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“Important Parent Meeting” About College Funding, Yet Sponsor Withholds Identity from Mailer

September 22, 2019

On September 13, 2019, I received a mailer that at first glance appeared to be one that my southern Louisiana school district might send: No frills; just an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of white paper, xeroxed ad folded three times. However, in the place of the return address was written, “Important Parent Meeting.” No address, obviously a means of getting people to open and read the mailer. This would be unusual for our district, which identified itself in the return address as the sender of mail. Still, I thought, it could be the district.

Except for the Cleveland, Ohio, postal permit.

IMG_1576 (1)

When I opened the mailer, the first words at the top, in large type, were, “Free College Workshop.” As I continued to read, I realized that I was being invited to a meeting requiring a reservation for attendance and promising lots of “FREE” help with college financial aid, including learning

  • How to send your child to a private college for less than a state school
  • How to create a plan to pay for college in an economy without relying on 529 plans, expensive private student loans or raiding your retirement accounts
  • How to lower your “out of pocket” costs and get the maximum amount of financial aid from each school
  • How to increase your college-related tax deductions and tax credits

Sounds great!

To seal the deal regarding the marvels of this *FREE College Funding Workshop,” at the bottom of the flier were several supposed testimonials:

“Guessing I’ll gain thousands of dollars of financial aid just from what I learned in the first 30 minutes.” –Robert T, Parent of High School Junior

“Opened my eyes to look at colleges we thought were out of our price range.” –John S., Parent of High School Junior

“Extremely informative presentation– clear, concise and easy to understand.” –Emily W., Parent of High School Senior

“Where were you when I sent my first kid to college?” –Jeffrey W., Parent of High School Sophomore

Lots of words on this mailer.

Lots of enticing promises.

Not one hint of who sent it. Not even a “sponsored by” in the finest of print.

IMG_1577

Someone wanted me to trust him/her with my financial planning without trusting me to make an informed decision about who, exactly, was asking to handle those finances.

That really bugged me.

I went to the online reservation site, mylocatevent.org,  to see if it identified the sponsor of the event, the only identifier I discovered was in the url once I entered the RSVP code:

http://www.mylocalevent.org/rsvp-events/nick-sept-26/

Whoever “Nick” was, this was his event.

I decided to contact place where the event was to be held, the Covington Firehouse Event Center, for information about the “FREE College Workshop” event sponsor.

I found the phone number for the reservations host, which led to an email address.

On September 20, 2019, I sent the following email to City of Covington facilities director, Amy Tucker:

Hi, Amy.

I live in Madisonville, and I last week, I received an invitation to attend an event to be held at the Covington Firehouse Event Center on Thursday, September 26, 2019, at 6:30 p.m..

The mailout only indicates that this is a “free college workshop,” but it includes no information about who is hosting the event.

I was hoping you might be able to tell me.

Thank you.

–Mercedes Schneider

Within minutes, I received this response:

Hi Mercedes,

Nick Randazzo with Northshore Capitol Planning rented the venue from me.

Hope this helps,

Amy Tucker

Nick.

Nick Randazzo is a local guy. His business, North Shore Capital Planning, was started in 2014 and includes college planning as a service.

On September 20, 2019, after receiving Tucker’s email response, I emailed North Shore Capital Planning. In the subect line, I wrote, “free college workshop”:

Hello, North Shore Capital Planning.

I received one of your “important parent meeting” flyers for the event scheduled for Sept 26 in Covington.

I noticed that nowhere on this flyer do you identify yourselves as the hosts of the event.

Why did you choose to conceal your identity?

Thanks for responding.

–Mercedes Schneider

As of this writing, I have received no response.

More about Nick:

According to Randazzo’s LinkedIn bio, as of January 2017, he is also “director of agent develoment” of Houston-based College Funding Evolution:

Director of Agent Developement

College Funding Evolution

Jan 2017 – Present

Houston, Texas Area

College Funding Evolution is built for advisors, by advisors, as a turn-key urgency-based marketing system designed to meet the needs of financial advisors looking to re-invigorate and/or jumpstart their careers in financial services. College Funding Evolution helps guide financial planners and their college bound clients through the overwhelming and often grueling experience of college admissions and financial planning.

College Funding Evoution apparently sells “help” to finacial planners. It is on file in Texas as Studemont Group College Funding Solutions, LLC, as of August 2014.

Companies leading to other companies, leading to other companies.

From the College Funding Evolution home page:

THE TOP 5 ADVISOR MISTAKES IN COLLEGE PLANNING

  • null

    Selling Future Needs Instead Of Immediate Needs

  • null

    Being A Pushy Salesman VS Trusted Advisor

  • null

    Failure To Charge Fees In Addition To Commissions

  • null

    Not Seeking The Starving Audience

  • null

    Doing The Same Things Over And Over In Business And Expecting A Different Result

    ABOUT US

    College Funding Evolution was founded as a turn-key urgency based marketing system designed to meet the needs of advisors looking to re-invigorate and/or jumpstart their careers in financial services. The old “cookie-cutter” seminars, expensive steak dinners, and product based approach is dying if not dead.

Randazzo apparently wants to be the “trusted advisor” to a “starving audience” (no free steak dinners, heh). But he doesn’t want that audience to know who he is before they blindly agree en masse to his mystery “workshop.”

But the College Funding Evolution home page has more info, much more. Buried among the words is what appears to be the hub of the entire enterprise: My Tuition Score (highlighted by me):

College Funding Evolution was founded as a turn-key urgency based marketing system designed to meet the needs of advisors looking to re-invigorate and/or jumpstart their careers in financial services.

The old “cookie-cutter” seminars, expensive steak dinners, and product based approach is dying if not dead. John has built College Funding Evolution to meet the immediate needs of advisors looking to truly make a meaningful, tangible, positive impact in their clients lives while minimizing client acquisition costs. Marketing can be expensive and suffocating to a business if it is inefficient. College Funding Evolution has solved that problem. Older “social security” and “retirement” prospects will gladly eat an advisors meal and consume lots and lots of time only to “think about” moving forward. College Funding Evolution has a built in urgency that prospects breathe and feel. Our advisors don’t have to push clients into action. College Funding Evolution prospects are bringing their entire financial lives into the first and second meeting without having to convince them to. College Funding Evolution was built for agents by agents.

Benefits of Our Services

Coaching

Personal Success Coach who will provide weekly coaching, mentoring, and accountability “check-in” calls to keep you on target, executing your plan, and staying focused

My Tuition Score

Full access to My Tuition Score- The premier financial aid planning software (that is used on every single one of your Free Consultation appointments)

Training

Monthly Coaching & Advanced Sales Training Calls (Two per month!) with world class industry coaches & top-of-the-top producers to help you grow your practice

Membership

Membership in Peace of Mind College Consulting’s admissions and financial aid service center

Access 

Access to attend Live College Funding Evolution Universities

Personalised Service

Personal Strategic Business Coach to help with case design/support and provide ongoing training of the College Funding Solution

I think My Tuition Score– the software “that is used on every single one of your Free Consultation appointments”– is the cornerstone of this entire, multi-LLC, college-financial-advising gig.

More on that front:

I remembered seeing Peace of Mind (POM) College Consulting as a “strategic partner” on Randazzo’s North Shore Capital Planning site, and here it is again on the College Funding Evolution site.

The POM “about” page indicates that it is “a proud member of the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling.” As of March 2015, POM College Consulting LLC is on file with the Ohio Secretary of State (entity # 2373668).

POM College Consulting is registered in Solon, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.

Cleveland, Ohio– as in mailer postage paid by permit from. (Side note: I originally tried to track Randazzo by the postage permit and on September 18, 2019, spoke with the postal inspector’s office, but I was advised that I might well reach only a third party, which likely would have turned out to be true in this case. I may have received news of POM but likely not Randazzo. Though I have not confirmed it with the postal inspector, it appears that POM has the postal permit connected to Randazzo’s mailer.)

The POM “about” page exclusively features My Tuition Score, including the following 2-minute video on My Tuition Score:

My very abbreviated cite from the My Tuition Score info on POM’s “about” page:

A Tuition Score is a unique and comprehensive preparation tool for families with children in the college planning phase. The Tuition Score takes the overwhelming and extraneous amounts of information and narrows it down to the most critical aspects of college spending specific to your family.

There is no other college preparation tool on the market that merges financial methodology with educational guidance in the way that the Tuition Score does.

What will the Tuition Score Report include?

Your Tuition Score Report will include crucial information such as:

  • Your family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC)—the minimum amount your family is “expected” to contribute towards the cost of college— and more importantly, an explanation of what it means, how it applies to your “actual” contribution amount, and how that will affect your overall cost to attend a selected school
  • The money needed at the time college will begin. This is based on current and future available savings allocated for college, cash flow, need-based aid available (never guaranteed) at the selected school, historic school generosity percentages, and your EFC
  • The total gross cost of the selected school, based on future projected costs for the years that your student will attend
  • Up to 9 suggestions for colleges in your desired geographic area that most likely provide a return on college investment upon graduation—i.e. you will experience a higher likelihood of getting placed in a job in a chosen field at, or near, the top of the pay range
  • Tips on the entire college planning process, including myths versus truths. These tips help families easily avoid costly mistakes in the complex financial aid process
  • Our proprietary college loan manual which highlights your college loan options, providing a full analysis of each
  • A full scholarship overview of what is available to your family and where to get these monies
  • A complete and updated list of the Top 250 Need-Based Aid Generous Schools
  • Valuable information that can unlock exciting, money-saving opportunities at higher priced schools your child may not have considered
  • A deep discount on personalized email assistance with the entire college planning process

How much does My Tuition Score cost?

Families can obtain a Tuition Score and a family-specific report for FREE.

The full, comprehensive and all-inclusive report can be obtained for $79. In addition, you will receive five updated versions of the report absolutely FREE.

My Tuition Score is free at first to ostensibly whet the appetitte of parents facing funding their child’s college. Then $79 for the full report, which leads to “a deep discount on personalized email assistance with the entire college planning process” and maybe more financial assistance– for a price, of course.

After all of ths investigation of Randazzo’s mystery mailer, here is what I conclude:

  • My Tuition Score is likely the central feature of Randazzo’s “FREE College Workshop,” which is inarguably intended to yield for his company additional financial consulting related to college.
  • Randazzo could have identified himself and his company on his mailer (and allowed would-be participants to make an informed choice about their attendance) without revealing his My Tuition Score “secret weapon.”
  • Randazzo’s concealing his identity on his mailer does nothing to boost my confidence in him as a financial adviser.
  • Had Randazzo identified himself and his company on the mailer he sent to me, I likely would not have written this post.

mystery

______________________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

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Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

2 Comments
  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    This is a scam that few people would recognize. Great work again, but wishful thinkins–it would be wonderful is a lawyer could shut this operation down, or in your next fabulous career you became a lawyer.

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