October 19, 2012

Search for Scholarships with New Search Engine

Posted in Grants, Scholarships, The Financial Aid Process, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:11 PM by Joe From Boston


StudentScholarshipSearch.com has recently been redesigned and relaunched.  The goal of the new design is to provide better resources and tools for students in their search for scholarships and financial aid.  The new site offers a “Scholarship Matcher” tool allowing students to answer a few simple questions to get a short list of relevant scholarships.  Unlike other scholarship search sites wich require students to complete 3-5 pages of questions, StudentScholarshipSearch.com offers an open tool with no registration requirements.

Users are encouraged to search through custom lists of scholarships created by students, for students.  I especially like their “Tips and Advice” section.

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March 19, 2012

Scholarship Search Advice

Posted in Grants, Saving for College, Scholarships, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , at 9:49 AM by plusloans


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??

February 6, 2012

2012 FAFSA Application

Posted in FAFSA, Grants, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , at 1:31 PM by Joe From Boston


Remember to file your FAFSA early!  You must complete the FAFSA form in order to qualify for most federal and state financial aid, including most school based financial aid programs.  Check with your school to see their FAFSA Deadlines.

To file your FAFSA online, go to: http://fafsa.ed.gov

Common misspellings include: FASFA and FASA

December 28, 2011

Student Loan Options for 2012

Posted in Legislation Affecting Students, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , at 1:32 PM by Joe From Boston


Looking into our crystal ball, we see tuitions continuing to rise.  At the same time, state and federal governments are reducing the amount of funding available to pay for college.  For a quick refresher on your financial aid options, check out our Financial Aid Roadmap to get some insight.

The bottom line, you are going to have to be creative in funding your child’s education going forward.  Search for scholarships, talk with your financial aid office, ask friends and family for help.  As a last options, consider loans.  Some tops student loan sites include:

August 28, 2011

How do I Fill the Gap between what College Costs and the Financial Aid Awarded?

Posted in Graduate Students, Grants, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Saving for College, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , , at 12:48 PM by plusloans


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!

Link: http://www.privatestudentloans.com/fill-the-gap/

January 12, 2011

5 Financial Aid Tips for 2011

Posted in FAFSA, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , , at 1:19 PM by plusloans


Here is another list – this time about financial aid:

  1. Complete the FAFSA application to qualify for federal and institutional financial aid.  Applying early will increase your eligibility for aid.  Those who wait may loose out.
  2. Once you complete the FAFSA, apply for scholarships.  There are thousands of private and free scholarship programs.  Again, apply early to get the best chance of securing money for 2011.
  3. Research and apply for federal student loans.  These loans are great options.  The Stafford loan has a low rate and interest as well as payments are deferred until after graduation for the “subsidized” Stafford loan.
  4. Review private student loans and student loans from banks.  These loans offer some different options and may be at lower (variable) rates compared to the fixed plus loan rate.
  5. Dig deep into your savings – you’ll need it…

Good luck with funding the next year of school.  The costs continue to rise.

September 10, 2009

How is my EFC calculated?

Posted in FAFSA, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Saving for College, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , at 1:22 PM by Joe From Boston


Calculate your EFC

Calculate your EFC

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).

August 28, 2009

Financial Aid 101

Posted in FAFSA, Parent PLUS Loans, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:57 AM by Joe From Boston


With colleges heading back this week, you should have your financial aid already lined up, but it’s the perfect time to start planning for next year.

Let’s go over the basics:

* Fill out the FAFSA as early as you can.  Financial aid is first-come, first-served so get your paperwork in early.  If you ‘re waiting on a few last 1099s, use your existing paperwork to file early, and file an amendment when everything finally arrives.  If you use a tax prefessionsal, they will often file the FAFSA for you for little to no additional charge.

* You need the FAFSA for all federal loans, such as Stafford, PLUS and Perkins loans.  Some scholarships also require the FAFSA.

*Always exhaust your federal options first, such as Perkins, Stafford and PLUS loans, before looking at alternative sources of funding such as private loans or home equity loans.   Federal student loan offer borrower incentives and protections that you will not find elsewhere.

August 3, 2009

I love awarding scholarships

Posted in Scholarships at 11:46 AM by Joe From Boston


One of my favorite parts of working for the Student Loan Network is awarding scholarships, and today we gave away one for $10,000!

Congratulations to Tiffany Beebe of the College of Idaho!  All of us here who work behind the scenes for ScholarshipPoints.com are so happy for you!

Watch our live drawing held at 11am today.

February 17, 2009

Stimulus bill – the final version

Posted in Graduate Students, Grants, Legislation Affecting Students, Parent PLUS Loans, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged at 2:26 PM by Joe From Boston


With President Obama set to sign the bill (likely today), here’s what’s in the final draft, according to NCHelp.org:

Concerning provisions of interest to higher education and student lending, the measure would:

  • Provide $15.6 billion in Pell Grant appropriations.
  • Increase the maximum Pell Grant by $500 for 2009-10 for a maximum of $5,350; funding is also reflected to be sufficient to increase the maximum Pell Grant for 2010-11 by $500 to a maximum of $5,550.
  • Allocate $200 million additional funding for Federal Work Study programs.
  • Not subject private activity bonds issued in 2009-10 to the Alternative Minimum Tax and clarifies refunding exemption for bonds.
  • Increase the Hope Scholarship tax credit and make it partially refundable (40 percent).
  • Provide $74 million to the Department of Education for student aid administration and audits and investigations.
  • Create a $53.6 billion state stabilization fund.

The bill does NOT include an increase in the unsubsidized Stafford loan limit.

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