March 19, 2012
What are the best resources for students and parents when searching for scholarships? To start, you need a plan. Think about how much time you can spend on the process, how early you can start, who can help, etc. Some advice – you can never start too early or get enough help.
I can provide a few links to resources but would love to get your thoughts and suggestions.
For searching, try the Student Scholarship Search website which offers a free open directory of thousands of awards, grants and scholarships. Their new design offers tools for saving scholarships that are relevant and tips for improving your chances of qualifying. They recently published Scholarship Search Mistakes which lists the top 5 mistakes students make when searching for scholarships.
Another great site is http://www.scholarshippoints.com which gives out scholarships every month with a chance to win $10,000 every 3 months!
What are you favorite resources? Do you have any advice for the rest of us??
August 28, 2011
Struggling with finding the last dollar to pay that college tuition bill??? Here is a good overview of the challenges and some options to manage them…
It is no secret that college is expensive and tuition costs are continuing to rise. We put together the infographic below to examine the costs associated with a college education, including the hidden costs you may not be factoring in like health fees, gas money, entertainment and all the Red Bull you’ll consume during finals. The graphic also outlines how funding occurs and how students can fill the gaps left in paying for college. Feel free to share with your fellow students, friends and family!
September 10, 2009
The EFC, or Expected Family Contribution is the amount you and your family is expected to contribute towards college education.
The federal government gives you an official federal EFC calculation after you have complete the FAFSA form. This calculation determines family resources available from a family’s income (less allowances for taxes and living expenses) and assets (less allowances for retirement). A percentage of these available amounts are earmarked as EFC. Read more about the Cost and your EFC.
The EFC formula is used to determine the EFC and ultimately determine the need for assistance from the following types of federal student financial assistance: Federal Pell Grants, subsidized Stafford Loans (though the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan [DL] Program or through the Federal Family Education Loan Program [FFEL]), and assistance from the “campus-based” programs—Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study (FWS).
July 8, 2009
Yup, you read that right.
The feds decided to provide veterans with a stipend equaling the cost of the most expensive public state school. Which is great if you live in New Hampshire – that’s $25K.
In California, it’s a whopping $0. Turns out, it’s illegal to charge tuition at public schools in California (though the thousands of dollars in fees seems to be legal… but that’s another story).
I grant you, it’s still a lot better than the old bill – it provides full in-state undergraduate tuition and fees as opposed to the old monthly stipend.
But what sounds like a great deal – providing the equivalent about to a private school- turns out to be a crappy lottery depending on where you live. I’m in Massachusetts. Veterans here will get about $2200 a year which is useless in a state that has some of the highest tuition and cost-of-living expenses.
Veterans are being penalized by states that have worked hard to keep tuition low.
And what about veterans pursuing graduate degrees?
Looks like Congress created a monster… again…
July 1, 2009
Welcome to the next fiscal year, and along with it come some great changes for borrowers.
- The maximum Pell Grant amount increases to $5,350 for the 2009-10 school year, a 13% increase from last year.
- The fees to originate a new loan fall by half of a percentage point. Next year, it will fall by that much again. The changes will free more money for those students to use for tuition.
- “IBR” plans come into effect – income based repayment. Borrowers may be eligible to reduce their monthly payments based on their income. Also, teachers or those working in other forms of public service can reduce their payments based on their public service salary.
June 24, 2009
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is expected to unveil a new, simpler FAFSA form at today’s daily White House press briefing. This is great news for frustrated parents and students everywhere.
We don’t have too many details yet beyond the following:
- Online form will shrink from 30 screens to 10
- Obscure questions that target a tiny fraction of students have been dropped, such as the question about “special combat pay”
- Questions re-phrased to sound less encyclopedic. CNN cites the following example:
“At any time… did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?” will now be, “Are you homeless?”
Click here to read CNN’s article. I’ll update as more news arrives.
May 6, 2009
So it’s May, you have your award letters. You don’t get enough financial aid from any school. What now?
How about delaying admission for a year and taking some online classes to get requirements out of the way? It’s certainly cheaper than tution at your first choice university.
Yes, I know this isn’t what you want to hear. There’s been a trend recently that people are entitled to a degree where and when they choose, but the reality in these tough economic times is that we have to make hard decisions. That may include either not attending the school of your choice, or delaying admission while you take classes online or at a community college.
Seriously, you should look at this problem from a completely different angle. You have options that you likely have not considered yet.
April 23, 2009
The Wall Street Journal has a great new article that evaluates 529 plans, taking into account the current economic meltdown in a study by Morningstar Inc.
Here’s an excerpt:
“The report… found that several plans were caught off-guard when their investments in some of OppenheimerFunds Inc.’s bond funds reported sharp losses. In other plans, the asset-allocation mix in the popular “age based” portfolios — which turn more conservative as the child nears college — turned out to be riskier than expected.
Such factors knocked several well-regarded 529s off the best list this year, such as Illinois’s Bright Start College Savings Program, which had offered the Oppenheimer funds that imploded and still has money in them.”
To see the best and worst, click here to view the entire article.