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"I Don’t Do Magic, But Sometimes I Do Work Wonders"

Getting the aid you deserve can be an intimidating process
- it doesn't have to be.

Schedule A Strategy Call

Getting the aid you deserve can be an intimidating process
- it doesn't have to be.

"I don’t do magic, but sometimes I do work wonders"

We’re on a crusade to help families on their journey to uncover
the best/most aid available

Schedule A Call

Because of The Experience I Had 25 Years Ago...


More than twenty years ago, on a lark, I founded what would ultimately become College AidWorks. A friend was frustrated and confused by the terminology and by a process that wasn’t very transparent.

I helped her and she told two friends and so on and so on. Next thing you know, I’ve got a business.

What started out as a seasonal side business has grown into a full fledged year round business in it’s own right. Little did I know in 2001 that an experience that I had 18 years earlier would be coming full circle for me.

Why I'm Uniquely Qualified To Help YOU:

In my final year of high school, I started the admissions season with four colleges in mind (That was a lot for the 80s.). I finished the season 2-1-1*. 1* was a DNF, meaning Did Not Finish... the application.

I figured what was the point? I had already been accepted to my number one choice school: Rice University.

Rice was top on my list because I thought that I wanted to be a biomedical engineer and an alumni recruiter for another college told me that at her job they hired graduates with a Bachelor’s degree from Rice for positions that required a Master’s degree from other schools. That was enough for my 17 year old logic.

5Ā Five Financial Aid Essentials

...You Need To Know Before Your Studentā€™s Senior Year

Unfortunately, I Didn’t Get Financial Aid 


Looking back, I’m not sure if it was my parent's financial situation or errors made on the form that cost me financial assistance. I suspect that it was probably a combination of the two.

So, instead of being an Owl, I am a Bruin.

I discovered that most schools are the same. Did I get a good education at UCLA? Yes. Did I make great friends? Yes. Did I have a good time? Uh.. Yeah! Was my experience different than it would have been had I gone to Rice? Definitely.

Different but not better or worse.

Fast Forward To My Graduation

...from UCLA with a degree in French with Economics. (Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?! Turns out that I preferred studying French and Economics to Integral Calculus...Go figure. I like math & numbers, just not like that.)

I learned a lot from my own experience and those of the people I help. The biggest lesson being that everyone ends up exactly where they’re supposed to be...even if we don’t know why at the time.

Now that I've got kids of my own, I understand wanting to give them the best shot at the top colleges on their list.

Over The Last 20 Years, I’ve Also Learned Some Other Stuff Too


  • How important it is for parents to understand the rules of a game they don’t even realize that they are playing.
  • It’s just as important to have a financial safety school as it is to have an academic safety school. And, that it’s even more important that they be one in the same.
  • How a family could be shooting itself in the foot if it doesn’t figure out its aid eligibility before the college list gets finalized.
  • How to create a plan of action for getting through the entire process with the least disappointment possible and so that students receive full consideration for all aid available to them.
  • A systematic way of determining where a student’s best chance of securing the available financial aid.

You Kind Of Know What I Can Do & Why. 


  • All work completed for clients is done in our office, by our staff. We don’t outsource work to a third-party service. Quality control and confidentiality is important to us.

  • You'll understand the What and Why of everything I tell you.

  • I’ve always got an encouraging word, speak in plain English, no jargon, and no blowing smoke.

  • I can usually manage to work a relevant quote or a quick story into almost any situation that will help paint a picture that drives a point home or bring a little levity to a stressful process (If it’s not a song or movie quote then it’s a southern saying my mother drilled into my head).

  • In addition to owning College AidWorks, I head Hancock Wealth Advisory, a state registered investment advisor where I offer financial planning for a fee. I specialize in college funding, equity compensation strategies and retirement planning.

  • I don’t do magic, but sometimes I do work wonders.

She's The Best

“I was a single dad with two high school/college kids and was overwhelmed by the whole college process. I would have been unable to complete the financial aid process without Stephanie's help. She's the best.”
Curtis Graham, Los Angeles, CA

Ms. Hancock Is Well Worth Her Services.

We could never have managed financially to send our daughter to a school like Vassar, but with Stephanie's advice and assistance, our daughter is there at an affordable cost to us. 

John Achorn, Venice, CA

I've Referred Her To Numerous Friends

Stephanie helped us with all the financial questions associated with college searches for our daughter. Her advice on income, assets, grants, scholarships and loans was clear and to the point. She made the potentially complex and intimidating simple and manageable.

Ian Ruskin, Los Angeles, CA

5Ā Five Financial Aid Essentials

...You Need To Know Before Your Studentā€™s Senior Year