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) – Offers a free open directory of scholarships for college.

2) – A college student membership rewards program; join, earn points, win free scholarships!

3) – Everything you need to know about student loans and a great overview of financial aid in general.

4) – Daily news updates on financial aid, scholarships and paying for college.

5) – 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.

August 18, 2009

Do I need the FAFSA?

Posted in FAFSA, Parent PLUS Loans, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , at 8:37 AM by Joe From Boston

Yes, if you want the PLUS Loan, you need to fill out the FAFSA.

All Federal loans require the FAFSA to be filled out – this includes PLUS, Grad PLUS, Stafford and Perkins loans.  Even many scholarships require the FAFSA.
Also, remember that financial aid is first-come, first server, so next year make sure you get it in early!  File it in January if you can.  If you need to make an amendment, that’s fine, but get it in early!  Money is tighter than ever these days.

April 16, 2009

About to attend a public school in Georgia? Your tuition is going up

Posted in Saving for College, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , at 10:19 AM by Joe From Boston

Remember back in 2006 when Georgia decided to freeze tuition at your freshman-year price for all 4 years?  Well, if you’re about to enter school, that’s no longer the case!

According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the Board of Regents voted unanimously this past Tuesday to discontinue the policy.

The good news is, if you enrolled under the policy, it will continue for you, but will not apply to new students.

November 22, 2006

Scholarship Scammers – avoid them!

Posted in Grants, Scholarships, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , at 2:29 PM by Joe From Boston

The St. Paul Pionner Press has a great article on scholarship scams that you all should read. I’m copying it below.  I’d recommend visiting for some great scholarships – and it’s completely free!   Also, you can download the third edition of their eBook free in PDF format, Student Scholarship Secrets.  It’s jam-packed with lots of tools and hints for how to track down scholarships.

Scammers line path to college cash. Why pay for scholarship info — it’s plentiful and free
With tuition costs rising, the scholarship hunt has become as ingrained in the college experience as midnight studies over a hearty bowl of Ramen noodles. But as students and parents search for scholarship money, they can end up getting scammed out of their own cash.

That’s why St. Thomas University biology sophomore Michael Blissenbach thought twice about the letter he got in September from a company called USA Scholarship Services. It said he’d been selected to apply for up to $7,500 worth of scholarships “designed specifically for students majoring in biology.”

For $25, the company seems to offer customized scholarships, with a hint that the information can’t be found elsewhere.

So he sent in the money and agreed to let the Watchdog know what happened. In the meantime, she investigated further.

The company had no Web site, and it was difficult to get a real person on the phone. A Google search turned up a warning on the admissions office Web site for Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, cautioning students about USA Scholarship Services and advising them to call the Better Business Bureau.

The Better Business Bureau in Washington, D.C., where the company is located, listed USA Scholarship Services as having an unsatisfactory record. The bureau still has unresolved complaints on file regarding the company, said Edward Johnson, the bureau’s president and CEO. He noted the bureau has received 983 inquiries about the company in the past 12 months.

“We have concerns over their business practices,” Johnson said. “Primarily the advertising.”

College students or their parents typically receive an unsolicited letter indicating the company has specialized scholarship information for certain fields of study. But what arrives in the mail is nothing more than information the student could have found free on the Internet or from a school guidance counselor.

“There are a lot of red flags going up here,” said Barb Grieman, vice president of the local Better Business Bureau. That the company required payment for scholarship information, lacked a Web site and rarely had some available to speak to were warning signs that the company could be a scam, she said.

For Blissenbach, those warning signs proved true. A few weeks after he sent in his application and money, he received an envelope with 24 incomplete, photocopied scholarship offers, many with out-of-date information. Sixteen of them had nothing to do with biology.

Ike Onwo, the company’s owner, said it was Blissenbach’s fault for not reading the letter carefully.

“If you don’t like the services we offer, don’t fill out the application,” he said. “Whoever sent you this letter is just ignorant.” He insisted the original letter that goes out to students urges them to call for their money back if they’re unsatisfied with what they receive.

But the letter states only that you may get your money back if you “fail to qualify” for at least $1,000 in scholarships, and you have to send in proof that you applied for the scholarships and were denied.

Onwo also maintained this scholarship information couldn’t be found anywhere else.

Blissenbach disagrees.

“It was just a stack of photocopied information that looked like it was old — like it was written on a typewriter,” Blissenbach said. He added that he could have gotten better information through his school or from online databases at no charge.

Experts say that’s exactly what you should do.

Financial aid advisers can’t stress it enough — you shouldn’t have to pay for information on scholarships.

“Remember, the whole idea for a scholarship is that you don’t have the money, and you need to find it,” said Carrie Dieveney, who helps Century College students find financial aid.

Advisers at big universities and small community colleges alike said most of the scholarship information students need is available through their college or on the Internet. Any financial aid office could have found more accurate and complete information for Blissenbach, said Dianne Danov, associate director of the University of Minnesota’s Office of Student Finance, when she was shown what he got from USA Scholarship.

As for the company’s promise to find scholarships specific to his major, she said that’s something colleges can do, too.

Talk with an adviser or go to the school’s financial aid Web site, she says.

“Financial aid advisers are here to help students find a way to pay for college,” Danov said. “It’s our job.” “