Education &amp; Training http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12010/all en-US Best Money Tips: Tips to Start Saving for Your Child's College http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-tips-to-start-saving-for-your-childs-college <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-tips-to-start-saving-for-your-childs-college" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-kid-2282909-small.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on saving for your child&#39;s college, moves to make at work this year, and ways money slips through your fingers.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/6-tips-to-start-saving-for-your-childs-college">6 Tips to Start Saving for Your Child&#39;s College</a> &mdash; Starting early and remembering that nothing is too small can help you save for your child&#39;s college. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Career-Resolutions-26565437">50 Small and Big Moves to Make at Work this Year</a> &mdash; Recording your achievements and setting monthly goals are two good things to do at work this year. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/11/11jan17e.cfm?slider">18 Ways Money Slips Through Your Fingers</a> &mdash; If you aren&#39;t using coupons or gift cards, you may be letting money slip through your fingers. [TheDollarStretcher.com]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/debt-and-marriage-what-you-should-know-before-the-wedding/">Debt and Marriage: What You Should Know Before the Wedding</a> &mdash; Before you get married, know the financial behaviors of your future spouse. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://frugalportland.com/how-to-save-half-your-income/">How to Save Half Your Income</a> &mdash; To save half of your income, pay off your most painful debt first. [Frugal Portland]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://andthenwesaved.com/7-signs-secret-cheapskate/">7 Signs That You&#39;re Turning Frugal Into a Dirty Word</a> &mdash; You may be turning frugal into a dirty word if you never give to others. [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="http://www.frugalconfessions.com/home-diy/5-frugal-mini-projects-to-contain-cabin-fever-this-winter.php">5 Frugal Mini-Projects to Contain Cabin Fever this Winter</a> &mdash; To contain your cabin fever this winter, make cake pops. [Frugal Confessions]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/invest-in-dividend-stocks-with-little-money/">How to Invest in Dividend Stocks for as Little as $10</a> &mdash; If you want to invest in dividend stocks, consider a direct stock purchase plan. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/window-bubble-wrap-heating-bills/">Cold Weather Spiking Your Heating Bill?</a> &mdash; Did you know bubble wrap can lower your heating bill while keeping you warm? [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/quit-my-job-work-for-myself/">What it Took to Quit My Job and Work for Myself in 6 Months</a> &mdash; Learning to give, get organized, and connect&nbsp;is&nbsp;essential when trying to work for yourself. [Careful Cents]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-tips-to-start-saving-for-your-childs-college" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Tips to Start Saving for Your Child&#039;s College" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training best money tips child college saving Tue, 14 Jan 2014 11:00:15 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1111157 at http://www.wisebread.com Can Borrowers Still Pay Off Their Student Loans in 10 Years? http://www.wisebread.com/can-borrowers-still-pay-off-their-student-loans-in-10-years <p>Absolutely. Not only is paying your student loan debt off in 10 years possible, I&rsquo;ll show you how to do it.</p> <h2>Putting Your Student Loan Debt in Perspective</h2> <p>First of all, let&rsquo;s discuss student loan debt in general. The average amount of student loan debt in America is $27,000. That might seem huge. But in fact, that amount is pretty manageable &mdash; especially when you consider that, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary of 2013 graduates is $44,928.</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s look at a hypothetical. Let&#39;s say that your career field has a lower starting salary than the national average, and you&rsquo;re only making $31,000 a year. If you were to make even payments for 10 years on $27,000 in federal student loans with the average interest rate of 6.8 percent, your payment would be about $310 per month. That&#39;s 1% of your annual income, and it&#39;s also the equivalent of a car payment &mdash; something that millions of Americans manage to budget for.</p> <h2>Remember, You Don&rsquo;t <em>Have</em> to Pay Your Loans Off in 10 Years</h2> <p>If that $310 a month still feels impossibly expensive &mdash; or your student loans are much larger than the $27,000 average &mdash; don&rsquo;t worry. The federal government offers several repayment options based on your income and student debt-to-income ratio. Whether you are unemployed, have a large salary but a large amount of debt to go with it, or otherwise have a difficult time paying your loans, these government programs should be able to help you out. See what you qualify for by visiting the Office of Federal Student Aid&rsquo;s <a href="http://studentaid.ed.gov/About/announcements/income-driven">income-driven repayment plans page</a>.</p> <h2>How to Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt in 10 Years</h2> <p>So, what to do if you don&rsquo;t qualify for income-driven repayment, or you just want your student loans to be gone in 10 years? Follow these steps, and you&rsquo;ll be more likely to have your loans paid off within 10 years &mdash; or possibly sooner.</p> <p><strong>Track Your Spending and Make a Budget</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s difficult to know how much money you can put towards your student loans if you don&rsquo;t know how much space you have in your budget. That&rsquo;s why need to track what you spend &mdash; and then, set a monthly budget so you can keep your spending under control. You can use a spreadsheet or pencil and paper, but I recommend making it easy on yourself &mdash; use a budgeting site like <a href="http://mint.com/">Mint</a> or <a href="http://youneedabudget.com/">You Need a Budget</a>, which automatically track your spending for you.</p> <p>When you&rsquo;re making your budget, make sure you designate some money for fun every month, such as a couple of dinners out with friends or tickets to a concert. One sure-fire way to fail when budgeting is to not allow yourself funds for anything enjoyable &mdash; if you do that, you&rsquo;re more likely to break your budget and over-splurge (and be generally miserable).</p> <p><strong>Find More Money</strong></p> <p>Whether you don&rsquo;t have enough money free in your budget to make those $310 a month payments or you want to pay your loans off faster (because the longer you stretch those payments out, the more you&rsquo;ll pay in interest), reducing your monthly expenses and making more money can help.</p> <p>If you look up ways to save money, you&rsquo;ll see a lot of examples telling you to do this or that &mdash; cut your cable, get a roommate, etc. But here&rsquo;s the most important advice on cutting your expenses: Make a list of things that are truly important to you, and cut expenses elsewhere so you can afford those things. If you love watching sports, maybe you don&rsquo;t want to cut your cable &mdash; but you won&rsquo;t mind dining out less. Maybe having your own place without roommates matters to you, but you&rsquo;re willing to take public transit or ride a bike instead of owning a car.</p> <p>There are other ways to spend less too that don&#39;t require any lifestyle changes. Always make sure to turn off the lights when you leave the room, for example, so you&#39;re saving on electricity. Or if the price for your cable or internet jumps, call customer service and ask if there are any deals you can take advantage of &ndash; they&#39;ll almost always put you back on an introductory rate.</p> <p>Also consider looking for ways to earn more &mdash; after all, there are limits to how much you can cut your expenses, but you can always make more money. Get some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-great-side-jobs">ideas for side jobs here</a>.</p> <p>Finally, check out of list of ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster">pay off your student loans off faster</a> &mdash; it has lots of ideas on how to reduce expenses, earn more money, and become debt-free.</p> <p><strong>Utilize Public Service Loan Forgiveness</strong></p> <p>There&rsquo;s another way to get rid of your student loans within 10 years &mdash; utilize the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. If you work in a qualified public service job and make on-time student loan payments, the federal government will forgive the remainder of your loans after 10 years. To learn more about the program and see if you qualify, check out our PSLF article (LINK TO THAT WHEN IT IS UP).</p> <p><em>Are you planning to pay off your loans within 10 years?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This article is part of our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/newgrads">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-about-your-federal-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/student-letter-surprisex605.jpg" />Why You Shouldn&#39;t Panic About Your Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-must-know-about-repaying-your-private-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/happy-student-reviewing-loa.jpg" />3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-recent-grads-must-know-to-repay-federal-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/young-people-long-journey.jpg" />What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/smiling_students_iStock_000013712513Small.jpg" />15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-borrowers-still-pay-off-their-student-loans-in-10-years" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/climber-triumph-over-mounta.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The answer is YES and we&#039;ll show you how to do it. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reyna-gobel">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Debt Management Education & Training Fri, 03 Jan 2014 11:37:06 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1102581 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Ways to Avoid Common Spelling and Grammatical Errors http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/book-153704871.jpg" alt="woman reading" title="woman reading" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="181" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It doesn&#39;t matter who you are or what you do for a living, writing is an integral part of everything we do. Think of how many times a day you have to write an email, or a letter, or write the content for a presentation. Even a simple thank you card should be grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. As a writer and former teacher, I have used my experience to put together five quick and easy ways to avoid common spelling and grammatical mistakes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-write-a-letter?ref=seealso">20+ Reasons to Write a Letter</a>)</p> <h2>1. Proofread Tomorrow and Find a Good Editor</h2> <p>Anyone can miss a typo or make grammatical errors under a strict deadline. But even if you aren&#39;t a professional writer typing quickly to meet a deadline, a second pair of eyes on your work is essential. You can&#39;t stare at the same document for hours at a time and then expect to find spelling errors or awkward wording on your own.</p> <p>The reason for this is that we read our own work with a certain expectation about what we <em>meant</em> to write, so it&#39;s very easy to miss a word or a word that isn&#39;t spelled correctly. Always step away from whatever you are working on for at least a few hours (24 hours is ideal) so that you can see it with a fresh pair of eyes. Read it several times, but not so many that you start to over think it (I am guilty of this one). Once you make your own revisions, find an editor.</p> <p>You don&#39;t have to hire an editor, unless you are writing a book. However, if you are writing something important, such as a cover letter for a job, find a savvy friend or family member who can read it for grammatical errors and help you organize your ideas. Never deliver a cover letter, resume, or any important document without having someone else look at it first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-improve-your-resume-today?ref=seealso">How to Improve Your Resume</a>)</p> <h2>2. Don&#39;t Rely on Spellcheck</h2> <p>Relying solely on a spelling and grammar checking program is one of the most common mistakes made by people writing at any level. The grammar check is particularly tricky, because it isn&#39;t always 100% correct. For instance, what if you spell &quot;there&quot; when you really meant &quot;their,&quot; or &quot;wood&quot; instead of &quot;would&quot;? While some grammar checking programs will catch these errors, most of them are not as accurate as a human editor.</p> <p>I do use it as a tool to help me edit more quickly, but I don&#39;t rely on it for all my edits. I also don&#39;t accept any changes that appear questionable to me or that I know are wrong. But I have an English degree, and I taught Writing Composition to college students. What if you don&#39;t know all the rules? That&#39;s why I&#39;ve included tip number three.</p> <h2>3. Keep a Reliable Resource on Hand</h2> <p>Whether you are using an online tool, or a hard copy of a writing manual, such as Diana Hacker&#39;s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312647360/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0312647360&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Rules for Writers</a>, you need to have some type of resource to help you check your grammar and spelling. These are also excellent tools for answering any grammatical questions you may have.</p> <p>If you are looking for an answer fast, I highly recommend<a href="http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl"> Grammar Girl&#39;s website</a>. No, that isn&#39;t Phoebe from &quot;Friends.&quot; She&#39;s actually a knowledgeable writer with a comprehensive website. I can almost guarantee that she will have an answer for any grammatical question you may have.</p> <p>In addition to Hacker&#39;s &quot;Rules for Writers,&quot; which was the handbook I assigned when I taught composition, I also recommend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767903099/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0767903099&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Sin and Syntax</a> by Constance Hale and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767910435/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0767910435&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Bryson&#39;s Dictionary of Troublesome Words</a> by Bill Bryson (this book is highly entertaining, too).</p> <p>Lastly on this subject, get a good dictionary. I&#39;m an American Heritage kind of gal, but no matter which one you choose, don&#39;t forget to use it! This helps you remember how to spell words instead of just relying on spellcheck or Googling a word when you don&#39;t know how to spell it.</p> <h2>4. Make a List of Your Frequent Mistakes</h2> <p>Keep a list of mistakes that you know you make consistently. I have a friend who can never remember to put the apostrophe in &quot;it&#39;s&quot; when it is appropriate, even though she knows the difference between &quot;it&#39;s&quot; and &quot;its.&quot; I suggested that she keep a list of words that give her trouble saved in a Word document on her desktop, and then she can quickly refer to it whenever she&#39;s writing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes?ref=seealso">How to Learn From Your Mistakes</a>)</p> <h2>5. Use Easy-to-Remember Shortcuts</h2> <p>One of my coworkers can never remember when to use &quot;affect&quot; or &quot;effect.&quot; Affect is always used as a verb, as in &quot;Your lateness affects everyone at the office.&quot; Effect is a noun, as in &quot;There are no known adverse side effects to this drug.&quot; One easy way to remember this is to think of a word or phrase that includes the troublesome word. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter?ref=seealso">How to Improve Your Memory</a>)</p> <p>I told my coworker to always think of &quot;greenhouse effect,&quot; because you can see that it is a noun. Also, most people know how to spell it because it is in the news and in print all the time. For any words or rules you have trouble remembering, find a similar way to trick your brain into remembering it forever.</p> <p><em>What are some of the ways that you avoid spelling and grammar errors in your writing. Please share your tips with us in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-common-spelling-and-grammatical-errors" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Easy Ways to Avoid Common Spelling and Grammatical Errors" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training grammar typos writing Thu, 26 Dec 2013 10:37:36 +0000 Ashley Watson 1102865 at http://www.wisebread.com 25% Fed Student Loan Borrowers Qualify for Loan Forgiveness — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/25-fed-student-loan-borrowers-qualify-for-loan-forgiveness-do-you <p>There is a federal program that, after 10 years of on-time payments, forgives the rest of borrowers&rsquo; student loan debt. That&rsquo;s right &mdash; you can have any balance remaining on your student loan debt, and poof! It&rsquo;ll be gone. Moreover, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that <em>one in four</em> federal student borrowers qualify for this program &mdash; but many don&rsquo;t know about or don&rsquo;t take advantage of the plan.<span style="line-height: 1.6em;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>The plan is called Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Yes, it requires that you work a public service job &mdash; but many more jobs qualify for this program than you might expect. Read on to learn if you qualify, and, if so, how to take advantage of the program and potentially have your student loan debt forgiven.</p> <h2>How the Plan Works</h2> <p>The PSLF program was created to encourage recent college grads to enter the public service sector. In order to qualify, you must meet the following requirements:</p> <ul> <li>Work full-time at a qualifying public service job</li> <li>Work in public service for 10 years (but not necessarily 10 consecutive years or 10 years at the same public service job)</li> <li>Make your loan payments on time and in full every month while employed full time in a public service position</li> <li>Choose a qualifying repayment plan, which includes Income-Based Repayment Plan, Pay As You Earn, Income-Contingent Repayment Plan, 10-Year Standard Repayment Plan, or any other repayment plan where your monthly payment equals or exceeds what you would pay under a 10-Year Standard Repayment Plan.</li> </ul> <p>In exchange, the federal government will forgive the rest of participants&rsquo; student loan debt after 10 years of service.</p> <p>Even better, this plan works in conjunction with the various repayment programs where payments may be adjusted based on the borrower&rsquo;s income and the student-debt-to-income ratio, such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan">Pay as You Earn</a>. One common misconception is that you have to be earning very little to use these plans and PSLF, but there is no income cap. To see if you qualify, login to StudentLoans.gov and <a href="https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/repaymentEstimatorLoginRedirect.action">use their repayment estimator</a>.</p> <p>You also have to have federal direct loans (Stafford, PLUS, or Consolidation). Federal loans that do not qualify include FFEL and Perkins loans.</p> <p>However, if you consolidate FFEL or Perkins loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, that loan does qualify.</p> <h2>Qualifying Jobs</h2> <p>Here is the most important thing to know about jobs that qualify for PSLF &mdash; it&rsquo;s not what you do for work that matters, it&rsquo;s who you work for. So, basically, you can do almost any job you can imagine, and as long as you do it for a qualifying organization. And, moreover, many more organizations qualify for PSLF than you might imagine.</p> <p>There are three main employer categories that qualify for PSLF: government agencies, organizations, and entities; 501(c)3 organizations; and other jobs that are public service, but don&rsquo;t fall into the two previous categories. I&rsquo;ve included more about each area below.</p> <p><strong>Government</strong></p> <p>This includes jobs in all federal, state, local, and tribal government positions and agencies (except elected members of the U.S. Congress). At the state and local levels alone, there are 18 million government positions in the United States. This includes federal agencies ranging from FEMA to the IRS to the Department of Health and Human Services to the National Endowment for the Arts. To get a full sense of how much this category covers, take a look at this massive <a href="http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/">official list of federal agencies</a>.</p> <p><strong>501(c)3 Organizations</strong></p> <p>501(c)3 is the federal designation for an officially recognized nonprofit &mdash; and there are over one million of them &mdash; most charities and nonprofits are covered under the 501(c)3 umbrella. If you want to get an idea of what&rsquo;s in your area, browse around a site like <a href="http://www.greatnonprofits.org/">Great Nonprofits</a>, which can give you information on different organizations based on your area of interest.</p> <p><strong>Other Public Service Organizations</strong></p> <p>These organizations might not be official 501(c)3 groups, but they provide services to the public. The Federal Office of Student Loans defines these organizations as:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;">...emergency management, military service, public safety, or law enforcement services; public health services; public education or public library services; school library and other school-based services; public interest law services; early childhood education; public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly.</p> <p><strong>A Small Sampling of Jobs That Qualify</strong></p> <p>To give you an idea of just how many kinds of jobs qualify for PSLF, here are just a few. This list is far from all-inclusive, but it gives you an idea of the wide variety of positions that can lead to loan forgiveness:</p> <ul> <li>Teachers</li> <li>College professors</li> <li>Doctors or lawyers working for any organization in one of the categories listed above</li> <li>Employees at any level of federal, state, local, or tribal government</li> <li>Members of the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps</li> <li>Military personnel</li> <li>Law enforcement</li> <li>Any kind of creative working at a qualifying organization, including designers, writers, and performers</li> <li>Emergency services personnel</li> <li>Public health workers</li> <li>Public librarians</li> <li>Any type of engineer or technician working for a qualifying organization</li> <li>Support staff employed by any qualifying organization</li> </ul> <p>Even President Obama would qualify, if he still had unpaid student loans and fit the other criteria.</p> <h2>How to Find Public Service Jobs</h2> <p>Many nonprofits post jobs on traditional job-search sites, such as Craigslist. In addition, here are some sites that cater specifically to non-profits:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.idealist.org/">Idealist</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/jobs/">The NonProfit Times</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.publicservicecareers.org/">Public Service Careers</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.opportunityknocks.org/">Opportunity Knocks</a></li> <li><a href="http://philanthropy.com/section/Jobs/224/">Chronicle of Philanthropy</a></li> </ul> <p>As for government jobs, do an Internet search for your state, county, or city name with the word &ldquo;jobs&rdquo; to find the official site for your area, or visit the <a href="https://www.usajobs.gov/">federal government&rsquo;s jobs site</a>.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re not sure if the organization you&rsquo;re interested in working at qualifies, the best way to find out is to fill out the employer certification form or call the public service loan forgiveness servicer and ask &mdash; more on that below!</p> <h2>How to Utilize the PSLF Program</h2> <p>Think PSLF is right for you? Here&rsquo;s how to get started.</p> <p><strong>1. Make Sure You Have the Right Type of Loans</strong></p> <p>Only federal direct loans qualify for PSLF. But if you have FFEL or Perkins loans and you consolidate them into a direct consolidation loan, that loan does qualify.</p> <p><strong>2. Fill Out the PSLF Application Form With Your Employer</strong></p> <p>Fill out the <a href="http://studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/public-service-employment-certification-form.pdf">Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness </a>form. Do it as soon as you start working with your employer to get your paper trail started. If you aren&rsquo;t sure if your employer will qualify, call the public service loan servicer at 855-265-4038 to find out if your new employer will help you earn public service loan forgiveness.</p> <p><strong>3. Work Full-Time</strong></p> <p>Only full-time employment qualifies for PSLF. In this case, full-time is described as at least 30 hours a week. If you work a job that has you work full-time for most of the year and then take a few months off &mdash; like teaching &mdash; that still counts for a full year in terms of PSLF.</p> <p><strong>4. Make On-Time, Complete Payments</strong></p> <p>You only qualify for PSLF if you make full, on-time payments every month. But PSLF works with the various income-aware repayment plans, so if you feel like your loans are too expensive, check with your loan servicer to see if you qualify for another payment option with a lower monthly cost.</p> <p><strong>5. Fill Out the Employer Certification Form Again If You Get a New Job</strong></p> <p>Remember, you don&rsquo;t have to stay in the same job or with the same employer for the full 10 years &mdash; in fact, your qualifying public service work doesn&rsquo;t even need to be completed 10 years in a row. If you work in public service for five years, at a for-profit company for two years, and at another public service job for five years after that, you could qualify to have your loans forgiven after 12 years. So whenever you start a new job, fill out the employer certification form again to help keep track.</p> <p><em>Are you planning to use PSLF?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This article is part of our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/newgrads">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-about-your-federal-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/student-letter-surprisex605.jpg" />Why You Shouldn&#39;t Panic About Your Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-must-know-about-repaying-your-private-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/happy-student-reviewing-loa.jpg" />3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-recent-grads-must-know-to-repay-federal-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/young-people-long-journey.jpg" />What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/smiling_students_iStock_000013712513Small.jpg" />15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-fed-student-loan-borrowers-qualify-for-loan-forgiveness-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-people-celebrating-at.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> It is the best kept secret in student loans. Read on to see if you quality. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reyna-gobel">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building Education & Training Wed, 25 Dec 2013 11:30:18 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1102492 at http://www.wisebread.com The Definitive Guide to Pay As You Earn — A Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan <p>In the past few years, the federal government introduced several new student loan payback plans that base payment amounts on borrowers&rsquo; income, aimed at helping these borrowers pay back their loans without being crushed by debt. Perhaps the most enticing of these is the Pay As You Earn plan, which, for many borrowers, provides the lowest monthly payments of any plan &mdash; and, if you qualify, you can even have the remainder of your loans forgiven after 20 years.</p> <p>There are some criteria for qualifying. Unlike the other income-sensitive plans, Pay As You Earn borrowers had to be student-loan free as of October 1, 2007 and had disbursement of loans on or after October 1, 2011. You also have to demonstrate a &ldquo;partial financial hardship&rdquo; &mdash; but, as you&rsquo;ll learn below, that doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean that you can&rsquo;t qualify for Pay As You Earn if you have a job &mdash; even a high-paying one.</p> <p>Read on to learn about the pros and cons of the plan, discover if it&rsquo;s right for you, and find out how to apply.</p> <ul> <li><a href="#whatispayasyouearn">What is Pay As You Earn?</a></li> <li><a href="#benefitsofpayasyouearn">Benefits of Pay As You Earn</a></li> <li><a href="#howtofigureout">How to Figure Out if Pay As You Earn Works For You</a></li> <li><a href="#estimatingyourpayments">Estimating Your Payments and How to Apply</a></li> <li><a href="#pros">Pros to Pay As You Earn</a></li> <li><a href="#cons">Cons to Pay As You Earn</a></li> <li><a href="#howpayasyouearncompares">How Pay As You Earn Compares to Other Repayment Plans That Consider Income</a></li> <li><a href="#whatyoushouldknow">What You Should Know After You&rsquo;ve Signed Up for Pay As You Earn</a></li> </ul> <h2><a id="whatispayasyouearn" name="whatispayasyouearn"></a>What Is Pay As You Earn?</h2> <p>Pay As You Earn is a federal student loan repayment plan that reduces your federal student loan payments based on financial hardship. The plan was developed as a way to help those struggling with sizeable student loan payments, and it went into effect December 21, 2012.</p> <h2><a id="benefitsofpayasyouearn" name="benefitsofpayasyouearn"></a>Benefits of Pay As You Earn</h2> <p>There are several benefits to the Pay As You Earn repayment plan.</p> <p><strong>How Much You Pay</strong></p> <p>For many people with federal student loans, Pay As You Earn is the payment plan with the lowest monthly payments. When you&rsquo;re on this plan, your payments are calculated as 10% of your discretionary income divided by 12. (More on how that discretionary income is calculated a bit later.)</p> <p><strong>Interest Subsidies and Capitalization Breaks</strong></p> <p>In addition to lowering your monthly payments, the Pay As You Earn plan also has other benefits. First of all, if you had subsidized federal loans (the kind where the government pays your loan interest for you when you&rsquo;re in school), for the first three years that you&rsquo;re on the Pay As You Earn plan, the government will continue providing an interest subsidy. They won&rsquo;t pay for all of your interest, but if the amount you pay each month doesn&rsquo;t cover all of the interest your loans are earning, the federal government will pay any leftover interest.</p> <p>Also, according to the government, when you have a partial financial hardship, &ldquo;...interest that accrues but is not covered by your loan payments will not be capitalized, even if interest accrues during a deferment or forbearance.&rdquo; Basically, this means that any interest accrued will not be added to the principal of the loan, and thus you won&rsquo;t be charged interest on the interest. And, furthermore, &ldquo;the total amount of interest that capitalizes while you are repaying your loans under the Pay As You Earn plan is limited to 10% of your original principal balance when you begin paying under Pay As You Earn.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Loan Forgiveness</strong></p> <p>If you always pay in full and on time and have a partial financial hardship every year, you can have the balance of your loan forgiven after 20 years. And if you work full-time in public service, you may qualify for the <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service">Public Service Loan Forgiveness program</a>, where the balance of your loans can be forgiven after just 10 years.</p> <h2><a id="howtofigureout" name="howtofigureout"></a>How to Figure Out if Pay As You Earn Works for You</h2> <p>Unfortunately, not everyone can use the Pay As You Earn plan. Here&rsquo;s how to figure out if you qualify.</p> <p><strong>Do You Demonstrate a &ldquo;Partial Financial Hardship&rdquo;?</strong></p> <p>In order to qualify for Pay As You Earn, you need to have what the federal government calls a &ldquo;partial financial hardship.&rdquo; The Office of Federal Student Aid defines this as:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;">You have a partial financial hardship if the monthly amount you would be required to pay on your eligible federal student loans under a 10-year <a href="http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/standard">Standard Repayment Plan</a> is higher than the monthly amount you would be required to repay under Pay As You Earn.</p> <p>That definition doesn&rsquo;t really say anything about what the payment would be. So, let&rsquo;s dig a little deeper.</p> <p>As I mentioned earlier, Pay As You Earn is 10% of your discretionary income. You might be familiar with the idea of &ldquo;discretionary income&rdquo; as the money you have leftover when you&rsquo;re done paying your monthly bills. In the case of Pay As You Earn, it&rsquo;s a similar concept, but the government calculates your discretionary income as your income minus 150% of the poverty guidelines for your family size.</p> <p>Even if you think you might not qualify by reading that definition, you might &mdash; because your debt-to-income ratio also matters. For example, if you make $100,000 a year but owe $200,000 in loans, you can qualify for income-based repayment.</p> <p>The best way to figure out if your income and debt-to-income ratio allow to apply for the plan is to plug your information into <a href="http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/pay-as-you-earn/calculator">this calculator</a>.</p> <p><strong>Do You Have the Right Kind of Loans?</strong></p> <p>Like all federal loan repayment plans, this program only applies to federal student loans. Specifically:</p> <ul> <li>Direct Subsidized Loans</li> <li>Direct Unsubsidized Loans</li> <li>Direct PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students</li> <li>Direct Consolidation Loans without underlying PLUS loans made to parents</li> </ul> <p>And the following loans cannot be repaid with the Pay As You Earn plan:</p> <ul> <li>Direct PLUS Loans made to parents</li> <li>Direct Consolidation Loans that repaid PLUS loans (Direct or FFEL) made to parents</li> <li>FFEL Program loans</li> <li>Private education loans</li> </ul> <p>An additional note on FFEL loans &mdash; if you have FFEL loans, which are provided through a federal program but by private banks, the loans cannot be paid back with the Pay As You Earn program. But if you also have Direct Loans you&rsquo;d like to use the Pay As You Earn plan for, the amount of your FFEL loans can be taken into account when figuring out if you have a partial financial hardship. Moreover, FFEL loans <em>can</em> be consolidated with direct loans. When this happens, the new combined direct loan can be repaid under Pay As You Earn (provided the underlying FFEL and direct loans were disbursed on or after October 1, 2007).</p> <p><strong>Did You Get Your Loans During the Right Time Period?</strong></p> <p>In addition to the above criteria, your loans also have to fall within specific time constraints. You must:</p> <ul> <li>Be a new borrower (i.e., have no outstanding student loan balances) as of October 1, 2007</li> <li>Have received loan disbursement on or after October 1, 2011 (meaning that your loan funds were provided to your school on or after that date)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Are Your Loans Properly Consolidated?</strong></p> <p>If you consolidated loans that do qualify with Parent PLUS loans, which don&rsquo;t, this consolidated loan is not eligible for the Pay As You Earn plan.</p> <h2><a id="estimatingyourpayments" name="estimatingyourpayments"></a>Estimating Your Payments and Applying</h2> <p>If you fit all of the criteria listed above, visit the Office of Federal Student Aid&rsquo;s <a href="http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/pay-as-you-earn/calculator">Pay As You Earn payment calculator</a> to find out how much you would owe each month. Then, if you have any questions before signing up, contact your student loan servicer. Finally, when you&rsquo;re ready to apply, you can do so by logging in at <a href="https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action">studentloans.gov</a>.</p> <h2><a id="pros" name="pros"></a>Pros to Pay As You Earn</h2> <p>To recap what we&rsquo;ve discussed so far, if you qualify, there are several great reasons to consider the Pay As You Earn plan:</p> <ul> <li>Depending on your income, your payments might be less than any other payment plan &mdash; and, at the very least, they&rsquo;ll never be more than they would be on the standard 10-year repayment plan.</li> <li>You can have the remainder of your loan forgiven after 20 years of on-time payments, or after 10 years with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.</li> <li>If you have a subsidized loan, you will continue to get interest subsidies for three years if your monthly payments do not cover all of the interest you owe.</li> </ul> <h2><a id="cons" name="cons"></a>Cons to Pay As You Earn</h2> <p>There are some downsides to the plan.</p> <ul> <li>Pay As You Earn won&rsquo;t work for everyone. If you can&rsquo;t demonstrate a partial financial hardship as defined by the Office of Federal Student Aid, you can&rsquo;t qualify.</li> <li>You have to provide updated income and family size information every year to confirm that you still demonstrate a partial financial hardship.</li> <li>If you no longer demonstrate a partial financial hardship, you can choose the standard repayment plan and still potentially qualify for some loan forgiveness if you still have a balance after 20 years of combined Pay As You Earn and standard payments.</li> <li>Even if your loan is forgiven after 20 years, you may have to pay taxes on the amount that was forgiven. At this time, it is unclear whether or not congress will create an exception to this before any borrower has to pay these taxes.</li> <li>Since paying less per month could mean you&rsquo;ll extend the life of the loan, you could also owe more in interest. If you continue to qualify for Pay As You Earn, this is not a problem. But if you reach a point where you don&rsquo;t qualify, your interest will capitalize, and you could end up paying more overall than you would with a standard repayment plan.</li> </ul> <p>About that last point &ndash; here&rsquo;s an example of what I mean. Say that borrower named Joanne has $30,000 of unsubsidized student loan debt with an interest rate of 6.8%. Her income for the first three years out of college helps her qualify for a Pay As You Earn payment of $60 a month, which doesn&rsquo;t even cover interest. Since she doesn&rsquo;t have subsidized loans, the government doesn&rsquo;t pay the additional interest, and she still has her $30,000 student loan debt left. Now, in addition to that initial debt, she has to pay another approximately another $3,000 in interest accumulated. If her income increases enough, she will never be able to have loan forgiveness, because she&rsquo;ll pay off her loan well before 20 years.</p> <h2><a id="howpayasyouearncompares" name="howpayasyouearncompares"></a>How Pay As You Earn Compares to Other Repayment Plans That Consider Income</h2> <p>Pay As You Earn isn&rsquo;t the only option for paying back your student loans. There are also other income-related plans to consider. One of the biggest differences with all of these plans is that, while you&rsquo;ll almost certainly pay less on Pay As You Earn, these plans work for loans no matter when you got them. So, for example, if you received disbursement of loans before October 1, 2011, those loans would not qualify for Pay As You Earn, but could qualify for the plans below.</p> <p><strong>Income-Based Repayment (IBR)</strong></p> <p>Under IBR, you also need to demonstrate a partial financial hardship. Your payments are locked in as 15% of your discretionary income (compared to Pay As You Earn&rsquo;s 10%), and you can qualify for loan forgiveness after 25 years.</p> <p><strong>Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)</strong></p> <p>Payments under ICR are based on your gross annual income, family size, and loan amount; and they change accordingly each year. Loan forgiveness is available after 25 years.</p> <p><strong>Income-Sensitive Repayment (ISR)</strong></p> <p>In this plan, your loan amount is based on your income. The plan is only available for 10 years, and there is no loan forgiveness.</p> <h2><a id="whatyoushouldknow" name="whatyoushouldknow"></a>What You Should Know After You&rsquo;ve Signed Up for Pay As You Earn</h2> <p>There are a few things to be aware of after you&rsquo;ve signed up for Pay As You Earn.</p> <p><strong>You Must Make Your Payments Every Month and on Time</strong></p> <p>If not, you risk defaulting and not being eligible for loan forgiveness.</p> <p><strong>You Have to Reapply Every Year</strong></p> <p>And, if you no longer demonstrate partial financial hardship, your monthly payment will change to a &ldquo;standard&rdquo; payment amount.</p> <p><strong>Any Questions?</strong></p> <p>If you have any questions, ask your loan servicer, or feel free to get in touch with me &mdash; I&rsquo;m only a tweet away at @<a href="https://twitter.com/ReynaGobel">reynagobel</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This article is part of our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/newgrads">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-about-your-federal-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/student-letter-surprisex605.jpg" />Why You Shouldn't Panic About Your Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-must-know-about-repaying-your-private-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/happy-student-reviewing-loa.jpg" />3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-recent-grads-must-know-to-repay-federal-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/young-people-long-journey.jpg" />What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/smiling_students_iStock_000013712513Small.jpg" />15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-woman-at-work-605x340.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> For many, this plan offers the lowest monthly payments and even forgives your student loan after 20 years. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reyna-gobel">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Debt Management Education & Training Tue, 17 Dec 2013 11:31:01 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1100564 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Practice Making Student Loan Payments http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-practice-making-student-loan-payments <p>Remember how scared you felt when you first got behind the wheel to drive a car? You were probably oozing with anxiety &mdash; it&#39;s a good thing you had a learner&#39;s permit and had to practice under the guidance of an experienced teacher before you could really drive on your own. &nbsp;</p> <p>In some ways, repaying student loans isn&rsquo;t much different &mdash; it might be intimidating, but after a little practice and guidance, it&#39;ll feel natural. That&#39;s why I&#39;m going to teach you how to make practice student loan payments. When you&#39;re still in your grace period, these fake &ldquo;payments&rdquo; to your savings account will help make paying off your loan second habit &mdash; and help you build some savings. Here&#39;s what to do.</p> <h2>Find Out the Date Your First Payment Is Due</h2> <p>Call your loan servicer or servicers and find out when your first payment is due. You can find contact information for your servicer(s) on the National Student Loan Data System. While you&rsquo;ve got your servicer on the phone, ask if you can get estimated payment amounts for different payment plans, including income-based repayment, standard 10-year repayment, and extended repayment.</p> <p>Not all loan servicers will be able to give you the exact amount of your first payment months ahead of schedule, but that shouldn&#39;t stop you from making practice payments. If you can&rsquo;t get estimates directly from your servicers, go to our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/additional-resources-for-students-and-new-grads#calculators">resources section</a> to find links to repayment calculators that will help you estimate your payment amounts on your own. Try several different variables. For example, if considering utilizing the Pay as You Earn option, enter your current income, and then recalculate the amount if you land a great new job.</p> <p>After you&rsquo;ve gotten estimates for different payment plans, pick one that you feel like is manageable with your budget.</p> <h2>Review Your Budget</h2> <p>Creating a budget is the first step to managing your finances when you&#39;re in repayment. If you currently track your expenses, great! You should have a good idea of how much you can afford for payments. If not, do you know much money you have left at the end of the month after you pay your bills? Do you have enough to pay any of the student loan payments your servicer calculated for you? If not, don&#39;t worry &mdash; we&#39;ll make room for your payment in the next step.</p> <h2>Make Room for Your Payment</h2> <p>If you&#39;re feeling cash-strapped, the good news is there&#39;s a lot you can do to change that. For instance, when I first moved to Manhattan, I&rsquo;d take long walks. Inevitably, with what seems like 50 restaurants per half block, I bought a lot of snacks along the way. After all, who doesn&rsquo;t want to buy pudding from a place so good that they survive by <em>only</em> making pudding? During my snack-filled walks, I managed to not lose an ounce from my body but hundreds from my bank account. So, I decided I needed to make a change &mdash; I moved to Brooklyn where there were less restaurants per block, and I lost 40 pounds while keeping my bank account intact.</p> <p>So ask yourself some similar questions. Could you eat out less? Are you buying too many groceries, and some of them are spoiling before you&#39;re able to eat them? Can you turn the lights off when you&rsquo;re not home? Find ways to cut your budget at least enough to afford the smallest payment calculated by your student loan servicer.</p> <p>If what&#39;s spoiling your budget isn&#39;t obvious, use free financial tools such manilla.com to compare what you think you&rsquo;re spending in different categories with what you are spending.</p> <h2>Transfer Your Practice Student Loan Payment to a Savings Account</h2> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve established which payment you can afford, start transferring this amount into a savings account on a monthly basis until your first payment is due. This is also a great way to start building a stash of emergency cash. If you have five months until you really have to start paying and are able to put away $200 per month, you&rsquo;ll accumulate $1,000 bucks.</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have a savings account, find out if your bank is offering a special for opening one. You might get an extra $25 to $50 courtesy of your bank. I got $50 from mine.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you have more than one month before your payments have to start, you can also go back to step one, pick a different payment plan, and then practice that one the next month. So if during the first month of practice you realize you can afford $100 easily, try setting aside $200 the second month.</p> <h2>Adjust Payment Plans as Needed</h2> <p>You may decide to change your repayment plan in the future or simply add to your current payments to pay off your loan faster. Since federal student loans allow changes to repayment plans once per year, you should practice the new payment for at least two months before officially changing your plan. After all, you don&rsquo;t want to ask for a change and then find out you can&rsquo;t afford the payment. To practice when you&#39;re actually in repayment, transfer the difference between your current payment and the one into your savings account until you&rsquo;re ready to make the change.</p> <p>And if you experience a financial setback and need to change your plan, don&#39;t worry &mdash; even the most experienced drivers get lost every now and then, but they always get back on track.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This article is part of our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/newgrads">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-about-your-federal-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/student-letter-surprisex605.jpg" />Why You Shouldn't Panic About Your Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-must-know-about-repaying-your-private-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/happy-student-reviewing-loa.jpg" />3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-recent-grads-must-know-to-repay-federal-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/young-people-long-journey.jpg" />What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</a></td> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/smiling_students_iStock_000013712513Small.jpg" />15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-practice-making-student-loan-payments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-practicing-driving.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Developing a great payment habit may help you save thousands in the long run. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reyna-gobel">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Education & Training Fri, 22 Nov 2013 11:32:47 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1098709 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Shouldn't Panic About Your Federal Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-about-your-federal-student-loans <p>Dear Not-Yet-In-Trouble Federal Student Loan Borrower,</p> <p>You might have heard that the Department of Education will be sending out letters to millions of student loans borrowers. The letters target borrowers whose grace periods are ending, as well as borrowers who exhibit signs of trouble that could lead to defaulting on their loans.&nbsp;If you haven&rsquo;t started repayment yet but are fretting about how you&rsquo;re going to possibly repay all that money &mdash; stop worrying.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m writing you this letter to not only give you important details about student loan repayment, but also to help you be aware of potential issues well before trouble starts.</p> <h2>I Defaulted &mdash; Here&rsquo;s How to Avoid My Mistakes</h2> <p>I defaulted on a federal student loan simply because I didn&rsquo;t know it existed. I had over a dozen student loans from different lenders; I forgot about one loan and went into default. It&rsquo;s easy to do, but it&rsquo;s also easy to avoid. Just log in to the <a href="http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/">National Student Loan Data System</a>. You&rsquo;ll see all your federal student loans on this site, along with contact information. Either arrange to pay each individually, or consolidate them into one loan. This is also a great time to get a free credit report &ndash; it can alert you to any problems you might have, like having missed a loan or bill payment.</p> <p>Then, know yourself. If you can&rsquo;t keep track of each individual loan, you really need to consolidate them into one loan to streamline payments (ask your loan servicer about consolidation options). Once consolidated, you can still choose a plan where payments are based on income, such as Pay as You Earn. And if you&rsquo;re interested in the public service loan forgiveness program, know that it&rsquo;s only available through loans originated by or consolidated with Federal Direct Loans.</p> <h2>Realize That Even With the Pay as You Earn Plan, You Might Have Payment Problems</h2> <p>The income-based Pay as You Earn repayment plan bases payments on your income and family size, but it doesn&rsquo;t fully consider your expenses if your circumstances change. For example, at some point, you may have to help support a sick parent or child. You could also have bought a home when your income was higher. After a pay cut, a majority of your income could go towards your mortgage.</p> <p>If you experience a financial setback, you have three options:</p> <ul> <li>Call your servicer and see if your Pay as You Earn payment amount can be adjusted. You have to supply your income annually, and you may have forgotten to do so this year, causing your payments to set based a higher income level.</li> <li>Ask for a deferment or forbearance, which are temporary payment breaks. Taking a break should only be done if the situation isn&rsquo;t permanent. Always take a deferment when possible over a forbearance when any of your student loans are subsidized. The government pays the interest on subsidized student loans during periods of deferment.</li> <li>If your income is lower because you took family leave for six months, you may not want to change your plan. However, for long-term pay cuts where your income-based repayment is too high for your budget, you should ask your servicer to also calculate payment options and see which payment option offers the lowest monthly payment.</li> </ul> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Feel Embarrassed If You Don&rsquo;t Know Something About Student Loans</h2> <p>I wrote two editions of a 240-page book on student loans, and I still don&rsquo;t know everything about them. I read articles and play with the student loan repayment calculators every day. There&rsquo;s always something new to learn. For instance, the public service loan forgiveness employer verification form wasn&rsquo;t created until after the first edition was released. Now, thanks to that form, you can find out if you qualify for the public service loan forgiveness program right away and register for it right after you start working <em>or</em> after you&rsquo;ve already started repayment &mdash; the choice is up to you. Never be afraid to ask your servicer questions about any of these programs.</p> <h2>Talk to Your Friends Who Are or Will Be in Repayment Soon</h2> <p>I&rsquo;m not the only person who has experience with and advice about student loans. Talking to your friends can help you figure out repayment options and possibly pick better ones based on their choices and experiences. Just remember, they might have different circumstances than you, such as income level, children, or other debt that impacted their choices. Therefore, you shouldn&rsquo;t copy their decisions. But you&rsquo;ll be more informed and learn questions to ask your servicer. Plus, they may have missed payments, recovered, and now have advice about that. Learn from others&rsquo; student loan mistakes and victories.</p> <h2>The Most Important Part of This Letter?</h2> <p>The help you get doesn&rsquo;t end here. You can tweet me anytime &mdash; <a href="https://twitter.com/ReynaGobel">@ReynaGobel</a> &mdash; and ask questions. My articles will be posted here every week. You can ask me questions in my <a href="http://www.collegeweeklive.com/">CollegeWeekLive</a> web chats or get more helpful advice in my book <a href="http://www.hmhco.com/shop/books/CliffsNotes-Graduation-Debt/9780544319165"><em>CliffsNotes Graduation Debt</em></a>.</p> <p>Finally, remember you never want to receive a &ldquo;dear troubled borrower&rdquo; letter. The second you think you might miss a payment, talk to your servicer about options for a payment break or new repayment plan. With federal student loans, that one call will likely save your credit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <div class="newgrads-node-disclaimer"> This article is part of our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/newgrads">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section: </div> <table boder="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related" id="related-1"> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-recent-grads-must-know-to-repay-federal-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/young-people-long-journey.jpg" /><span class="related-title">What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</span><br /> </a></td> <td class="related" id="related-2"> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-must-know-about-repaying-your-private-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/happy-student-reviewing-loa.jpg" /><span class="related-title">3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans</span><br /> </a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related" id="related-3"> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/additional-resources-for-students-and-new-grads"><img class="related-image" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/student-checking-out-online.jpg" /><span class="related-title">Resources for Students and New Grads</span><br /> </a></td> <td class="related" id="related-4"> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster"><img class="related-image" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/smiling_students_iStock_000013712513Small.jpg" /><span class="related-title">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</span><br /> </a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-shouldnt-panic-about-your-federal-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student-letter-surprisex605.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Follow these simple steps to avoid defaulting on your federal student loans. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reyna-gobel">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Education & Training Fri, 08 Nov 2013 11:36:03 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1083924 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Things You Must Know About Repaying Your Private Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-must-know-about-repaying-your-private-student-loans <p>Repaying private student loans can be confusing. Most of what you hear in the news applies to federal student loans. So where can private loan borrowers get information on repayment? From their lenders.</p> <p>Since private student loans are essentially bank loans, it&rsquo;s up to the lender you borrowed the money from to set rules for loan length, payment amount, and interest rates.</p> <p>After you graduate, you can find the information you need from either your contract or by calling your lender. When you&rsquo;re ready to start repayment, here&rsquo;s what you need to know.</p> <h2>1. Your Cosigner&rsquo;s Obligation</h2> <p>If your mom, dad, or really cool friend or relative cosigned your private loan, that person has an obligation to repay the loan if you can&rsquo;t. The loan payment history is also reported on their credit report &mdash;&nbsp;which means that if you miss payments, you can screw up your cosinger&rsquo;s credit.</p> <p>So, what can you do to protect your friend or relative?</p> <p>First, anytime you can&rsquo;t make a payment, it&rsquo;s as important to keep in touch with your cosigner as it is your lender. Always ask the lender first about a temporary repayment break, also called a forbearance. But if you can&rsquo;t get a repayment break, your cosigner needs to know. Your cosigner might prefer helping you out with payment than getting their credit dinged.</p> <p>Second, some loan providers offer programs to remove the cosigner after a specific number of on-time payments &mdash;&nbsp;check and see if your provider is one of them. For instance, if you can pass the credit check and make a specific number of on-time payments, your lender may agree to remove the cosigner from the loan. The obvious perk is that your cosigner no longer has to worry about what happens in the future. The lesser-known perk of removing the cosigner from the loan is that their income will no longer be considered when the lender decides whether or not you qualify for a repayment break.</p> <h2>2. When Your Interest Rate Can Change</h2> <p>Private student loans may have fixed or variable interest rates. Fixed-rate loans never change their rate. Your payments will stay the same unless you change repayment plans. For instance, your payment will get smaller if you switch from a 5-year plan to a 15-year repayment plan.</p> <p>For variable loans, your contract will say how often your interest rate can change. For instance, the rate <em>could</em> change every three months, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean it <em>will</em>. Your rate could be 5.7 percent this month and still be 5.7 percent three months from now. The interest rate is based on the interest rate within a financial index (such as the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libor">LIBOR</a> or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_rate">Prime</a> rate), plus a percentage you agreed to pay on top of the indexed rate. &nbsp;For instance, your interest rate might be stated as Prime (which was 3.25 percent as of October 16) plus 4 percent. These financial indexes are in tune with the economy, and they will fluctuate accordingly.</p> <p>Thus, if you see loan rates rise on new mortgages or car loans, it means rates are rising in general, and you should contact your lender to see if your monthly repayment amount will increase. Your lender is required to notify you of rate changes, but it&rsquo;s never a bad idea to check yourself in case you want to plan ahead. Your loan contract will also state how often your interest rate can change and how much notice you will be given before it happens.</p> <p>When interest rates are low, you should try to sock away extra money in a savings account in case your required monthly payment increases later when interest rates rise. If you do have a little extra cash, it&rsquo;s also a good idea to send in $10 or $20 extra per month to help pay down the balance. Revisit how much you can afford to send in on top of your payments annually. There may be years that you can afford $5 extra per month and other years where you can afford to add $100 per month.</p> <h2>3. What Options You Have If You Can&rsquo;t Afford Your Monthly Payments</h2> <p>If you can&rsquo;t afford your payments, you have two options: change repayment plans or request a repayment break. Like federal student loans, you can ask your lender about extending your repayment plan. For instance, you may not be able to afford a loan payment on a 5-year loan, but you could if you switched to a 15-year repayment plan. Let&rsquo;s say you borrowed $40,000, and the current interest rate is 5 percent. The monthly payment on a 5-year loan is about $750. On a 15-year repayment plan, the payment is only about $300. You will pay more in interest if you spread out your payments, but there generally isn&rsquo;t a penalty for paying off your loans early. So it never hurts to send in a few bucks extra when you can. However, not all private loans offer these options, so you&rsquo;ll need to contact your lender and ask. And private loans cannot be put on an Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan &mdash;&nbsp;since it&rsquo;s a federal program, it only applies to federal loans.</p> <p>If you just need a short-term break from payments, ask for one. Private loan lenders don&rsquo;t have set rules on repayment breaks like federal loans do, but lenders do grant repayment breaks when you have an economic issue such as a job loss, medical emergency or prolonged job search after graduation.</p> <p>The worst thing you can do when you don&rsquo;t have the cash to make the payment on your current repayment plan is skip calling your lender. When you do, you might be surprised by how many options you have.</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <div class="newgrads-node-disclaimer"> This article is part of our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/newgrads">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section: </div> <table boder="0"> <tbody><tr> <td class="related" id="related-1"> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-recent-grads-must-know-to-repay-federal-student-loans"><img class="related-image" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/young-people-long-journey.jpg"> <span class="related-title">What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans</span> </a></td> <td class="related" id="related-2"> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-every-student-should-fill-out-the-fafsa"><img class="related-image" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/student-filling-out-fafsa-o.jpg"> <span class="related-title">5 Reasons Why Every Student Should Fill Out the FAFSA</span> </a></td> </tr><tr> <td class="related" id="related-3"> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/additional-resources-for-students-and-new-grads"><img class="related-image" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/student-checking-out-online.jpg"> <span class="related-title">Resources for Students and New Grads</span> </a></td> <td class="related" id="related-4"> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster"><img class="related-image" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/smiling_students_iStock_000013712513Small.jpg"> <span class="related-title">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</span> </a></td> </tr></tbody></table> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-things-you-must-know-about-repaying-your-private-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-student-reviewing-loa.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Avoid making costly mistakes by asking these three simple questions. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reyna-gobel">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training Fri, 25 Oct 2013 11:00:42 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1049404 at http://www.wisebread.com What Recent Grads Must Know to Repay Federal Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/what-recent-grads-must-know-to-repay-federal-student-loans <p>If you&rsquo;re a recent grad, you&rsquo;re probably dreading when you have to start repaying your federal student loans as much as if you were going to the dentist to get your wisdom teeth pulled. But student loan repayment is a lot less painful, and you&rsquo;ll never require anesthesia. The reason why is because you have options for both getting payment breaks and making your payments more affordable.</p> <p>The main way people get in trouble with student loans is by ignoring them and ending up in default. If you&rsquo;re a new grad, take control of your student loan debt before your first payment is due with these steps.</p> <h2>1.Look Up Your Loans on the National Student Loan Data System Website</h2> <p>The National Student Loan Data System lists every federal student loan you ever borrowed, whether in undergraduate or post-graduate years. You&rsquo;ll find out who services each loan as well. The loan servicer provides customer service on your student loan and is your direct contact.</p> <p>Log in on the National Student Loan Data System Website with the PIN you created when you filled out your Free Application for Financial Aid. For now, I just want you to pay attention to the total amount owed. You can plug in this number to one of the various federal student loan repayment calculators to see what your potential payment options might be. You can find links to all these calculators and the National Student Loan Data System on our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/additional-resources-for-students-and-new-grads#calculators">New Grad Center Resources page.</a></p> <h2>2. Don&rsquo;t Wait Until You&rsquo;re Working to Start a Repayment Plan</h2> <p>While it is important to get a job in order to repay federal student loans in the long-term, in the short-term, your repayment &nbsp;amount could be as low as zero if you&rsquo;re not working yet or if you&rsquo;re making below a certain amount. &nbsp;This is thanks to government-subsidized programs like Income-Based Repayment and Pay as You Earn. When you enroll in one of these repayment plans, the exact amount you pay each month is based on your income on your last tax return. Since you were a student last year, this could work out in your favor. If these options don&rsquo;t work for you as your income rises, you can change payment plans next year. If you just need a temporary repayment break, ask your servicer about deferment or forbearance.</p> <h2>3. When You&rsquo;ve Found a Job, Analyze Your Financial Situation</h2> <p>Congrats! You&rsquo;re a working college grad ready to start your life. Now, let&rsquo;s get your student loans under control. Create a budget of your fixed monthly bills, and see how much you have left over. If it&rsquo;s not a lot, no worries. Look within your budget for what you expenses you can reduce or eliminate quickly yet painlessly.&nbsp; Are you going out for most of your meals? Consider having friends over for a potluck instead. Are you living in an urban area and parking your car 90 percent of the time? Sell it and take public transit. I live in New York, and half the cars on my block are housing families of dust bunnies. If you need your car, compare auto insurance rates. Changing auto insurance providers can save hundreds. Do what you can to save money, and then at the end of the month figure out what you have available for a student loan payment. The more you can pay now, the less you&rsquo;ll pay long-term in interest.</p> <h2>4. Pick a Repayment Plan</h2> <p>Now that you know what you can afford to pay each month, it&rsquo;s time to pick a repayment plan. One great thing about federal student loans is that they have more options for payment breaks and managing your payments than nearly any other loan &mdash; and depending on your plan, you could have up to 30 years to repay them. When making your decision, remember that there are benefits and downsides to both longer and shorter repayment plans. For example, even if you&rsquo;re able to repay your student loans on the 10 year repayment plan, it doesn&#39;t mean you should. You don&rsquo;t want to pay your student loans off quickly at the expense of keeping your savings account empty. You should save enough money to contribute to an emergency fund, so if you lose your job, you can still pay rent and buy groceries. In some situations it is better to select a longer repayment plan, and pay more than the minimum when you can.</p> <h2>5. Don&rsquo;t Panic</h2> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to pay off your student loans tomorrow. You have student debt because you went to school to train for a career. More than likely, the amount you borrowed will be repaid several times over in additional income during your lifetime. However, in the meantime, don&rsquo;t look at your total student loan debt and panic. You have years, possibly decades, to repay this amount. Plus, you have a career services department at your alma mater that will help you refine your career path well after graduation. Focus this time of your life on building your career, budgeting for the long-term, and treating your student loan payments as just another bill like electricity. When you do this, you&rsquo;ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in other areas of your life. &nbsp;</p> <h2>Introducing Wise Bread&#39;s New Student Loans Expert</h2> <p>Hi. I&rsquo;m Reyna Gobel. I hope you enjoyed this article. I&#39;m&nbsp;the author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/CliffsNotes-Graduation-Debt-Manage-Student/dp/0544319095">CliffsNotes Graduation Debt</a> and the audiobook <a href="http://www.audible.com/pd/Self-Development/How-Smart-Students-Pay-for-School-Audiobook/B00CMEU31S/ref=sr_1_2?qid=1380329713&amp;sr=1-2">How Smart Students Pay for School</a>.</p> <p>I know repaying student loans can be challenging for recent grads, so my advice doesn&rsquo;t end with my books. I&rsquo;ll be here every week blogging about student loans and post-college budgeting for recent grads. Have a specific question for me? I answer every tweet sent me <a href="https://twitter.com/ReynaGobel">@reynagobel</a>. Have a wonderful day.</p> <p><center><a href="http://www.amazon.com/CliffsNotes-Graduation-Debt-Manage-Student/dp/0544319095"><img alt="" src="http://i.imgur.com/FprR9mv.png" style="height:245px; width:163px" /></a></center></p> <p>This article is part of our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/newgrads">New Graduate Help Center</a> &mdash; a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads. This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:</p> <div class="newgrads-related"> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/additional-resources-for-students-and-new-grads"><img class="related-image" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/student-checking-out-online.jpg" />Additional Resources for Students and New Grads</a></td> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-every-student-should-fill-out-the-fafsa"><img class="related-image" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/student-filling-out-fafsa-o.jpg" />5 Reasons Why Every Student Should Fill Out the FAFSA</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-living-at-home-16-tips-for-boomerang-kids"><img class="related-image" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/senior-happy-man-with-college-children-iStock_000019703594Small.jpg" /> Save Money Living at Home: 16 Tips for Boomerang Kids </a></td> <td class="related"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster"><img class="related-image" src="http://static2.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/82x72/blog-images/smiling_students_iStock_000013712513Small.jpg" />15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div><div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-recent-grads-must-know-to-repay-federal-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-people-long-journey.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Paying back your student loans might seem daunting, especially if you don&#039;t have a job yet. But there are several repayment options to help you. Here&#039;s what to do. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reyna-gobel">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Education & Training Wed, 16 Oct 2013 10:36:04 +0000 Reyna Gobel 1022984 at http://www.wisebread.com How Much College Can You (and Your Kid) Afford? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-college-can-you-and-your-kid-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-college-can-you-and-your-kid-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college-5272776-small.jpg" alt="college student" title="college student" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I first noticed headlines spreading the distressing news that <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/08/14/finances-affect-college-major/2649665/">money might influence college choices in this post-recession era</a>, I was surprised to learn of the possibility that college-bound students and their parents might <em>not </em>consider the cost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-to-dos-for-college-freshmen">Financial To-Do's for College Freshmen</a>)</p> <p>Comparing options for <a href="http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/collegecost/collegecost.html">such an enormous purchase</a> seems to be a sensible approach. College tuition, fees, books, and other expenses can consume tens of thousands of dollars if not well over $100,000. While <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=77">college graduates as a group enjoy greater incomes than those with less education</a>, they may not reap more from an investment in a pricey college than one with a much lower price tag. How to decide how much to spend?</p> <h2>Start by Assessing Educational and Career Goals</h2> <p>Start the decision-making process by examining the reasons for attending college, which may include the opportunities to:</p> <ul> <li>Prepare for the workforce through specialized studies as well as hone skills in communications, critical thinking, and problem solving<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Garner a higher starting salary and/or greater considerations for advancement in the workforce<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Prepare for graduate-level studies<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Get the college experience, which could range from living with peers in a residence hall on campus, forming bonds with people of different backgrounds, and studying abroad<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Develop a professional and social network that extends beyond your local area</li> </ul> <h2>Financial Aid, Loans, and Work-Study Aren't Free</h2> <p>Getting a financial aid package can make college seem affordable, at least in the short term. But if you have to incur loads of debt, then a choice made in your teens could have long-term, lifelong consequences. In fact, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/05/22/student-loan-problems-one-third-of-millennials-regret-going-to-college/">many recent grads are delaying milestone moves</a> such as getting married, buying a house, and having children because of the burden of student loans. Higher income after graduation may not offset the costs associated with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/21/class-of-2013-student-debt_n_3313617.html">paying off balances on student loans</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster">Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <p>Opting for work-study programs or simply getting a job may also help pay the bills, but it can detract from the college experience. According to a <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130807005644/en">survey by Citi and Seventeen magazine</a>, nearly 4 out of 5 students are working during college and the average student is working 19 hours per week during the school year. For many, going to a more expensive college may not make as much sense if you don't have time to study, collaborate with peers on projects, and develop your network.</p> <p>And, if there is a slight change in your financial situation, then you may not be able to afford to continue. An abrupt move can be difficult if you must restart studies at another university, losing the momentum in earning your degree especially if certain course credits don't transfer.</p> <h2>So, a Cheaper College Is Better?</h2> <p>Still, choosing a less expensive college over a more expensive one may not be as simple as it looks. Sure, if you have to pay full sticker price, then the comparison is relatively easy. However, many colleges and universities use published costs as a starting point for offering financial aid, which may include grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and loans.</p> <h2>Matching Budget and College</h2> <p>Based on my experiences with a college-age son and a conversation with the folks at Citi's Financial Education-Personal Wealth Management group, here is what many students do to get the best deal:</p> <ul> <li>Determine which colleges and universities are most likely to fit your professional and personal aspirations.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Before applying to schools, show interest in desired colleges and universities by communicating with admissions officers, taking campus tours, etc. as schools tend to be more interested in admitting students who are likely to accept offers (and you must be admitted before you can get school-based scholarships).<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Complete applications to multiple colleges and universities.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Apply by deadlines for regular admission or early action, but don't choose the early-decision option because if you are bound to attend a particular college, you can't compare and negotiate aid packages. Note that you might consider applying for early action to be eligible for all school-specific scholarships.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Apply for scholarships and financial aid at all colleges and universities after being admitted.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Compare financial aid packages, paying attention to the mix of loans, scholarships, and other assistance.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Consider <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/04/tips-for-negotiating-financial-aid-for-college/">making an appeal</a> if you think the financial aid office could make a better offer based on your unique circumstances.</li> </ul> <p>At this point, use the package deal (not sticker prices or published costs) to make an informed decision about your actual cost and the debt you'll incur (if any) to get a degree at each institution. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-on-college-tuition">6 Ways to Save on Tuition</a>)</p> <h2>Manage Non-Tuition Expenses, Too</h2> <p>Don't forget to calculate extra expenses that often surprise students and their parents.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.citigroup.com/citi/about/leaders/jonathan-clements-bio.html">Jonathan Clements, Director of Financial Education at Citi's Personal Wealth Management</a>, parents and their college-bound students can easily predict certain expenses (such as tuition, fees, housing, and dining plans) but become blindsided by other costs, such as travel to and from the university, sorority and fraternity fees, books, and entertainment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-free-or-almost-free-college-textbooks">How to Score Free Textbooks</a>)</p> <p>To control these costs, plan travel ahead of time to get the best deals, take advantage of cheap entertainment, and find frugal friends who can give you tips on controlling expenses. In addition, you might take odd jobs on campus that don't require an ongoing commitment. For example, you could enter essay contests with cash prizes, work at ballgames, or become a test subject in psychology experiments.</p> <p>When my youngest son started to contemplate colleges, he was perplexed and frustrated that I was encouraging him to apply to in-state institutions, although I have since agreed to work with him to pursue other affordable possibilities. He began to understand my concerns when he started comparing costs among colleges and universities on <a href="https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search">CollegeBoard.org</a>.</p> <p>My high school student determined that a high-priced school was unlikely to provide an advantage worth $100,000 more than a moderately-priced one. Certainly, there may be situations when the extra money would be worth the cost. For this decision, though, my husband, my son, and I would rather pay less now. Differences in the quality of education, networking, etc. could be overcome through internships and other types of experiences.</p> <p><em>Did money influence your college choice? How did you make your decision?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-college-can-you-and-your-kid-afford" class="sharethis-link" title="How Much College Can You (and Your Kid) Afford?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training college financial aid tuition Fri, 04 Oct 2013 09:48:03 +0000 Julie Rains 994554 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons Why Every Student Should Fill Out the FAFSA http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-every-student-should-fill-out-the-fafsa <p>The free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) has a bad reputation for being the fast track to student loan debt. However, it can be the opposite. Without filling it out, schools don&rsquo;t know if you need scholarships or university grants.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s why every family needs to fill out the FAFSA.</p> <p><b>Less Fear of the Unknown</b></p> <p>Finding the cash to pay for college is as scary as student loans. When you fill out the FAFSA, you&rsquo;re going to get details on your financial aid award letter about the school&rsquo;s options for paying for college. You can bring the financial award letters to your high school counselor to discuss other sources of funding not associated with the school to figure out how you can put together your full financial aid package.</p> <p>For example, the school&rsquo;s annual cost of attendance from textbooks to dorms is $20,000. The school offers a financial aid package including $14,000 in scholarships and $6,000 in loans. You bring the financial award letter to your school and let the high school counselor know you need $6,000 more to fund your education without borrowing. The counselor talks about local scholarships, workplace scholarships, and scholarships based on your talents. You may not get all of them but it brings you closer to your goal.</p> <p><b>Scholarships</b></p> <p>Schools use the information provided on the FAFSA to determine financial need for scholarships, too. But don&rsquo;t fill out the FAFSA and feel like you&rsquo;ve done everything you&rsquo;re supposed to in order to receive money from your college. I received a $1,000 scholarship from my MBA program just for being one of the first 75 people to apply during the summer. Not a rarity. I received a $750 summer scholarship for standing in line on a specific day with a B+ average during my undergraduate years. Talk to the financial aid department every semester before registering to find out about additional scholarship opportunities and application procedures.</p> <p><b>Unexpected Grants</b></p> <p>Too often if someone doesn&rsquo;t qualify for Pell Grants, federal grants based on income, they don&rsquo;t think they qualify for any grants. This isn&rsquo;t the case. State grants and university grants can have a range of income requirements. Try using Harvard&rsquo;s net price calculator, and you&rsquo;ll be amazed at income levels that qualify for some level of financial assistance. I plugged in numbers for a family of four in California who make $200,000 and a small level of need-based aid was available.</p> <p><b>Subsidized Student Loans</b></p> <p>While still a student loan, subsidized student loans don&rsquo;t accrue interest during college or for specific periods of time. For instance, depending on your income level and payment, income-based repayment plans may not charge subsidized interest during the first 3 years. Also, if you qualify for an economic deferment, interest isn&rsquo;t charged during those times either. Don&rsquo;t deny these loans unless you&rsquo;re positive you won&rsquo;t have to do any borrowing. If you don&rsquo;t fill out the FAFSA, private student loans are your only borrowing options.</p> <p><b>Putting Yourself Out There</b></p> <p>You can&rsquo;t go to the senior prom without asking a date or being asked. Spruce yourself up (grades, community service, and essay writing), fill in your FAFSA and see what happens. Even if you don&rsquo;t get one scholarship or grant offer, you&rsquo;ll know where you are at before seeking other opportunities. So even if Johnny Financial Aid didn&rsquo;t ask you to the prom, Jimmy Local Scholarship might.</p> <p><i><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/newgrads/reyna">Reyna Gobel</a>, frequently quoted as an expert on student loans and college costs, speaks regularly at CollegeWeekLive and is a regular education contributor to usnews.com.</i></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-why-every-student-should-fill-out-the-fafsa" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student-filling-out-fafsa-o.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Learn how FAFSA could bring you unexpected grants, scholarships and opportunities. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reyna-gobel">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training Sat, 28 Sep 2013 19:33:48 +0000 Reyna Gobel 991685 at http://www.wisebread.com Additional Resources for Students and New Grads http://www.wisebread.com/additional-resources-for-students-and-new-grads <h2>&nbsp;Additional Resources Discussed in CliffsNotes Graduation Debt</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://hes.lbl.gov/">Energy Savings Calculator by Zip Code</a></li> <li><a href="https://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/" target="_blank">Federal Student Loan Consolidation Web site</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pin.ed.gov/" title="Where to go for retrieving or getting an entirely new pin">Federal Student Loan Pin Web site</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com/">Free Credit Reports from the Three Major Credit Bureaus</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_audits">Information about Home Energy Audits</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.irs.gov/individuals/page/0,,id=14806,00.html">IRS Witholding Calculator</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.nslds.ed.gov/" title="Where to find your student loan history">National Student Loan Data System</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.studentaid.ed.gov/">The Department of Education&#39;s General Student Aid Web site</a></li> </ul> <h2>Articles for Current Students</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/younginvestors/09/free-campus-financial-counseling.asp">Free Financial Counseling Programs For Students</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/younginvestors/09/textbook-saving-tips.asp" target="_blank">Students, Get More Bang For Your Textbook Dollars</a></li> </ul> <h2>CliffsNotes</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.cliffsnotes.com/store/product/productCd-047050689X.html">Graduation Debt&#39;s CliffsNotes Page</a></li> </ul> <h2>Couples Finance</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/09/combining-credit-cards.asp" target="_blank">Combining Credit For A Happy Financial-Ever-After</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/inexpensive-weddings.asp" target="_blank">Have A Charming (And Cheap) Wedding</a></li> </ul> <h2>Free Financial Software</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.manilla.com/" target="_blank" title="This software is great for seeing where all your money is going. you’ll see your dining, groceries, etc. expenses from all accounts and credit cards in one place.">Manilla.com</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/smart-spending/home-budget-plan-calculator.aspx">Online Budget Worksheet</a></li> </ul> <h2>More Resources for Current and Future Students</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.mainstreet.com/slideshow/moneyinvesting/education-planning/10-student-loan-terms-explained" target="_blank">10 Student Loan Terms Explained</a></li> <li><a href="http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/attachments/siteresources/1845-0110%20PSLF%20ECF_Final_Expires%2020141130.pdf">Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Form</a></li> <li><a href="http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/attachments/siteresources/1845-0110%20PSLF%20ECF%20Instructions_Final_Expires%2020141130.pdf">Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Form Instructions</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.ifap.ed.gov/vgworksheets/attachments" target="_blank">Independent Student Form</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.gibill.va.gov/">Military Education Benefits</a></li> </ul> <h2>Savings</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/save-your-savings-account.asp" target="_blank">Protect Your Savings From Their Greatest Threat &ndash; You</a></li> </ul> <h2><a id="calculators" name="calculators"></a>Student Loan Online Calculators</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/standard/comparison-calculator" target="_blank">Repayment Comparison Calculator</a></li> <li><a href="http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-based/calculator" target="_blank">Income-Based Repayment Calculator</a></li> <li><a href="http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/pay-as-you-earn/calculator" target="_blank">Pay As You Earn Calculator</a></li> <li><a href="https://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/loancalc/servlet/Controller?controller_task=startCalculator" target="_blank">Consolidation Student Loan Calculator</a></li> </ul> <h2>Taxes</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/tax/09/sources-free-tax-help.asp" target="_blank">6 Sources For Free Tax Help</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/tax/09/self-employed-avoid-tax-penalties.asp">7 Ways To Avoid Self-Employed Tax Penalties</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/tax/10/filing-your-first-tax-return.asp" target="_blank">Filing Your First Tax Return</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf" target="_blank">IRS publication 970 Tax Benefits for Education</a></li> </ul> <p><em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/newgrads/reyna">Reyna Gobel</a>, frequently quoted as an expert on student loans and college costs, speaks regularly at CollegeWeekLive and is a regular education contributor to usnews.com.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/additional-resources-for-students-and-new-grads" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student-checking-out-online.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 30+ tools to help you pay for college and eliminate student loans. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reyna-gobel">Reyna Gobel</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training Sat, 28 Sep 2013 19:26:48 +0000 Reyna Gobel 991686 at http://www.wisebread.com Budgeting for Study Abroad: What You'll Need, and How to Access Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-for-study-abroad-what-youll-need-and-how-to-access-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/budgeting-for-study-abroad-what-youll-need-and-how-to-access-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-5111830-small.jpg" alt="woman with globe" title="woman with globe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In today's globalized society, study abroad is becoming an increasingly popular option for high school and college students who want to broaden their horizons during their academic careers. If you or your child is considering a study abroad experience, cost will likely be one of the biggest factors in your decision. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/united-world-college-study-abroad-for-way-less-than-you-think">United World College: Study Abroad for Way Less Than You Think</a>)</p> <p>To help you decide whether study abroad is right for your financial situation, the following is an overview of the costs of studying abroad, as well as some helpful tips for managing your money overseas.</p> <h2>Costs of Studying Abroad</h2> <p>Before getting started, it's important to note that expenses vary from place to place, depending on the cost of living, currency exchange rate with the dollar, and other factors. The sections below will help you map out an initial budget, but more in-depth research will be needed to determine the actual costs of study abroad (again, it depends where you want to study).</p> <p><strong>Transportation</strong></p> <p>First and foremost: how will you get there? Transportation includes international flights ($500&ndash;$2,400, depending on where/when you fly), cab or bus fare between the airport and your place of study, and everyday public transportation costs. Websites such as <a href="http://www.studentuniverse.com/">Student Universe</a> offer student discounts on airfare, and many popular study abroad destinations offer student discounts on public transit. However, be sure not to underestimate your transportation expenses, because you might need more money to make side trips during time off from your studies.</p> <p><strong>Housing</strong></p> <p>Study abroad programs tend to have several housing options for students, such as dormitories, long-term hostel stays, a host family, off-campus apartments, and others. This can either be included in your study abroad tuition or an added expense, depending on your university's policies. Housing is generally more expensive in large cities and western European countries (where the dollar is weaker than the Euro), but otherwise expect to pay the same amount (or even less) than you currently pay for housing at your home university.</p> <p><strong>Classes, Books, and Fees</strong></p> <p>To find the tuition your university charges for overseas studying, check the study abroad resource center on your university's website. Some universities charge approximately the same tuition in the U.S. as they do for their abroad programs, while others may have more fees tacked on. Tuition and fees likely will not include the cost of books, so be sure to take those into account as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/back-to-school-saving-on-college-textbooks">Saving Money on College Textbooks</a>)</p> <p><strong>Food and Drink</strong></p> <p>Check foreign currency exchange rates during your researching phase. Currencies that are worth more than the American dollar (such as the British Pound or Euro) will lessen your purchasing power and make things such as food and drinks seem more expensive. If you go the university housing route, you will probably have a meal plan, but create a separate food and drink budget section anyway (for snacks and eating off campus).</p> <p><strong>Insurance</strong></p> <p>Health insurance is also a biggie for students traveling overseas. Some companies may not extend your health insurance coverage beyond the United States, so this leaves you with a couple options: either pay the student health insurance fee or (if the fee isn't mandatory), find your own global health insurance plan from companies that cater to students going overseas, such as <a href="http://www.hthworldwide.com/insurance_intstudents.html">HTH Worldwide</a>.</p> <p><strong>Sightseeing and Miscellaneous Travel</strong></p> <p>It's often said that studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. Although you probably want to be frugal while having fun, the best way to make your study abroad as memorable as possible is to get off campus and do some sightseeing when you're not too busy studying. Although buying souvenirs is a waste of money, it's OK to splurge on some touristy outings and travel to different cities and countries while you're in the area. Just be sure to take these expenses into account so you're not scrambling for funds toward the end of your overseas stay. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-never-buy-souvenirs">Why You Should Never Buy Souvenirs</a>)</p> <p>Now that we've examined the basic costs of studying abroad, let's examine some money management tips that will save you time and headache while you're in another country.</p> <h2>Currency Exchanges</h2> <p>Once you've outlined a budget, your next big step is acquiring the local currency in order to pay for your upcoming expenditures. There are three main avenues to exchange currency.</p> <p><strong>Exchanging at Your Local Bank</strong></p> <p>Although currency calculators give you a set ratio of X foreign currency to X American dollars, you'll receive a slightly smaller amount from a bank after the conversion fees are tacked onto your currency order. Most banks also require 1-2 weeks minimum for the currency to be sent to your home or to the bank for pick-up.</p> <p><strong>AAA Currency Exchange</strong></p> <p>If you're a AAA member, you can visit or contact your local AAA branch for foreign currency exchange. All branches have a supply of Euros and British Pound Sterling on hand and you can order other currencies over the phone. While this is certainly convenient, note that AAA isn't known for offering the best rates, and they charge a service fee for each exchange.</p> <p><strong>Travelex, Airports</strong></p> <p>Currency exchange businesses such as Travelex and airport currency exchanges tend to have the highest fees or least favorable rates in comparison to the alternatives. Unless you're pressed for foreign cash and have nowhere else to exchange, go to your local bank or get your funds from a foreign ATM instead.</p> <h2>ATMs</h2> <p>If you want to bring a limited amount of cash from home and take out more currency while you're overseas, you'll need to bring your ATM card, and take the following tips into consideration.</p> <p><strong>Prepare for Your Trip in Advance</strong></p> <p>Let your bank know your travel plans before you leave the country. If you don't, a rejected card may not be the fault of the merchant's, but rather your bank blocking the purchase on the suspicion of fraud.</p> <p><strong>Is Your ATM Card Accepted Overseas?</strong></p> <p>Yes, you can use your ATM card in Europe, Asia, South America, and most other ATMs around the world. There may be some fees involved, however, such as a currency conversion fee and/or ATM withdrawal fee. Since ATMs in big cities or popular shopping areas tend to have higher fees, go to a local ATM to withdraw cash instead.</p> <p><strong>Global ATM Alliance</strong></p> <p>If you have an ATM card with Bank of America, you can avoid hefty international ATM fees by withdrawing funds from a bank that is part of the <a href="http://www.westpac.co.nz/international-migrant/travel/atm-global-alliance/">Global ATM Alliance</a>. This will save you some money on ATM withdrawals, though you'll probably still pay a currency conversion fee.</p> <p><strong>Student Credit Cards </strong></p> <p>In addition to cash and ATM exchanges, there is a third option for making international purchases: credit cards. Proceed with caution, since many credit cards charge a 2-3% &quot;foreign transaction fee&quot; on every purchase. There are however, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students">credit cards specifically created for students</a> that will minimize fees on purchases you make during your study abroad:</p> <p><strong>Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover</strong></p> <p>Many international merchants accept MasterCard and American Express, but if you want the most widely-accepted card, then bring a Visa. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road">Travel and Money: Using Your Credit Card on the Road</a>)</p> <p><strong>Do You Need a Smart Card?</strong></p> <p>When traveling overseas, you may find that some merchants don't accept magnetic strip credit cards. Instead, most countries in Europe, Asia, and South America prefer &quot;chip-and-pin&quot; credit cards (also known as &quot;smart cards&quot;). A few American banks offer these types of credit cards for international travelers, but if you don't want to go through the hassle of getting a brand new card just for overseas use, bring an ample supply of cash and an ATM card (for instances when your usual credit card isn't accepted).</p> <p><strong>Get a Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees</strong></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students">Discover it for Students and Capital One Journey Student Rewards credit cards</a> are fantastic for students going abroad. Not only do these cards have zero foreign transaction fees (which range from 1-3% per transaction on most other credit cards), but they also have $0 annual fees and generous cash back rewards programs for cardholders. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Top&nbsp;Travel Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Final Word</h2> <p>Studying abroad can be an immensely rewarding experience that not only broadens your academic horizons, but also introduces you to people from around the world and allows you to live in another culture for a brief period of time. Proper budgeting and overseas money management are essential, but try not to get too caught up in the financial aspect and enjoy your overseas trip as much as you can before heading back to the daily grind at your university at home.</p> <p><em>What about you? Any tips or study abroad stories you'd like to share? Let us know in the comment section below!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-for-study-abroad-what-youll-need-and-how-to-access-your-money" class="sharethis-link" title="Budgeting for Study Abroad: What You&#039;ll Need, and How to Access Your Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Credit Cards Education & Training Travel college tuition and fees currency exchange foreign currency study abroad travel costs Wed, 11 Sep 2013 14:07:04 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 981093 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Places to Buy or Rent Textbooks http://www.wisebread.com/20-places-to-buy-or-rent-textbooks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-places-to-buy-or-rent-textbooks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college-5108787-small.jpg" alt="woman with books" title="woman with books" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I went to college, I bought my textbooks at the college bookstore and sold them back to the same bookstore. These days, though, there are tons of places to buy or even rent textbooks. You don't need to spend a fortune on them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-free-or-almost-free-college-textbooks">Score Free (or Almost Free) College Textbooks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Amazon Student</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/New-Used-Textbooks-Books/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=465600&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon</a> offers new, used, rentals, and eTextbooks, and you get up to 70% back when you sell your books back. Sign up for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/student/signup/info/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Student</a> to get Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-list-of-student-discounts">Big List of Student Discounts</a>)</p> <h2>2. Chegg</h2> <p>With <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10802150">Chegg</a>, you don't just get an online store to rent or buy textbooks at up to 80% off, you get a community that will help you with your schedule, homework, and more. Get 24/7 online study help, see reviews and ratings on courses from other students, and then sell your textbooks back when you're done with them.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. CourseSmart</h2> <p><a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10620613">CourseSmart</a> offers eTextbooks and eResources, which can save you up to 60% off the price of print textbooks. Save even more with their subscription packs.</p> <h2>4. CampusBookRentals</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10722286">CampusBookRentals</a> allows you to find textbooks for rent. Shipping is free both ways, and you can even write and highlight in them. You can decide to keep the book &mdash; you'd pay the difference between the purchase and rental price. Lastly, you can sign up to rent out your own copy of a book and make money!</p> <h2>5. eCampus</h2> <p><a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-4183967">eCampus</a> gives you the option to rent, buy, or sell textbooks. They also have a rewards program that allows you to earn points for purchasing, renting, selling, and sharing on social media. These points can be redeemed for dollars off your next order.</p> <h2>6. BookRenter</h2> <p>Rent or buy textbooks at <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10927405">BookRenter</a>, where shipping for rentals is free both ways (they also have RapidReturn drop-off locations).</p> <h2>7. CengageBrain</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-11269694">CengageBrain</a> offers eBooks, single eChapters, study tools, and homework solutions in addition to textbooks for rent or purchase. Students can also get FREE 7 day eBook access to their purchases while the print versions are being shipped. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extra-income-opportunity-online-tutoring">Extra Income Opportunity: Online Tutoring</a>)</p> <h2>8. Bookbyte</h2> <p>Rent, buy, or sell textbooks at <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10365117">Bookbyte</a>. They also offer a 10% cash rebate on the return of all textbook rentals.</p> <h2>9. Textbookx</h2> <p><a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-11402449">Textbookx</a> not only offers new and used textbooks for sale or rent, they also offer bestselling books like &quot;7 Habits of Highly Effective People&quot; and &quot;The Great Gatsby.&quot;</p> <h2>10. TextbookStop</h2> <p>At <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.aspx?foid=46681420&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">TextbookStop</a>, you can rent new or used textbooks or buy used textbooks. You can also sell your used textbooks. They have drop-off locations, too, where you can pick up or drop off your rentals, as well as sell your own textbooks.</p> <h2>11. Textbooks</h2> <p>At&nbsp;<a href="http://www.textbooks.com/">Textbooks</a>, you can buy, rent, or sell used textbooks (they'll give you a free shipping label). They also offer eTextbooks. Get textbooks at up to 90% off, and they have a generous 30-day no hassle return policy.</p> <h2>12. BookFinder</h2> <p>At <a href="http://www.bookfinder.com">BookFinder</a>, search through their database of over 100,000 booksellers and 60+ websites worldwide for the best price on any textbooks on your shopping list.</p> <h2>13. Alibris</h2> <p><a href="http://www.alibris.com/">Alibris</a> offers a wide selection of textbooks for sale and rental (as well as rare popular and rare books, music, and movies). Save up to 80% off list price. They offer new, used, and international edition textbooks. Return rentals for free.</p> <h2>14. AbeBooks</h2> <p><a href="http://www.abebooks.com/">AbeBooks</a> offer new and used textbooks, and they have recently introduced a rental service. Get free shipping on textbooks!</p> <h2>15. TextbookRush</h2> <p>Buy new or used, or find rentals at <a href="http://www.textbookrush.com">TextbookRush</a>. In addition to buying directly from they, they offer a marketplace where you can find other sellers for the books you need.</p> <h2>16. CampusBooks</h2> <p><a href="http://www.campusbooks.com/">CampusBooks</a> allows you to compare prices on textbooks for sale or rent on various sites. You can also compare prices on various sites for offers on textbooks you want to sell.</p> <h2>17. Bigwords</h2> <p><a href="http://bigwords.com/">Bigwords</a> go further than your average price-comparison search engine. Enter in all the books you need, and they will compare every combination of items at every store, take into consideration shipping and all promotions to show you the best possible price, including any applicable coupons.</p> <h2>18. Direct Textbook</h2> <p><a href="http://www.directtextbook.com/">Direct Textbook</a> is a search engine that will show you all the available offerings (whether rental, used, or new) on any book you need. They also search libraries and offer a price alert to keep you updated on any special deals.</p> <h2>19. ValoreBooks</h2> <p><a href="http://www.valorebooks.com/">ValoreBooks</a> is a marketplace where students can buy or rent cheap textbooks from over 18,000 verified sellers and rental providers who compete to provide the absolute lowest prices. In addition to textbooks, you can also sell back iPhones, iPads, DVDs/CDs, and video games.</p> <h2>20. Blue Rocket Books</h2> <p><a href="http://www.bluerocketbooks.com/">Blue Rocket Books</a> is a search engine that displays offers from other sites for any book you need, whether buying new, buying used, or renting. They also buy back books directly.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite discount textbook resource?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-places-to-buy-or-rent-textbooks" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Places to Buy or Rent Textbooks" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training back to school books college discount books school supplies textbooks Fri, 06 Sep 2013 10:24:29 +0000 Lynn Truong 981496 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Score Free (or Almost Free) College Textbooks http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-free-or-almost-free-college-textbooks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-score-free-or-almost-free-college-textbooks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college-5062903-small.jpg" alt="woman in library" title="woman in library" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>College is expensive, and I'm not just talking about the sticker shock of tuition. There are other costs, some that you might not consider at first. There's the expense of decorating and giving your dorm room style and personality, plus the daily cost of food if you're not on a meal plan. And an even bigger expense &mdash; textbooks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-20-100-on-textbooks">Save 20-100% on Textbooks</a>)</p> <p>Don't think that you're going to walk into a campus bookstore and pay $30 for a book &mdash; you'd be lucky to find a book this cheap. College-related miscellaneous expenses can vary by semester, with the average cost for books and supplies starting at $1,200 for public and private colleges, reports College Board.</p> <p>Not exactly good news if you're on a tight budget. However, college textbooks don't have to break the bank. The campus bookstore isn't your only option. Get creative and you might score free textbooks &mdash; or at least cheap books.</p> <h2>1. Check Out Your Library's Selection</h2> <p>Since you'll use your main textbooks for the entire semester, you may not think to check the selection at your campus library. But along with your main textbook, your professor may include a list of other books &mdash; books that you may not need the entire semester. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-you-should-support-your-local-library">4 Reasons Why You Should Support Your Local Library</a>)</p> <p>&quot;After arriving to campus, students should go to their college library as soon as possible with a list of the textbooks needed, and if the library has the book, inquire about checking it out.&quot; says, Jon Lal, founder of <a href="http://www.befrugal.com/">BeFrugal.com</a>.</p> <p>Given the fact that you may only need a particular book for a few lectures, it doesn't make sense to spend your hard earned money. If the book isn't available in the library, see if your school is part of a lending consortium&nbsp;&mdash; you might be able to borrow the book from another school's library.</p> <h2>2. Network With Other Students</h2> <p>Befriend others in your major, and you may never pay full price for a textbook again. Opening your mouth and doing a little networking is an excellent way to get free or cheap textbooks. Maybe you know people who took the same class last semester. They might sell you the book at a price cheaper than the campus bookstore. And if you have old textbooks in your possession, you might be able to negotiate an even-exchange swap.</p> <p>According to Lal, <a href="http://www.yerdle.com">Yerdle.com</a> is a great place to see if your Facebook friends have a copy of the book you need. Or you can use sites like <a href="http://www.booksfreeswap.com/">Bookfreeswap.com</a>, <a href="http://bookmooch.com/">BookMooch.com</a>, and <a href="http://freebookexpress.com/">Freebookexpress.com</a> to exchange used books with other students.</p> <h2>3. Get the eBook</h2> <p>If you're on a budget and don't have a lot of cash, skip the laptop and go with a tablet computer. These devices are affordable, lightweight, and great for studying, and they can fit inside your backpack. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-easily-use-an-ipad-as-a-laptop">Use an iPad as a Laptop</a>)</p> <p>&quot;A tablet can provide value to students well beyond its small price tag,&quot; says Lal. Download apps, access electronic textbooks, or search the Internet. You can even purchase a keyboard to create and save documents more easily.</p> <p>With a tablet, getting your textbook in ebook form might be easier than you think. Several resources are available to you &mdash; many at no charge. For example, the <a href="http://www.ipl.org/">Internet Public Library</a> offers free access to classic books, and if you search the <a href="http://archive.org/details/texts">Internet Archive</a>, you'll gain access to more than 2,500,000 items.</p> <p>Lal also recommends the <a href="http://www.gutenberg.org/">Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Library Foundation</a>, a non-profit with free novels and textbooks downloadable to a computer or tablet, or you can access free ebooks and PDF textbooks through <a href="http://bookboon.com/">BookBooN.com</a> and <a href="http://textbookrevolution.org/">TextbookRevolution.org</a>.</p> <h2>4. Rent Your Books</h2> <p>If you buy your books there's always a chance that you won't be able to resell at the end of the semester. And since you're not likely to open the book once you finish the class, why waste $100 (or more) for one book?</p> <p>Buying books online can be cost-effective, but this might not offer the best savings. Renting books from stores, such as <a href="http://www.textbookstop.com/" target="_blank">Textbook Stop</a>, <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-11108049">TextbookX,</a> <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10734724" target="_blank">Book Renter</a>, and <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10365124" target="_blank">Bookbyte</a> can help you stay on budget. For greater savings, search online for a free coupon code. You might be able to take a percentage off your rental or receive free shipping.</p> <h2>5. Earn Cash Back on Books</h2> <p>You probably won't find free or cheap copies for all the textbooks on your list, but even if you only score one free book, that's cash you don't have to spend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-more-places-to-buy-sell-and-trade-books">17 More Places to Buy, Sell, and Trade Books</a>)</p> <p>Whether you rent, buy used, or purchase new, pay for your textbooks with a rewards credit card, if possible. This way, you earn cash back or points on every purchase &mdash; regardless of whether you're online or in-store. Cash back earnings can help offset the cost of expensive college textbooks.</p> <p>But don't only pull out your credit card when you're buying books. To maximize your savings, use the credit card for groceries, gasoline, and other miscellaneous expenses. Build up your cash back reward balance, and by next semester, you might have earned enough to cover the cost of all your books &mdash; just make sure that you pay off your credit card balance in full each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students">Great Credit Cards for College Students</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips for saving on college textbooks? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-free-or-almost-free-college-textbooks" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Score Free (or Almost Free) College Textbooks" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Education & Training books college textbooks tuition Mon, 02 Sep 2013 10:36:29 +0000 Mikey Rox 981619 at http://www.wisebread.com