May 2, 2014

Insurance Options for Students and Recent Graduates

Posted in Graduate Students, Parent PLUS Loans, Saving for College, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , at 10:00 AM by InsuranceGuru


Now that summer is coming, you might want to consider insurance options for your son or daughter who is heading off to school next fall.  Your best bet to start, read this article on GradInsurance.com:

Choosing a Student Insurance Plan

There are many factors to consider.  Start with listing out your priorities, needs and special circumstances.  Talk with your school officials, your insurance agent and friends.  Then do your research.  Most importantly, read the terms of the policy you are considering buying very carefully.  Many policies will appear to cover one thing but when you read the exclusions, that one thing is excluded…

Some sites for student insurance to help in your research:

If you choose a plan that is not one offered by your school, you ill likely be asked by the school to complete a waiver. To be eligible for waiver of the university-sponsored insurance, the student’s insurance plan must meet some or all of the following criteria.  You school’s list may be different so check with them…

To be eligible for waiver:

  1. The plan must cover a minimum of $500,000 US in medical benefits due to illness, accident, or injury per plan year.
  2. The plan must have a deductible of no more than $5,000 US per covered person per plan year. (Note: Plans without a deductible meet this requirement.)
  3. The plan must cover prescription medications both in the hospital and out of the hospital to a minimum of $100,000 US per plan year.
  4. The plan must have no restrictions for coverage of any pre-existing health condition.
  5. The plan must cover biologically-based mental health conditions at the same level as other medical conditions.
  6. The plan must cover care related to pregnancy and delivery, including newborn care for the first 30 days of life.
  7. The plan must not exclude care for self-inflicted injury, intercollegiate athletics, and recreational activities.
  8. The plan must be in force for the duration of the academic year, or through the end of the month in which graduation occurs or the student’s academic program ends.

Above all do your research so you can make an educated decision.

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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.

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 27, 2011

Five websites to help pay for college

Posted in Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 9:35 AM by plusloans


Here is a list of 5 useful websites from Edvisors that will help you pay for college:

1) http://www.StudentScholarshipSearch.com – Offers a free open directory of scholarships for college.

2) http://www.ScholarshipSearch.com – A college student membership rewards program; join, earn points, win free scholarships!

3) http://www.StudentLoanNetwork.com – Everything you need to know about student loans and a great overview of financial aid in general.

4) http://www.FinancialAidNews.com – Daily news updates on financial aid, scholarships and paying for college.

5) http://www.FinancialAidForum.com – A financial aid discussion board discussing all things relating to paying for college.

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.

April 26, 2010

Parent PLUS Loan Rejected. What Now?

Posted in Grants, Parent PLUS Loans, Stafford Loans, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , at 10:49 AM by plusloans


Getting a loan rejection letter can be very disheartening and exhausting after the work you put into helping your child(ren) pay for their education. However, there are still ways to gain more financial aid through what is called an “appeal” process.

Most schools have these in place and you can get the specific details through their financial aid department. The most common way this process is handled is by sending in proof of income and a formal letter stating exactly where your finances are at, and why you or your child needs more money for school. It is best to do this process as early as possible because as the months move forward toward the beginning of the academic year, the financial aid pie is allocated to students on a first-come basis. Read the rest of this entry »

March 5, 2010

Running Out of Time for the FAFSA

Posted in FAFSA, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , at 3:33 PM by plusloans


Attention parents! Today marks March 5, and school financial aid deadlines are here, or very close. The majority of schools require all paperwork to be in during this month in order to fairly distribute financial aid and have plenty of time to assemble students’ award packages.

So, what can you do to make sure it all goes smoothly?

1. Make sure your taxes are filed.

This may be a “what?” moment if you are new to the FAFSA process and/or this blog, but in order for your child or ward to file their FAFSA, they need information from you. Specifically, they need your Annual Gross Income figure from your 1040 or 1040EZ form.

If you are the type to hold off on filing taxes until April’s cutoff date, you are putting the student in a diminished position to get the maximum amount of aid possible for the upcoming school year. If you absolutely must hold off, have them file with the previous year’s numbers and then submit an amended FAFSA as soon as your taxes are complete. You can find all the relevant forms and processes on FAFSAOnline.com.

2. Gently, but firmly remind your child.

Nobody likes paperwork. However, if you and your family need aid money from the government or school to pay for your child’s education, you can’t afford to let the FAFSA sit on the back burner. If necessary, you should put a day on your calendar (in the very near future) to sit down with them and help them complete it; this will ensure it gets done, and is filled out correctly.

If you need any advice, or would like to know more about how the FAFSA works, check out the FAFSAOnline.com blog for lots of relevant and interesting posts.

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