Tag Archive | Financial Aid

Financial Aid Information

The best resource page for all things financial aid is the following: www.finaid.org

The following are the links to specific pages, a loan calculator, and the information about private student loans, and interest rates.

Loan Calculator:

Here is a link for a loan calculator, this is a resource given by the federal government:

http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml

“This Loan Payment Calculator computes an estimate of the size of your monthly loan payments and the annual salary required to manage them without too much financial difficulty. This loan calculator can be used with Federal education loans (Stafford, Perkins and PLUS) and most private student loans. (This student loan calculator can also be used as an auto loan calculator or to calculate your mortgage payments.)”

“The Federal Stafford Loan has a fixed interest rate of 6.8% and the Federal PLUS loan has a fixed rate of 7.9%. (Perkins loans have a fixed interest rate of 5%.)”

Private Student Loan Interest Rates

http://www.finaid.org/loans/privatestudentloans.phtml

The current (weekly) interest rates are:

  • Prime      Lending Rate: 3.25%
  • LIBOR      (1 month): 0.29%
  • LIBOR      (3 months): 0.42%
  • 91-day      T-Bill: 0.09%

So a private student loan will have an interest rate of 3.25% plus the LOBOR percentage, and they are based on credit, so these rates are only for the most credit worthy. Students must co-sign with parents or someone with excellent credit history.

I could attach my student loan bill, or show students the $3,500 I am paying every month so we can get out from under my loans this year. Student loans should be a LAST resort, and going to a two year is still an excellent option for the financially wise.

College Life Planning is here to help plan for all your college admissions and financing needs. We hold a creed here, “know before you go.” This is means that before you decide to take out student loans, know what that might look like for you after you graduate! This means that before you go to college, know why you want to go, and what kind of major you might be going for! This means that you have all the knowledge and power, then make wise choices as you move into your college life, and then your career after life.

Tips to get more Scholarship Money:

The FAFSA is the primary document students and parents will fill out to receive federal financial aid. There are several types of federal aid that comes through the FAFSA:

  • Direct Loans (Subsidized/Unsubsidized)
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunities Grant (FSEOG)
  • PELL Grant
  • TEACH Grant (for Teachers Education)
  • Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
  • The National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART)
  • Institutional Grants

On top of these funds, there is also Campus based aid available:

  • Work Study
  • Perkins Loans

After this, there isn’t much else. So what happens when the Award Letter (this is from the school and explains how much aid students are awarded) doesn’t match the cost of going to the school? SCHOLARSHIPS!

The key to earning scholarships is 3 fold. This is of course speculation and opinion. While I wish I could say this is a sure-fire way to do it and I promise you’ll get more scholarship alas, I cannot. There are however some tips I can give you  to help make yourself more appealing.

  1. GRADES: This may seem simple to you, but grades are very important! Most scholarships include a “need” based caveat, but you often can’t apply without having a GPA above a 3.0. Study hard and keep your GPA up. This helps on a number of different levels: (1) It helps build self discipline, (2) It will help get you into college (or a better college) and (3) it will help make you attract more scholarship opportunities.
  2. Quantity: Our whole lives we have been taught “Quality over Quantity”. In this case, we need both! One author suggested applying for at least one scholarship every day for at least 6 months. That is 182 scholarships minimum! That may seem like a lot, but I can show you how to do it.
  3. Quality: This is more than just having correct grammar and sentence structure. While that is important, what you write about is also important. Most of the time scholarship judges are also professional essay readers, and they may read a thousand essays just to pick 1 out of 5000 applicants (quantity is important!) Writing about things you are passionate about, writing in a colorful manner, and creating content that speaks loudly are just a few ideas for writing essays that stick out. I can also help create high quality essays for scholarships.
  4. Activity: Stay active in the community. Get involved in politics, helping the homeless, or some other social service that appeals to you. You’ll find yourself growing in ways you never thought possible, and you’ll become passionate about things you never knew you were passionate about. This will come out in your writing and help you develop some life goals and direction.

I can help if you are looking for scholarships. Feel free to contact me!
http://www.collegelifeplanning.com

Nathan Cornett
619-823-5974
nathan@collegelifeplanning.com

8 Ways to Trim College Costs

SOURCE: http://www.thirdage.com/college-planning/8-ways-to-trim-college-costs

Dear College Money Guru,

I’m only 15 years old, but after watching my parents put my sister through college, I realize they’re going to need help. Since I don’t have a college fund, how can I save or put away money strictly for college?

— Tori

Dear Tori,

It’s wonderful (but, alas, not too common) that you are thinking ahead and looking to save for college. Many parents struggle to afford college for their children, and your folks will appreciate anything you do to help.

The most effective way to help your parents is to make colleges want you as their student. That means taking on a challenging high school curriculum, achieving high grades, scoring well on standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT, and becoming a leader outside the classroom in one or more activities for which you demonstrate a passion.

Those activities can involve music, sports, volunteerism, politics, international travel and just about anything else that will make your college application stand out.

Most of the Ivy League schools have recently revised their aid policies and are spending more of their endowments to make college affordable for moderate-income families.

For example, if Harvard accepts you for admission, and your family income is below $180,000, your annual cost at that school will be capped at 10 percent of your family income. And Harvard is just one example.

Only a small percentage of students are able to gain admission to Ivy League and similarly endowed schools. But while less-selective colleges may not have the resources of a Harvard or Stanford, they are just as interested in attracting a diverse and high-quality group of students.

Many will offer generous grants or tuition discounts beyond the standard need-based financial aid package to students who demonstrate exceptional talents and academic prowess.

Here are some other things you can do that will help bring down the cost of college.

4 ways to bring down college costs:

  • Consider a public school. Your in-state public university offers a great education at subsidized tuition prices. However, as discussed above, many private colleges will bring down their prices for the right applicants.
  • Think about your goals. Start investigating the schools you are most interested in while carefully weighing academic and career goals. The wrong choice can be expensive if you later decide to transfer schools or drop out entirely.
  • Enroll in advanced placement. Look into advanced placement classes at your high school. Many colleges accept AP for credits, which can reduce the time you spend in college. In some cases, you can substitute a year at a local community college for your senior year in high school.
  • Research scholarships. Visit your high school counseling office or your public library. Or, search for free scholarship sites on the Internet. When the time comes to apply, you should have already developed a sound strategy for seeking out scholarship money.

With regard to saving money, my suggestion is that you open a Roth IRA and contribute as much as $5,000 per year with the unspent earnings from your job. The Roth IRA will not count against your federal financial-aid eligibility, although the school may count it in awarding institutional aid.

If you choose to do so, you can pull out your Roth IRA contributions at no tax cost to pay college expenses. However, I suggest you take loans for the first three years and wait until your senior year before tapping your Roth IRA. That way, the distributions will not have to be reported as income on your financial-aid application.

Remember that although the law allows you to tap your Roth IRA contributions to pay for college, you’ll be even better off in the long run, leaving the money untouched so it can grow for your retirement. Only use these funds for college as a last resort.

The worst mistake would be for you to keep large amounts of money in a bank account or mutual fund. The funds will be counted heavily against you in determining your eligibility for financial aid, and the interest, dividends and capital gains from your taxable investments may become subject to the expensive “kiddie tax.”

If you cannot open up a Roth IRA because you do not have job earnings, your next best options would be a 529 plan or a Coverdell education savings account. Learn more about the advantages of these vehicles at Savingforcollege.com, a Bankrate company.

To ask a question of the College Money Guru, go to the “Ask the Experts” page, and select “college financing” as the topic.

Bankrate.com is the Web’s leading aggregator of information on financial products including mortgages, credit cards, new and used automobile loans, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. Visit Bankrate.com to get the tools and information that can help you make the best financial decisions. No virus found in this incoming message.

Read more: http://www.thirdage.com/college-planning/8-ways-to-trim-college-costs#ixzz0o2ANmmED

10 Free Online Calculators to Estimate College Costs

Wondering how much college is going to cost you? You can calculate tuition, living costs, student loan debt and other common college costs using these free online college calculators.

1.) CNN Money College Cost Finder

CNN Money is the perfect place for aspiring college students to begin estimating college costs. The site’s college cost calculator can find the cost of any U.S. college or university. All you have to do is type in the name of the school or search for the school by state.

2.) CollegeBoard College Cost Calculator

The CollegeBoard College Cost Calculator can help you estimate college costs in today’s dollars or supply projected costs adjusted for inflation if you do not plan on attending college immediately. Actual costs are provided for users who have a particular college in mind, and average costs are provided for users who aren’t sure which school they will attend.

3.) NY Times College Cost Calculator

This free online calculator from The New York Times can estimate the future costs of tuition, fees and room and board based on the rate at which college costs typically increase. The calculator works well for students who plan on attending college one year from now, 10 years from now or 20 years from now.

4.) FinAid College Cost Projector

The FinAid College Cost Project helps students estimate how much college tuition will cost when they are ready to enroll in a college program. The calculator uses an average inflation rate of 7% and can estimate the cost of a two-year college or a four-year college.

5.) Edwise Online Financial Planning Guide

Developed by EdFund and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), the EdWise Online Financial Planning Guide can help students estimate college costs, create a college budget and calculate student loan costs. The guide works best for users who have personal financial information, estimated college costs and financial aid award information.

6.) College Tuition Planner

Salary.com’s College Tuition Planner helps students estimate how much they need to save for college based on their age, college location and the duration of college programs. The planner can also estimate average costs for students who aren’t sure which school they will attend in the future.

7.) MSN Money Tuition Savings Calculator

MSN Money’s free online calculator is designed to help parents estimate the costs of college and establish a realistic savings goal. The calculator projects how fast tuition is rising and how much interest can be earned from savings accounts.

8.) Salary.com Cost of Living Calculator

This free online calculator from Salary.com helps students estimate and compare the cost of living in 300+ cities around the nation. The calculator works especially well for students who will be living off campus because it provides the salary needed to maintain your preferred standard of living.

9.) Citi Student Loan Calculator

Citi Student Loan Calculator

The Citi Student Loan Calculator is an excellent tool for students who are trying to determine how much they need to borrow to cover college costs. The calculator considers everything from tuition and itemized fees to school supplies and room and board.

10.) Sallie Mae Loan Repayment Calculator

Sallie Mae’s Loan Repayment Calculator displays monthly payments as well as interest payments under various repayment plans so that students can calculate the differences and choose the best loan repayment option.

12 Money-Management Tips for College Students

By Lucy Lazarony

Don’t toss that final suitcase in the SUV and start the drive to college just yet. Here are a dozen tips to help you manage your money so the last two months of the semester aren’t spent munching stale potato chips in the dorm room or scanning the sidewalks for dropped change.

1. Track it.
Track your spending for two to four weeks to find out where your money is going. Are four trips to Starbucks a week really necessary?

“They don’t realize how much they spend on little things,” says Vickie Hampton, a financial planner and an associate professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbuck, Texas. “That’s the most common revelation.”

Mark Oleson, director of a financial counseling clinic at Iowa State University, adds, “Usually, just by tracking expenses, you’ll start to curb expenses.”

2. Get a plan.
The best way to manage your money over the course of a semester is to sit down and map out a budget. List sources of income such as scholarships, loans, money from summer jobs and cash from your parents as well as expenses, such as tuition, books and groceries.

3. Good time money.
If you know you need to buy a new CD or go to concert or a party every week, make room for that in your budget.

“You need some entertainment,” Hampton says. “A student is going to get really burned out if you don’t do anything fun.”

4. Pace yourself. If you spend, spend, spend at the beginning of the semester, you could be tapped out later. Give yourself a spending limit for each week. Stick to it and you won’t have to eat macaroni and cheese every day in December.

5. Go easy with the credit cards.
“One quick way to spend beyond your means is to charge it,” says Mallary Tytel, president of Healthy Workplaces.

Use credit cards sparingly. Once you get into the habit of reaching for a Visa, it can be hard to stop.

“I saw a student pick up a bag of chips and charge it,” Tytel says.

Who wants to pay interest on a bag of Doritos?

6. Set your own credit line.
Just because you have a credit card with a $2,000 credit line doesn’t mean you have to spend $2,000. If you know you can only pay back $500, then just spend that.

Afraid you’ll spend as long as there’s room on the card? Call your credit card company and request your credit limit be lowered. Keep at it. Card companies will try boost up your credit lines so you spend more. Tell them “no” each time they try.

7. Get real. You can do what you want, but you can’t do everything you want. You’re going to have to make some choices. Whatever you choose is going to cost some money. Be realistic.

“You need to understand you can’t have everything and you have to understand there are consequences,” Tytel says. “At some point there needs to be a reality check in terms of what things cost. Most kids have no idea.”

8. Stuff happens. If you bust your budget on something you really, really want to do this week, make up for it next week.

If you find that you must go out to dinner and a movie one week, spend the money; be satifisfied with the decision, and commit to staying home, eating at home and not making any other purchases the following week.

9. Look ahead.
Whether it’s a road trip with friends or an auto insurance bill, if you know a big expense is coming, start putting some money aside to pay for it.

“It’s a lot easier to set aside $50 every month than to come up with $300 when the bill is due,” Oleson says.

10. Get in touch with your roomie.
Contact your roommate before the semester starts and divvy up expenses. Chat about who will bring a refrigerator and who will bring a microwave.

This way you avoid duplicating purchases and excess spending, but will still have all the conveniences to make college life easier.

11. Spread it out.
“Most of the big expenses are at the beginning of the school year,” Tytel says. “Buy books as you need them. That will spread out expenses.”

Don’t forget to check out prices from online bookstores. They may give you a better deal than the campus bookstore. Buy used books whenever possible.

12. Ask for help when you need it.
“It’s very difficult to say ‘I’m in trouble and I need $2,000’ or ‘I spent my student loan money,'” Tytel says.

Screw up some courage and phone home. The longer you put it off, the worse things get.

Find this and more at: http://www.thirdage.com/college-planning/12-money-management-for-college-students

Scholarship Search Services: Find Scholarships Online

Use the Internet to Find Scholarships

— Article Courtesy of Scholarship Experts

Okay, so you are ready to tackle the daunting task of finding scholarships to pay for college. And you want to use the Internet to expedite your search process. But there are so many scholarship services out there: which ones should you use? How do you know what qualities and features to look for in a scholarship search service? Should you use a fee-based service or a free one? And how do you avoid getting scammed while looking for awards? Use the following guide to determine what to look for and to help you find the service that will best fit your scholarship needs.

Profile Matches Are Key

First and foremost, find a scholarship search service that has sophisticated matching technology. A good scholarship search service will match the personal information you provide to them with scholarships that you are eligible to apply for. This will minimize the time you spend browsing through lists of awards, and will give you more time to actually work on the application process itself. Beware of simple keyword search services or services that only ask a few questions about your background. Many such services will return hundreds of scholarships for you to wade through, consuming valuable time that you simply don’t have. Look for services with easy-to-use, thorough profile pages that generate results closely matched to your profile.

Up-to-Date Scholarship Information

Secondly, find a scholarship search service that provides accurate and up-to-date scholarship information. Reading requirements for scholarship programs from two years ago will not help you at all; in fact, using outdated information will simply slow your progress in actually securing scholarship funding for college. Remember, you need to find a service that offers scholarship information for the current academic year. Don’t waste your time on websites with out-dated contact lists, broken application links, and discontinued programs.

The Privacy Policy

Do not become part of a spamming list! When you fill out a profile with a scholarship search service, the service collects and stores your personal information; such profile information is necessary for accurate scholarship matching. Make sure you read the privacy policy for any service you use so you know what happens to that personal information once you enter it into the website. Some websites actually make money by selling your information to third parties that want to advertise to you. Be very careful about giving out your personal information to companies without credible, clearly stated privacy policies: the last thing you need is an email inbox full of spam and a mailbox full of junk mail.

An Easy Process

Make sure the service is set up to save you time. If you take the time to fill out the profile, make sure the information is saved so you don’t have to start from scratch each time you want to look for more scholarships. Also, make sure there is a way to edit and update your profile, in case you change your major or improve your test scores or change your mind about the college or university you want to attend. Search services with such customer-oriented features will save you time and frustration in the search process, and that’s what you should be aiming for: saving time, avoiding scams, and finding money to pay for college!

For additional information about this topic, visit www.ScholarshipExperts.com.

Copyright © 2000-2002 by ScholarshipExperts.com, All Rights Reserved. ScholarshipExperts.com is a registered trademark of Group 77, Inc.

FAFSA

So it is 2010, this means it is time for a new FAFSA! And you don’t want to wait! The sooner you can get your FAFSA in order, the more likely you are for grants like the FSEOG and TEACH. If you have your 2009 taxes done, go get your FAFSA completed. If you need help, let me know!