Stressed trying to figure out how you’re going to pay for college?

Look beyond the sticker price.
Get a customized report comparing the true cost of your top three colleges.

Trying to figure out which college to attend is complicated. You have to consider factors such as class size, distance from home, graduation rates, and of course, financials!

As a parent, does this sound like you?

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Trying to figure out how much college is truly going to cost and how to pay for it is stressful.

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Financial aid is a confusing process and I don’t know how to navigate it.

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I want to encourage my child to take the lead with this decision, but it’s a big step and I don’t always know how to balance it all.

As a student, does this sound like you?

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Academic pressures are mounting, and testing and stress about admissions are just too much.

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Thinking about student loan debt scares you, and you don’t know what the path is to minimize it.

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There are so many decisions to make, how do I know which college is the right choice for me?

When you truly understand the financial implications of the colleges on your short list you can start to work your way through your other criteria.

Get Your FREE College Money Report

What’s included:


Overview of how financial aid works.


How much colleges think your student can afford to pay for one year.


What types of grants or scholarships your students could qualify for.


How much will you be expected to pay out of pocket each year for education for 3 schools of your choice.


Detailed information about those 3 schools.


Examples of schools that would be good values or overpriced for your student.


What to do next.

“College is scary for kids and parents but Ryan helps ease some of the financial worries with his knowledge of the systems and how to best tackle the next chapter of your lives.”

– Amanda W.

“My stress levels have officially gone down about 5 notches. Thank you Ryan of shlepping me out with this college loan craziness!!!”

– Saree Janz

How it works:

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Take 2 minutes to answer a few questions, including 3 schools you are interested in.

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After submission, you will receive a customized report tailored to your unique mix of finances, family, student, and school selection.

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You will then receive information on how to schedule your 1:1 review of the report.

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This is a great start, but what do you do next? Don't worry, we've got you covered with follow-up actions you can take to ensure you are sending your student to the right college at the right price

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Who is Ryan Keel?

Ryan Keel is a Fargo/Moorhead native who attended Oak Grove Lutheran High School and NDSU. After nearly 20 years of working as an independent financial advisor he realized there was a disconnect between the investment world and the college financial aid world. The cost of college was treated primarily as a savings issue and without understanding how financial aid works, we were sometimes doing more harm than good for our clients. After years of learning all he could about the process, he saw that it was a better use of parent’s time and money to plan ahead and pay LESS rather than having to save MORE. So like any entrepreneur who is full of more optimism than common sense, he quit his career as an advisor and created College Smart. About the same time he realized that he had become very, very boring and set out to be part of the community. Since then he volunteered as the Community Outreach Coordinator of a pet rescue for 5 years, and now helps run an animal sanctuary in what little free time he has. He also found a whole world of fellow do gooders who have renewed his faith in humanity and shown him how important it is that we work together.

Need more support?

We offer two additional levels of support.

Access to the MyCAP Online Platform

  • Learn the true 4-year net cost and how affordable it will be for your family at nearly every college in the country.
  • Access to a large private scholarship database.
  • Compare financial aid rewards and learn how to get more money from colleges.
  • Learn how to pay the bill, and if necessary, which loans to take. 

The College Smart Method

  • Comprehensive 9-Step Program: Our signature College Smart Method is a step-by-step framework that guides parents through the entire college planning process.
  • Designed specifically for busy parents who don’t want to tackle the college process on their own.
  • Save time, reduce stress, and spend less money on college tuition.


When will we receive the report?

It should arrive in your inbox within several minutes. Be sure and check your spam folder if you don’t see it.

What ages do you work with?

For comprehensive planning and school selection, we prefer to start the students Freshman year. This gives us time to take advantage of as many planning opportunities as we can. For parents with younger students, who aren’t sure the best way to save for college, we recommend starting as early as possible. You will want to know how different savings options will affect financial aid before you chose one. 

What if we have more than 3 top choices?

Our MyCAP customers enjoy access to the full online program with unlimited schools to compare.

This information would be great for our students! Do you do group presentations?

We LOVE doing group presentations, either in person or virtually, for students, parents, and businesses.

Do you help families save for college?

While we have decades of experience in the investment industry, we specifically created College Smart to be as unbiased in our advice as possible and so do not sell any insurance or investment products. We provide education to parents and grandparents on understanding financial aid and the impact of different investment plans, empowering you to make informed choices on your own or with the help of your investment advisor.

Where were you when I went to college?

This is by far the most common question I get from parents. I too wish I would have had someone to help me with all of this before I did everything wrong while going through the process.

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