We are a community of financial aid specialists, college admission experts, student services coaches, and financial professionals that recognize that choices regarding college can have a significant impact on your financial wellbeing. We are experts when it comes to financial aid options and regulations. We help to build strategic plans for you to increase financial aid packages, scholarships, and grants to discount the overall out of pocket cost to you and your family. Below, you can get to know our team.
Founder – Financial Adviser
College Planning Specialist
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CEO & Financial Adviser
College Planning Specialist
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Thomas is the founder and president of Plan on College. He has over 15 years of experience helping families successfully strategize their college planning efforts while saving them money and time in the process. His unique blend of credentials as a licensed financial adviser and Certified College Planning Specialist allows him to provide a holistic approach to college and retirement planning.
After seeing countless families for financial and retirement counsel, most with their retirement savings in shambles due to the high costs of their children’s college, Tom had a vision of how familes could have the best of both worlds. He strategically positions clients for maximum grants and scholarships on their children’s college education while creating a financially secure plan for their retirement years.
Thomas is highly sought after as a speaker for private groups. He teaches classes on retirement and the college funding process regularly throughout Illinois and is an author/co-author of several books on college planning. He teaches adult continuing education classes on retirement income and tactical college planning strategies at the University of Illinois and other college campuses throughout the Chicagoland area.
In his free time, Tom enjoys activities with his family, reading, travel, sports and has a great passion for cooking. He lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his loving wife and business partner, Sonia, and two beautiful kids, Szymon and Natalia and their big, playful dog, Auron.
Kasia prides herself on being a holistic Financial Adviser. Her passion in financial planning is simple, showing clients how to pay the least amount of taxes and fees possible and lose the least amount of money, preferable zero. Kasia is a teacher at heart and believes an educated client is a happy client. In that light, she puts a strong emphasis on teaching her clients and helping them to make wise decisions about their money.
Kasia’s passions range far beyond money and finances. She loves helping other organizations like the Polish Women in Business, Polish American Contractors and Builders Association. She has a lovely son Michael with whom she enjoys playing basketball, golf, and eating cheese Ruffles on Friday movie night. Her core life values are to be loving and forgiving to all; to strive for greater intelligence and growth; to be kind in every situation; and to have the courage to speak the truth.
Jackie is our Director of College Planning with Plan on College and is accredited as a Provisional Member with the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA). She works with parents and students to educate them through the college planning process and ensures each family is moving smoothly along their individual timeline. She started her professional career working in a financial aid office, processing loans and guiding students through the FAFSA. Jackie’s firsthand experience with the internal processes of the college maze provides a vital asset to our team.
“When a college receives a student’s financial aid application, it is apparent if they have planned smart or not. After seeing many families forfeit financial aid dollars because of mistakes and finance entire degrees with loans, I felt a strong desire to educate families on the importance of planning ahead, before the FAFSA gets submitted. Because of ‘gainful employment’ laws, I was not in the position to give such advice while employed as a school’s financial aid advisor. That is when I joined the Plan on College team and found my calling.”
Outside of work, Jackie enjoys baking and decorating specialty cookies. Her core mantra is “balance” so she equally enjoys staying active with yoga, boxing, and weight training.
Kelly originally joined MC2 Wealth Management and Plan on College in 2016 as the Client Services Coordinator, but transitioned into the Director of Financial Services role in 2017. Kelly works directly under the Financial Advisers to assist in the beginning stages of client financial plans. She also plays an integral part in the annuity and life insurance application process with clients and organizes the workflow for the business.
Kelly enjoys being a part of such a close-knit team and prides herself in her organizational skills and the ability to manage confidential client information with a high degree of integrity.
Outside of the office, Kelly loves to travel to new places with her husband, Zach. She is also a licensed cosmetologist, enjoys cooking, and is a former Knox County Fair Queen.
Colleen joined Plan on College and MC2 Wealth Management in 2018. She serves as the first point of contact for clients when they come into the office. Colleen helps to plan and coordinate all aspects of financial and college planning seminars, schedules client meetings and carries out general support for our families to navigate the college financial aid process and design an effective retirement plan.
In her spare time, Colleen loves spending quality time with family and friends, especially when it comes to spoiling her twin nieces. Colleen also enjoys traveling, event planning, and decorating her home. She is currently attending school to become a nurse, with interests focusing on nutrition and dermatology.
Our College Counselor, Cari, earned her Master of Science in Education from Indiana University in 2000. She began her career as a financial aid administrator at Columbia College. It was there that she really learned the “business of college” and how financial aid relates to the college application process. She has also worked as a counseling internship supervisor in the School Counseling graduate program at DePaul University; this experience really solidified her desire to concentrate on college counseling.
Currently in her role as a school counselor, Cari is adamant about ensuring that all students have equal access to the tools that will lead to academic success and prepare them for life post-graduation. She continues to seek out meaningful professional development opportunities to benefit her practice, including but not limited to, attending the FAFSA Expert Training workshop and completing a College Counseling program with The Academy for College Admissions Counseling.
In her free time, you can often find Cari in Madison with her husband (an avid Badgers fan), kids, and puggle or by herself at Core Power Yoga!
As a career coach, Ms. Pelaez brings clarity, meaning, purpose and direction to the career development process. Her coaching method eliminates stress and anxiety and it is comprehensive and inspiring.
Her individualized and personal approach creates an invaluable working partnership that empowers the student and provides an early edge by focusing on their talents, strengths, interests, personality and values. She is the bridge between the gap of what is and the potential of what could be. Ms. Pelaez is passionate about her work with college-bound students and she is dedicated in helping them find their passion in life through career coaching.
Meghean joined the Plan on College team in 2015 as our essay editor. She is a graduate of Boston College where she majored in English and minored in secondary education. After six years of teaching high school English, Meghean received her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from San Diego State University.
After the birth of her first child in 2005, Meghean decided to pursue a job with more flexibility. She got her start as an essay editor at First Choice College Placement where she guided students who were applying to college through the entire essay process beginning with brainstorming and culminating in a completed essay. Meghean enjoys helping students portray themselves in the best possible light for a college admissions officer. She also takes great pleasure in alleviating the parents’ and students’ stress levels and making it a fun experience for everyone. Over the years, Meghean has worked with thousands of students across the country and has interacted with multiple admissions officers.
During her free time, Meghean enjoys staying active by playing with her four children, her husband Mike, and her dog, Lucy.