tuitioncoachlogo.bmpTuitionCoach is a San Mateo start-up that helps guide families through the bewildering college funding process.

It raised $250,000 in an angel round last December from Vinita Gupta and Ashok Vaish, and launches officially tomorrow.

This is a useful site, because it provides personalized help. There are other sites that provide information on the college funding process, including, and individual college Web sites that help with calculating costs. But Fineaid doesn’t provide the sort of personalized handholding that TuitionCoach provides, and college sites have a conflict of interest, because the more they teach you how to save, the less money they’re likely to get — so they don’t indulge too much.

tuitioncoach.bmpTuitionCoach starts by taking you through a module that figures out how much college will cost you, depending on your own financial resources. If your high school teenager has saved up $10,000 for school, it will show you how this will hurt his or her financial aid, because it gets taxed at 35 percent by financial aid formulas. TuitionCoach does things like assess the financial aid packages schools award you by assigning it a grade (see partial screenshot here) and providing tips for how to negotiate for a better deal.

The site lets you do a basic cost calculation and do some planning for free, but most of its goodies come as part of the $59 subscription. There is a basic tour here.

Founders are Paul Wrubel, a college admissions expert, and Monisha Perkash, who has MBA and MA Education degrees from Stanford. They may consider raising a first round of venture capital after they get through the launch, Monisha said.

College costs have risen 35 percent over the past five years, according to the College Board. There’s an average of one guidance counselor for every 284 high school students in the nation, according to 2004 data from the U.S. Department of Education.

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