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We are college planners.


We help Atlanta families plan for college.

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We are college planners.


We help Atlanta families plan for college.

What we do

We are Atlanta's 529 plan alternative, a research-based college planning firm. We teach families how colleges really work. Typically, two opposing players emerge when families consider college selection. On one side is the college, with an aim to acquire your student (via scholarship) at the lowest price possible. On the other side of the equation is you, with the goal of getting your student into the best possible school at the lowest possible price.

Most families must come significantly out-of-pocket for costs not covered by scholarship funds. Some students, however, get paid significant amounts to attend college or even go for free. How does this happen? What variables lead to this outcome? In addition, most of our students are not finishing college on-time. With most grants and scholarships only covering our students for 4-years, taking on additional years to graduate can quickly alter a family's financial picture.

Bottom line, families with the right information can leverage their students into the right school at the right price. Variables can be measured and weighed before implementing various and proven college selection and funding strategies. We will help your student graduate on time and help your family find the money to pay for college. Let us show you.


Fig. 1a & 1b - Most Georgia students do not graduate within 4 years. This is also a problem on the national level.

Graduation Rate 1st Time Full-Time Student: Bachelor's

Graduation Rate 1st Time Full-Time Student: 2-Yr Assoc

Graduation Rate 1st Time Full-Time Student: 1-2 Yr Cert

Source: Complete College America |  www.completecollege.org


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FInd your fit


How do you find a college? We'll show you.

FInd your fit


How do you find a college? We'll show you.

Find your careerS. Find your majorS. Find your collegeS.

Yes, we do it in that order. Let us give you the tools you need for career selection. We don't need your student to narrow their career choice (or college choice) to just a single option. Are your student's career choices on the path to future growth? What are the starting salaries? What are the various entry points to that career? We can explore multiple career and major options. This shapes our college search. This shapes our strategy. With the right majors, we can find the right colleges. 

With close to 4,000 public and private colleges in the United States, college selection can be a daunting task. How do you know if the college you want is a good fit for your student? How do you find the colleges that have your student's majors? We take what appears to be an overwhelming task and help you manage college selection in a more meaningful and effective way. The good news is that your student drives the process and picks the college. Your student engages the process instead of the other way around. Even if your student changes their career or major, we can show you a path to keep them on track.


Fig. 2a & 2b - Most students clearly don't have a plan. Students change majors frequently and many don't finish on time.

Students change majors 80% of the time.

National Center for Education Statistics - 2013

Only 44% of students earn a degree within 6 years

National Student Clearinghouse - 2013
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College is expensive. Costs increase an average of 5-8% each year.


College is not what it used to be. Everything has changed.

College is expensive. Costs increase an average of 5-8% each year.


College is not what it used to be. Everything has changed.

Where will the money come from?

Let's face it. Most families take loans. Student loans have become an epidemic in this country with so many families left with excess debt. Think of the overall negative economic impact. How long will your student have to wait before they can buy a house or even start a family of their own?

We work with many families and introduce them to strategies that they didn't even know existed.  We find that traditional financial planning and accounting strategies have left many families unprepared for college. Too often, college funding is the largest expense standing in the way of retirement. Alternatively, we can provide a path for families to coordinate existing financial plans with a mind for financial aid, retirement, and other life goals.


Fig. 3a - Student Loans have eclipsed other forms of non-mortgage loans in the United States since 2010.*

Non-Mortgage Balances (Billions $)

*Federal Reserve Bank of NY Consumer Credit Panel / Equifax as of 12/31/2014.

Fig. 3b - Georgia has the 2nd largest increase in the country with in-state tuition and fees for the past 5 years.*

2014 - Previous 5-Year % Increase in Tuition and Fees

*College Board 2014 Trends in College Pricing (Inflation Adjusted)

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Everybody has an opinion. We have research.


Cut through all the noise and opinions. Start with facts.

Everybody has an opinion. We have research.


Cut through all the noise and opinions. Start with facts.

Research-based decision making

Many colleges, even poorly rated ones, will highlight achievements while downplaying weaknesses. How do you sort out a college that is a fit versus one that is not? We think we have the answer. With over 20 years of research, we can show you how your student ranks within every college in the United States. Imagine evaluating colleges based on years of research and data instead of marketing hype or the limited experience of one or two counselors. Maybe we can even learn to look beyond rankings in a magazine that's published only once a year?

It's a new way of looking at college. Data is not the final decision maker, but would it not be a great place to start? With the right information could you predict which colleges are an academic fit and will likely admit your student? Could you also project and forecast a financial award letter from a college? Can you create a dynamic list of colleges that will compete for your student by increasing their award letters? With the right tools, anything is possible.

Our relationship with the College Funding Service Center (out of Waterford, CT) allows us to approach college planning in the most complete way possible. There is simply no other college research team like them. We help families find schools with the right academic and social fit, with a special emphasis on affordability. The College Funding Service Center carries an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. You can read more about their A+ rating here.


Fig. 4a - Less than 3 out of 10 students in Georgia keep the Hope Scholarship. Latest info as of 2018*

4-Year Hope Scholarship Retention %

University System of GA - 2012

Fig. 4b - A partial view of graduation rates by college. The majority of students in GA don't graduate within 4 years.*

4-Year Grad Rate % by College

*Chronicle of Higher Education - 2013

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A team approach is the best approach.


There is strength in numbers.

A team approach is the best approach.


There is strength in numbers.

Who we are

Unlike other college planners, we do this full-time. We are a team of college planning professionals and we utilize a research-based approach that has been helping students for over 20 years. We all have areas where we specialize because college planning is too big for one person to tackle alone. We primarily help families in Atlanta and our team has been hand-picked from the best in the industry. Each of our clients are assigned a minimum of 3 full-time professionals, sometimes more depending on the situation. We know that more heads are better than one. Game Theory College Planners works with an average of 120-150 clients per year and to-date has worked with over 1000 families.


DANILO "Danny" Umali 

Founder and Managing Partner - Game Theory College Planners

Danny grew up in Orlando, Florida but has called Georgia his home for more than than 24 years. Danny worked in retail operations management for over 12 years before being recruited to the financial services and wealth management industry. During this time, Danny focused on special needs planning and served on several school district “transition councils” for families with special needs. Due to Danny’s experience with local high schools, he was enlisted to build a new Atlanta area college planning firm in 2010.

In June 2014, Danny started his own shop to better serve his clients and Game Theory College Planners was born. By continuing his previous partnership with the College Funding Service Center, Danny now helps families in the Atlanta area and beyond by bringing the most comprehensive college planning approach in the industry. Danny is also a leading expert with integrating college admissions and social media. Game Theory College Planners became the first to incorporate professional guidance in this area with his partnership with Social Assurity. In 2018, Danny was invited to join the Board of Directors for Brandon Hall, where he currently serves as the Trustee Chair for Enrollment and Marketing.

When Danny is not college planning, he spends his time with Minis and Coffee, taming the twisty roads of North GA. You might also catch him watching flicks at his favorite theater, slurping-up ramen noodles in Sandy Springs, hanging out with his dogs, or working his deadlift at Crossfit. Danny currently resides in Dunwoody with Karen, his wife of over 21 years. - LinkedIn Profile

KAREN ROBERTS Umali

Co-Founder and Managing Partner - Game Theory College Planners

Karen, born in Oakland California, grew up in Peachtree City, GA where she attended McIntosh High School. Karen's strong administrative experience was obtained from working with several local small businesses and organizations including Fayette Medical Clinic, Georgia Power, and The Joseph Sams School. In 2011, Karen began her career in financial services and worked as the Director of New Business for 21st Century Financial before transitioning full-time to Game Theory College Planners in October 2016.

Let’s face it, Karen is the brains behind Game Theory College Planners. On a daily basis, Karen works with families on building financial plans and makes the key strategic business decisions that directly impact the client experience. When Karen is not running things, she spends her free time spoiling her niece and nephews. You may also catch her training with her Brazilian Jujitsu coach in Sandy Springs. -LinkedIn Profile

Sarah Perkins

First Level Consultant - College Funding Service Center

Sarah has been with the College Funding Service Center for over 10 years and has helped thousands of families navigate the college planning timeline. She has a wealth of experience in all aspects of the college admissions process including the filing of financial aid forms such as the FAFSA and CSS Profile. Sarah has helped many families obtain additional college funding through her understanding of the financial aid process and award appeals. Being a supreme multi-tasker, Sarah successfully serves many families in the challenging arena of college deadlines, due dates, and forms filing. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Connecticut and resides in Colchester, CT with her son. 

Jeff Sonnergren

Academic Advisor  - College Funding Service Center and President of Successful Education Solutions

Jeffrey “Jeff” Sonnergren is a critical team member of Game Theory College Planners and the College Funding Service Center. His contributions via Student Positioning perfectly complement proven college planning techniques and ideology. Jeff has coached and advised almost 1,500 students for nearly a decade. By helping students how to understand their strengths and motivations, he positions them for a great college fit and success (without overpaying) as they prepare for their career. As the founder and President of Successful Education Solutions, Jeff interacts via virtual meetings using powerful on-line tools to coach students across the country from his office in New York state.

Meredith Madden

Academic Advisor  - College Funding Service Center

Meredith earned her Masters in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco after graduating from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in Psychology. After moving across the country to rural New York and enrolling her youngest of two boys in kindergarten, she earned her Masters in School Counseling from Western Connecticut State University (2010). Meredith has always had a passion for helping others reach their full potential. Understanding that college is a huge investment for the entire family, she is enthusiastic about working with high school students and their families finding options for colleges that “fit” academically, socially, and financially. Meredith has finally found her place as a student positioner with the College Funding Service Center. She holds a Provisional Certification as a School Counselor and is a member of the National Association for College Counseling (NACAC) and the Dutchess County Counseling Association. 

Al Hoffman

Director - College Funding Service Center and President of the National College Advocacy Group (NCAG)

For over 20 Years, Al has directed the College Funding Service Center out of Waterford, CT. His experience with over 20,000 students is unique in the area of educational consulting. The Better Business Bureau has given this organization an A+ rating. Al pioneered the use of an award wining and proven student positioning system that emphasizes college selection based on three key criteria: academic, social, and financial fit. Al's further emphasis on affordability has made college attendance a reality for the families and students he served. The College Funding Service Center provides support to a select group of teams across the country, including Game Theory College Planners. Al is also co-founder, active Board Member, and President of the National College Advocacy Group (NCAG).

CESAR

CCG (Canine Companion & Greeter) - Game Theory College Planners

Rescued in 2013, Cesar provides the moral support and love we need to keep our company running. As a West Highland White Terrier, he brings a combination of even temperament and a little stubbornness to the table. Having never met a stranger, his friendly and outgoing nature continues to win the hearts of many. Cesar is currently our greeter and his primary function is to put smiles on faces and create warm fuzzies. Cesar's loves include terrorizing the cat that lives in our parking lot, chasing squirrels, and impromptu belly rubs.


Have Questions? Contact us.

You can send us a message by completing the form below. We read every single message and will get you a response ASAP. You can also call us at (770) 450-0768. If we don't pick-up please leave us a message. Either way someone will be in touch.

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Location


Come see us. We are easy to find.

Location


Come see us. We are easy to find.

Our Workspace

We are centrally located on the north side of I-285 at Perimeter Place, just across from the Perimeter Mall. This is a mixed-use development that combines shopping, good eats and workspace. There is plenty of free street-side parking and we are positioned street-level across from Panera Bread and Cold Stone Creamery.