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.

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:

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 22, 2009

President’s official higher education agenda

Posted in FAFSA, Legislation Affecting Students, Parent PLUS Loans, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , at 7:16 AM by Joe From Boston

There’s no change to report in President Obama’s agenda from what it was 3 days ago on hi campaign website, but I thought I should point out that his higher education agenda is now official and listed on the White House’s website:

  • Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit: Obama and Biden will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students. Recipients of the credit will be required to conduct 100 hours of community service.
  • Simplify the Application Process for Financial Aid: Obama and Biden will streamline the financial aid process by eliminating the current federal financial aid application and enabling families to apply simply by checking a box on their tax form, authorizing their tax information to be used, and eliminating the need for a separate application.

September 17, 2007

Scholarship Soap Box – Part 1

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

Scholarships are all in the mind.

No, really, it’s true.

I hear from people alot that scholarships are hard to find and for such small denominations that they’re not worth it. My immediate response is “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?”

People, lets look at this logically:

  • Scholarships
  • Student Loans
    • You MUST pay them back, plus interest
    • You often pay more than double the original loan amount.
    • Federal loans often don’t cover all your costs, forcing you to look at private lenders which have even higher interest rates

So you have to fill out an application and maybe write an essay. So what?

You spend 20 minutes writing an essay and another 10 minutes filling out the application, for a scholarship worth $500. If you win that scholarship, you’ve essentially been “working” for a “salary” of $1000 per hour. Man, I wish I could make that.

Yeah, $500 doesn’t sound like months when you’re chipping away at $30,000, but if you win 6 $500 scholarships you’ve just covered 10% of your college costs. That is definitely worth it.

If you’re avoiding scholarships, you’re just plain lazy and I would even say you don’t deserve the money.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of this rant.

February 26, 2007

FAFSA Questions Answered!

Posted in FAFSA, Grants, Legislation Affecting Students, Saving for College, Scholarships, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:31 AM by College Admissions

The New York Daily News had a great article on paying  for college, written by George Chin, CUNY’s director of financial aid, with a wonderful Q & A on Financial Aid and the FAFSA Application  that I’m including below:

What information is used to calculate the estimate?

The adjusted gross income (as listed on your tax returns) of you and your parents. Other key factors are assets, family size, the age of the parents and number of kids in college. A student with family income of $38,000 and few assets obviously has a better chance of getting aid than one from a family making $180,000 with a portfolio of investments and a summer home.

What’s considered an asset?

Parental assets include equity in a second home, stocks, bonds, college savings plans, businesses and farms (there aren’t too many of these in our area!). Students’ personal savings, businesses, stocks and bonds are also considered. The main residence and retirement plans such as 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts are not included.

Are we expected to use all of our assets to pay for college?

No. The formula acknowledges other important expenses, such as saving for retirement. An “asset protection allowance” also is applied to offset a family’s net assets.

My parents are in their 60s. Does that affect the calculation?

Absolutely. The asset protection allowance, recomputed annually, grows as parents grow older.

Does a student get a break if more than one child is in college at a time?

There’s an adjustment lowering the estimated contribution. With two kids in college, the estimate for one is roughly halved; for three, it’s cut into thirds, etc.

How is family size a factor?

Income is offset based on household size. A family of four with one child in college has $23,560 offset against income. A family of six with a kid in college gets $32,510 offset.

Is the estimated contribution what we’re expected to pay the college in cash?

No. Part of it covers costs normally incurred for kids in school, such as clothes and food. You cover the rest from savings and loans.

Will all colleges rely on the estimated family contribution to determine whether I get financial aid?

Yes and no. All colleges use the amount for federal aid. Info from the College Board is another measure used by many, more expensive private colleges when they award institutional aid. The College Board system, called Profile, collects more financial data than the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for a more complete analysis of a family’s ability to pay. Under FAFSA, for example, 7% of gross income is offset as an allowance against local taxes. Profile applies different offsets to different income levels. For all colleges, fill out FAFSA first. Colleges will tell applicants if they require a Profile form, as well.

How high can my estimated family contribution go?

To $99,999 (no need-based aid there). If you attend a modestly priced private school or CUNY and have annual school costs of $11,000 and an estimated contribution of $11,000, you won’t qualify for aid. Your estimated contribution is the same whether you apply to CUNY, Harvard, NYU or Stony Brook University. It’s based on your finances, not your school.

For more advice, visit: