About Us

We’re on a mission to make dream colleges affordable for families. Read our story below and learn why we’re passionate about what we do.
Read Our Story

Our Story

Mike Velasco, Founder of Red Oak College Planning

How It All Started

Red Oak College Planning began after Haley, my oldest of three children, started the college application process. Once she got into it, we found the process to be quite complex and overwhelming. Even though I had a background in accounting, I wasn't prepared for the college financial aid process.

Like most families who had saved for college, I became dismayed at the negative performance of our 529 plans. After suffering some significant losses, I began to look for safer, more effective ways to save for college.

I knew there had to be a better way...

I made it my personal goal to learn as much as I could about college financial aid. Countless hours were spent researching the college market, attending financial aid training sessions, and discovering the best strategies to increase the amount of awarded aid.

Red Oak College Planning is Born

My children became my lab experiments, and we were able to maximize our financial aid and get them into their preferred colleges. Thus, Red Oak College Planning was born in 2011.

Since then, I have worked with hundreds of families in helping them plan for college more effectively. Red Oak meets each family where they’re at, guiding them every step of the way in their college journey. Our ultimate goal is this: To have your children get into the preferred colleges at the lowest, out-of pocket cost to you.

As part of our service, we offer a free, one-hour consultation. During this session, we’ll review your specific financial situation while showing you:

  • how to pick colleges that will give you the most amount of money
  • steps you can take to triple your eligibility for financial and merit aid
  • how to send your kids to the school of their dreams without going broke
  • how to create a financial plan that pays for college and protects your assets
  • what your expected family contribution (EFC) is for financial aid purposes
  • how to find scholarships and grants you've never heard of
  • and how to legally lower your expected family contribution

Some families become clients of ours, where we help them with all financial aid forms and written appeals for additional aid. Other families leave our one-hour consultation armed with the right knowledge to increase their financial aid. We can also advise families on which colleges to choose, what classes to focus on during high school, and how much student loan debt they can reasonably afford.

Finally, we offer peace of mind for families like yours, so you can sleep better at night knowing you have completed each step in the college financial aid process correctly and on time.

To your success,

Mike Velasco
Founder of Red Oak College Planning