Monday Money Tip: Home equity is worth a look for college fund

Posted: June 17, 2014

Home equity is a decent option to help finance a college education.

"Traditionally, you can tap equity in your home to fund college," said Karen Robbins, with UBS's Philadelphia complex of 90 financial advisers. She also has clients with $250,000 to $500,000 of investable assets using it as collateral for lines of credit.

For the rest of us, home-equity loans offer a fixed interest rate, averaging 6.79 percent for a $30,000 loan. Home-equity lines of credit (HELOCs) have a variable interest rate averaging about 4.57 percent, according to

One advantage over education loans? Interest on home-equity loans and lines of credit is deductible up to $100,000 for debt taken out to pay for college, according to the brokerage firm Fidelity.

But money received through a home-equity loan is considered an asset once deposited into your checking or savings account, and may raise your expected family contribution. If this is a concern, you may want to rely on a HELOC instead of a home-equity loan and pay college bills as soon as you receive the money, which will not affect your EFC.

Qwafafew Philly

It's a drinking club with a quantitative problem.

Herb Blank started a group of investment "quants" to compare research about the markets. Blank called the group Qwafafew ("quaff-a-few") and started it at a bar in New York City.

Now, he's opening a chapter in Philadelphia.

The name is a double entendre. It also stands for Quantitative Work Alliance for Applied Finance Education & Wisdom.

Meaning? Investment professionals quaff a few drinks in a relaxed atmosphere while sharing analytical research pertinent to the investment industry. It's not for the amateur investor, but for those interested in quantitative research. Still, it's a lot of fun.

Save Wednesday, June 25, between 5 and 7:30 p.m. for the first local Qwafafew meeting, at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia, 215 S. 16th St.

The Philadelphia chapter's pilot meeting will include three presentations: "A Systematic Approach to Country Allocation for Equities" by Ruben Falk, senior director, global investment management product segment, S&P Capital IQ; "Personal 22-Year History in ETFs in 12 Minutes" by Blank, managing director ESG Solutions, S-Network Global Indexes, and "Opportunities in Financial Risk Management" by Neville O'Reilly, associate director of financial statistics and risk management at Rutgers University.

For details or to RSVP, contact Ralph Giraud, director of the Financial Markets Lab, School of Business at Rutgers (



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