Most people had no idea what last Sunday was.
No, not just Super Bowl Sunday.
Last Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of something very unpleasant (except for Pearl’s accountant cousin, who also didn’t know what I’m talking about). It affects every American, football fan or not.
February 3, 2013 was the 100th anniversary of the 16th Amendment, the provision that allows Congress to levy income taxes!
The first code taxed income over $3,000 at 1%, and a 6% surtax on income greater than $500,000. According to Investor’s Business Daily, less than 1% of Americans paid the new income tax in 1913.
Another fun fact: the first tax code was 400 pages, now it’s more than 73,000 pages!
In contrast, the Department of Education’s rules regarding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – the easier financial aid form – is a “mere” 1,100 or so pages. Easy-breezy, right?
How can the average family navigate this mess?
If you’re a “do-it-yourselfer,” there are some good books out there. How to Pay for College Without Going Broke by Kal Chany is good, but a little too complicated for my liking.
There’s a bunch of websites that offer help, including the FAFSA site itself. And each college publishes a Net Cost Calculator designed to help you forecast – not improve! – your financial aid offers.
I’m holding a new workshop next week at the Bryant Library in Roslyn. It lasts about 90 minutes, and is designed to help “forgotten” middle-class families – who think financial aid is not for them – to learn about available tuition discounts.
* How to fix things if you’ve saved in the “wrong” places
* How a mild-mannered college finance guy extracted an EXTRA 30,000 clams (per year) from a top college, after it’s supposedly “final” financial aid award
* The strange, counter-intuitive “secret” formula used by financial aid offices to determine your award
The workshop is already 79% full but we still have seats left for you and a buddy!
Hope to see you next week,
– Andy Lockwood