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My son will be entering the 11th grade in the fall. While we have been doing some saving for his college the latest look at the accounts reveals that they will not be sufficient to cover expenses for the schools he is looking to attend. We have separate general savings, ~$50,000 and I am mulling over two options.

Option 1. Earmark the general savings we have, non-retirement, for his college to fill some of the gap. My concern here is that my guess is that such a large savings balance outside a 529, or retirement would be considered available for college expenses when need is calculated. Decreasing or eliminating aid until it is "used up."

Option 2. Use this savings to pay a large chunk on my mortgage. I think equity in the primary residence does not decrease the need calculation. My concern is that if the aid we receive is insufficient to cover the expenses we will need to draw on the equity requiring taking out a mortgage at higher rates than we have now.

Does anyone know of an online tool that can help me explore the effect on need calculations between the two options?

Also, are there other things that I should consider when making this decision.
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