little mistake like transposing a social security number or date of birth could make or break your results.
You'll need to devote at least one full weekend to getting the forms done. Probably more, if you're going to comb through all of the directions. Then add a week or two if you're going to research strategies to improve eligibility.
Or you can save time and money with an "insurance policy:" bringing in expert help. We prepare hundreds of these applications for our clients each year, quickly, accurately and before their deadlines, and in a way that OPTIMIZES their eligibility for grants and scholarships.
Here's how our our program works:
(That's the simplified view of the regulations behind the FAFSA - the "easy" form)
The first step is for us to meet on Zoom or over the phone to determine whether you're a good fit. There are dozens of strategies to get funds for college, but they don't work for everybody.
Currently there's no charge for this introductory call, but there might be one "catch:"
We may not have capacity for any more clients by the time you read this letter, because it's posted on the Internet and I don't know when you discovered it.
Assuming we have room, and it turns out that you are in fact a good fit, you may enroll with a discounted one-pay or a payment plan, plus our monthly "Inner Circle" support membership (but this is actually free, see below).
Upon enrollment, we'll send you a short list of the items we need you to provide, including tax returns, W2s and other information required by the colleges.
The next step is a conversation to gather the rest of your information, answer questions and identify any strategies to help qualify for more grants and scholarships.
The final step is to finalize the forms, and, with your approval, file them!
That's the final step of the FIRST PHASE, by the way.
Because, as Pearl says, filing is when things START, not finish.
Next, we handle all of the follow-up items that crop up after we file, including:
You may cancel your monthly membership (described below) at any time, without penalty.
However, anyone who stays in the Inner Circle support membership gets their financial aid forms filed, for free, next year.
(Yes, you apply for aid each year!)
Let’s talk turkey. I don't yet know if you'd be a good fit for this program.
Assuming we're still taking on new clients, we need to see if you're qualified before any money changes hands.
Our 1-on-1 private college advising clients invest between $12,000- $20,000, or more for personal advice on college selection, essays, extracurriculars and so forth.
But Financial Aid Warrior is a different program, focused solely on getting you the maximum amount of grants and scholarships possible.
Here's what I mean:
Although the investment for the Financial Aid Warrior program is $3,495 plus a cancellable, $47/month "Inner Circle" support membership, our clients receive much more than that amount in return.
We also offer a payment plan to help with cash flow.
Economically speaking, it's actually better than free:
We are a money-MAKER for you. Not an expense.
The next logical step is to apply for a call to see if you meet our criteria. If you don't, we'll tell you not to waste your money on hiring us.
If you contact us within the next couple of days I'll even knock off a couple hundred bucks if we decide to move forward.
There's no charge and no risk to apply. Yet, working with us could be the best decision you'll ever make.
Just wait 'til you brag about hiring us at the next neighborhood barbecue! :)
It's more than just doing your financial aid applications. Each client receives the following:
Discover how to triple your eligibility for grants and scholarships. We're intimately familiar with the hidden places on the financial aid forms where money-losing, dangerous “landmines” lurk...and cost-cutting “loopholes” opportunities lie. It's taken years for us to master these complicated regulations, and Pearl and Andy are attorneys! Now, you can benefit from our specialized knowledge!
Andy is the leading authority in the country on negotiating financial aid and merit aid. Each year, he helps clients improve so-called “final” offers by $5,000, $23,000, $25,000, $35,000, even more than $50,000. (This aspect of our service alone could pay off for you, the way it did for many of our clients like Barbra and Scott Fergang, Beth Simon and Jim Giddon, below.)
Pearl and her team file several hundred FAFSA, CSS Profile and other financial aid applications each year. Her expertise is unparalleled. With her in your corner, you'll never miss deadlines, mix up what information belongs where, ignore follow-up requests from colleges or the Department of Education, and more. This is incredibly important, because any one of these harmless “admin” errors could, quite literally, cost you THOUSANDS. Even tens of thousands. If we accept you as a client, you will bullet proof yourself from this form of self-sabotage.
Quick comment: we cannot guarantee results that are out of our control, such as whether or not your kid gets INTO a certain college, where your child "stacks up" in GPA, SAT/ACT scores, etc. compared to the rest of the kids he or she is competing with, your colleges' budgetary constraints, endowment returns and a lot more.
While we cannot guarantee results, we can promise that we will not take you on as a client unless we can show you a legal and ethical way to get financial aid in an amount far in excess of our fee.
Finally, NO college advisor should offer any guarantee for the above reasons, not to mention that the legitimate industry groups we all belong to say explicitly that it's unethical to offer one.
I said earlier that this letter was about you, but that was slightly misleading.
Because it's also about me, Pearl and our entire firm.
Specifically, my reputation as a college advisor, which is impeccable. And I intend to keep it that way.
Selfishly speaking, I have a long-standing, IMMACULATE track record among clients as well as my professional colleagues. I'm a continuing education provider for CPAs, and I run a certification program that trains others how to become college advisors.
I'm constantly asked to speak to PTAs and other parent groups, at public libraries, police unions and other venues.
But if I were to suffer a blow to my reputation in today's ratings-centric society, all of that goes up in smoke!
I've worked too hard to jeopardize these relationships and will do anything and everything to always deliver what I promise, and more, in order to safeguard the brand we've built up over the years.
That's the main reason why Pearl and I work only with clients that we can genuinely help.
But we have one more, important criterion; we help only people we actually ENJOY working with.
We do NOT do well with high-maintenance "Energy Vampires," who refuse to follow our system and advice, or need constant babysitting and multiple reminders about information they agreed to provide when they enrolled, but failed to do so.
That's why you cannot sign up for our services online anymore. Now, if we have room on our client roster, the first step is an interview to ensure that you're a good fit. Of course this protects you, too.
If you don't qualify for our program, I or someone on my team will tell you in that interview and advise you not to waste your money retaining us.
But if this feels right to you, I really hope you apply. My lifetime goal is to help 10,000 deserving families avoid crushing college debt and financial strain.
I don't talk about this much, but, between college and laws school, I racked up 100,000 plus in crushing, high rate, high fee debt.
It took me years to dig out from under this awful mess, not to mention years of calls from creditors, threatening legal letters and being turned down for rental and mortgage applications.
All demoralizing and depressing.
Today's kids have it far tougher than I -- graduating with three times as much debt into a much shakier economy.
That's why I created the Financial Aid Warrior Program...
...and why I'll bend over backwards to remove every last dustball of risk for you, and do anything reasonable to get this opportunity into your hands.
I've helped thousands of families just like you afford college, and want to do the same for you.
I left out the most important feature of the Financial Aid Warrior Program, one that’s impossible to put a price on:
Peace of mind.
How would it feel to finally sleep like a baby at night (remember what that's like?), knowing that you’ve brought true experts into your corner, and that you won’t make any costly, self-sabotaging mistakes.
If your family is anything like ours, you're spent years and countless thousands of dollars to give your children a leg up: driving them all over creation to practices, games, rehearsals. Getting them tutors, paying for club teams, tournaments, equipment, maybe private coaching too. All to give them the best you can to help them succeed.
Now you're at a critical crossroads. NOW is when THEY NEED YOU more than ever, as they get closer to the goal line for this phase of their lives.
Now is NOT the time to fumble away this opportunity...
Because after you take care of signing up, you'll immediately feel a wave of relief, and a rush of confidence that, when your son or daughter GETS IN to the college they've been dreaming of, you will be able to easily send them where they belong...
...without breaking into a cold sweat when your next tuition bill arrives!
Imagine what it will look like when your child rips open that fat envelope or email from her Dream College, and you hear her shriek with joy when she reads that she managed to get in!
You’ll ALL remember that moment forever!
That’s why we’re here to help you comfortably afford to send her where she deserves, without sacrificing your lifestyle or mortgaging your home or retirement up to your eyeballs.
Before I wrap up, I need to make one last, unpleasant but necessary comment:
There are very real, potentially severe consequences of NOT moving forward with your risk-free application.
Inaction is a choice too. If your decision is to do nothing, you could cause several, unfortunate, long-lasting but avoidable outcomes, such as:
Look, I'm not trying to be a jerk, but to be totally up front, it won't matter a lick to me whether we ever talk.
I will hit my maximum capacity of new clients again this year, whether or not you come aboard.
But again, this is about YOU.
A quick conversation between you and me could, literally, "make" you thousands -- even tens of thousands -- of dollars in financial aid and merit aid. It happens all the time.
If my tone offends you, please understand that wasn't my intent.
We haven't met, but I want you to know that I'm speaking frankly because I sincerely hope you don't let this opportunity slip through your fingers.
So many parents tell me and Pearl each year that they "meant to" contact us years ago.
Then life got in the way, their kids got into college and NOW -- after they get their first bill, and see the ACTUAL COST of tuition staring them in the face, desperately hope against hope that we can still somehow help them.
Sadly, when it's too late, we can't help. There's no magic wand or "do-overs" in our world. Hence, the "tough talk."
My advice is to reach out ASAP while there's still time. There's no cost to apply, and no risk if you end up enrolling after we speak.
So why not get started now, before our strict capacity limits force us to close our doors to new clients?
I hope we speak soon!
P.S. By the way, my accountant told me I was nuts to offer a guarantee because he felt that some unethical people would sign up, then demand a refund to “beat” us for the advice.
I trust that you’re not like this, but I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday. I realize that some people won't do the right thing, no matter what.
Despite this, we’ve made a business decision to live with this risk, instead of letting it prevent us from achieving our goal of helping 10,000 families pay for college comfortably and easily, without sacrificing their lifestyle or vaporizing their retirement savings.
There are no fine print "weasel clauses" or other lawyerly verbiage in our guarantee. We're “walking the walk” because we know that you'll absolutely love and get tremendous value from The Financial Aid Warrior Program.
You may not believe the too-good-to-be-true negotiation results of Scott and Barbra Fergang
Suffern New York Mom reveals how we helped her fight tooth and nail after she got zilch
NYC haberdasher reveals negotiation results, takes gratuitous pot shot at Lockwood
If you have any of these questions, you're likely in our "wheel house" and would be a good fit for our program:
More, but this letter is long enough and you more than enough information at this point. If I can't convince you to reach out by now, I give up!
Andy Lockwood saved us a lot of money. Both my sons got large scholarships and max FAFSA. Hire him! He is an expert!
-Melanie Johnson, Houston, TX
Andy is so disarming and nonchalant about his capabilities that one has to wonder if it's all a scam!
My son is going to a top school (GW) on monies he received totally from Andrew's involvement. He looked me in the eye when I asked him what his success rate was and replied without hesitation, "I get my clients 5 times the amount of their investment with me.
HE WASN'T KIDDING!!! Best money I ever spent.
-Scott Sanders, Long Beach, NY
I know a lot of college planners who promise results but don't deliver. In your case, I got real results. Other parents thank me for recommending you.
- Dr. Dennis O'Hara
Superintendent, Hauppauge NY School District
From the moment I walked into your office, I felt an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders.
Thank you for all that you have done for my precious girls.
Beth Sova, Houston, Texas
Nicole is at her dream school, got her Presidential Scholarship - $25K!
Thank you for all your help. I always recommend you to my friends. You and your team played a great role during that painful process.
Thank god it's over lol!
- Elina Kazakevich, Staten Island NY
I wanted to thank you for all the help you have given me regarding my son Robert's financial planning for college.
You were an enormous help when I had problems with the FAFSA and eventually the appeal to SUNY Albany.
Your professionalism and patience is what makes you and your business so successful.
I am going to recommend you to all my friends so they can put their mind at ease and not have to worry about undertaking this daunting process alone!
Sabrina Ferrara, Hauppauge, NY
Dear Mr. Lockwood
I am writing this letter to recommend your services to any parent that has a son or daughter approaching college. We received guidance for career choices, college selection and obtained financial aid advice.
The financial aid award we received was much greater than we had envisioned.
Mr. Lockwood is knowledgeable, professional and very accommodating to work with.
Please consult with him
Very truly yours,
Douglas P. Johnson, Esq, Davie, Florida
Former Mayor, Oakland Park. Florida
I used to literally get chills and practically hyperventilate when I thought about sending my daughter to college.
Pearl and Andy saved me $10,000 per year and took away all of my stress!
Owner, Minuteman Press - Levittown, NY
Andy wrote one letter that got us an extra $20,000 from my daughter's college. We were expecting nothing!
-Paul McDougal, Esq.
Garden City, NY
Andy and Pearl helped me negotiate a ton of money (Editor’s note: $30,058 for one year - but why split hairs?) for my daughter at U.S.C.
Rick Ritacco - Owner of Wings Plus, Port Washington
When my friends started telling me that they received nothing in financial assistance, I once again began to worry. But then our packages started coming from Ithaca, University of Albany, Syracuse and the best yet Boston University.
My friend said "I can't understand how you received so much in assistance, while I got NOTHING, and I even had the FAFSA people fill out the forms.
Is she crazy? Why would the people who are giving you the money want to help you fill out the forms?
So all I can say is "Thank you Andy!" You made this whole process so easy, less stressful, and dare I say downright fun. Thank goodness you know all the loopholes. You are the best! Guess we'll be seeing each other for the next 4 years.
Very truly yours,
Stephanie and Rob Salzbank
Port Washington, New York
Thank you Pearl and Andy for helping my kids get into Villanova and Notre Dame - for “wholesale” prices!
-John Gallagher, Jericho NY
This may seem counter-intuitive, but there is no magic “ceiling” in the financial aid rules that prevents you from qualifying.
We have clients who make north of $300,000 who receive need-based aid, and have seen families making less than $50,000 get nothing.
First, you might be wrong about not qualifying.
Second, many colleges require families to complete the financial aid applications in order to be considered for NON-need-based aid (merit aid).
The final reason is that, if you submit your forms and show financial STRENGTH, you could directly help your child's odds of admission, and not-so-indirectly help get merit aid, as most colleges favor affluent families when doling out merit scholarships.
Yes, the process is complicated.
But OUR PROGRAM is not.
We've made the process as smooth and stress-free as possible...
If you follow our system.
That's why you're considering hiring us -- to get the most you can with the least amount of stress, right?
If we decide you'd be a good fit and you end up enrolling, follow our system, including providing us the information we need, responding to emails and/or calls in a timely manner and so forth, and you'll achieve the success you were hoping for.
Actually, if you’re the do-it-yourself type (e.g. you file your own tax returns, do your own plumbing repairs, possibly your own taxidermy too), you certainly could.
All I can tell you is that we have, any given year, a dozen or so active clients who are in the accounting and financial advising profession, who decided that it wasn’t worth the risk or their time to buckle down and attempt to master the 1,100 pages of nonsensical rules and regulations underpinning the financial aid forms.
Of course I could tell you horror stories about how even these financially astute, meticulous professionals badly screwed up their applications and cheated themselves out of money they otherwise should have gotten, but you get the point by now!
I don't have a magic wand.
We cannot guarantee any specific result, because it’s unethical (thanks again, Lori and Felicity) and because there are numerous factors out of our control, such as where your child applies, where he gets in, his academic credentials, who else is applying to that school, and more.
HOWEVER, we'll screen you first, to make sure you'd be a good fit before any money changes hands.
The examples and testimonials on this page are accurate and truthful, note the first and last names, videos, etc. But your results may be different -- they could be worse, or they could be better.
We're both adults, so I'm guessing you know that already but I'm saying it to be thorough (and because I went to law school back in the day :)
That is a separate, more involved service. If we have capacity, we’ll be happy to chat and try to work something out. College advisory fees start at 12,000 and can be more than 20,000 depending on when a family starts with us and the scope of engagement.
Okie dokie, that should do it! Sign up for your complimentary consultation now, and you'll feel less stressed immediately and feel GREAT that you took a huge step toward ensuring your child's future success in college...and beyond!