Education &amp; Training http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12010/all en-US My 2016 Budget Challenge: Affording Education http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000069492263.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is the another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>I am on the cusp of transitioning into a new dream career. Actually, two new dream careers. People keep approaching me for work as a documentary filmmaker and as an architectural photographer, so I have decided to take the leap and try to do both full-time for money. This is tremendously exciting and mind-numbingly scary for two reasons:</p> <p>First, I am old. Well, not old-old. I am 46. So, I am certainly young enough to start a second career. However, at 46, I am too old for a long educational track and too poor to get training for a career that leaves me saddled with student loan debt that then leaves me unable to save for retirement.</p> <p>Second, I will just say it: I am a luddite. In order to succeed as a documentary filmmaker and as a professional photographer, I have to learn how to use my motion picture camera and sound system, a film editing program, Lightroom and/or Photoshop, and a new digital camera system. And that's just what I have to learn <em>this year</em>. I basically have to go back to film school, but cram four years of learning into the next nine months.</p> <p>So how am I going to acquire all these new-fangled skills without breaking the bank or, more importantly, breaking my brain? Here's how I am cobbling together some quality learning on the cheap.</p> <h2>Finding a Mentor</h2> <p>If there is such a thing as a professional <em>meet cute </em>story, I have it. Last year, one of my favorite photographers started following me on Instagram and subsequently hired me to work as his sometime assistant.</p> <p>It is incredibly gratifying to have an artist, who I greatly admire, support me creatively, even if it comes in the form of terse texts such as, &quot;If you take that photograph now, I don't want to hear any whining from you about how sucky it is later.&quot; And, &quot;Do better.&quot; Because I know he is rooting for me to figure things out, it is easy to stay motivated and learn the technical side of photography, a process that involves failing repeatedly. To quote Henri Cartier-Bresson: &quot;Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.&quot; With thousands of my worst photographs still untaken, I am glad that I have professional supervision and a safe space to crash and burn.</p> <p>In addition to the self-esteem boost, a good mentor just makes everything easier. For example, after reading through approximately 556,373 camera equipment reviews, I still could not parse out what gear to buy, so my mentor wrote me up a custom shopping list based on what he thought would work best for me creatively, financially, and physically. Not only did this take some of the stress out of buying $2,288.94 worth of photography equipment, but he ended up saving me hundreds of dollars.</p> <p>For example, the Arca Swiss Cube gear head is the industry standard for architectural photography. One of the reasons why my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-why-i-need-to-find-31k-this-year">original gear budget</a> is $10,000 is because the Arca Swiss costs $1,600. My mentor owns several different gear heads. The one he recommended to me is the one he uses the most: a $300 model that was not mentioned in any of the reviews that I read. Because I have seen what he can do with a $300 gear head, I feel confident that I can do professional work with the same model and save $1,300.</p> <p>While mentors are always presented as white-haired, lions of industry (or Morgan Freeman) in films, I should point out that my photography mentor is actually younger than I am. Good teachers can be any age.</p> <h2>Interning</h2> <p>I am extremely pro-interning because it has worked well for me. I was hired as a film executive before I even graduated from film school. I never had to be an assistant or work in the mailroom, which are both standard entry-level film gigs. I graduated from college and the next day I went to work at my fancy production company job. I managed this feat by interning for a full year at the company that hired me. For them, it was just an internal promotion. I was already working 60 hours a week for them, so why not just pay me so I could afford better work clothes?</p> <p>Interning while you are in college has become a huge drag. You either have to find a paying internship, which really don't exist anymore in a lot of fields, or you have to work an internship for college credit, which means you have to pay tuition for a job your school probably didn't even get you. It's tough. However, interning as an adult post-graduation is way easier. Plenty of companies have rules against hiring unpaid students, but very few companies care if a &quot;grown up&quot; volunteers to work for free. Interning is a great way to learn the industry culture, network, and discover the skills you actually need for a specific job.</p> <p>I don't think of internships as just office jobs. In fact, I could probably <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">invent an internship</a> in almost any industry that does not require safety certification or security clearance. In addition to interning for my photography mentor, I am currently interning with a master beekeeper. I help him schlep heavy equipment around a farm once a week, and in exchange he helps me level up on my beekeeping skills. I am currently learning queen rearing, so I can breed and raise my own queen bees to sell to other local beekeepers.</p> <p>For the record, I generally don't refer to my beekeeping arrangement as an internship. I am <a href="https://wwoofusa.org/about/">WWOOFing</a>, which sounds endlessly more &quot;authentic,&quot; &quot;artisanal,&quot; and fancy. Kinfolk Magazine should just interview me right now.</p> <h2>Hiring an Intern</h2> <p>I bought my parents their first Apple computer in 1999. When they crashed it the first time, they called me in a panic. Since this was before Apple stores were in every big city, they had no idea who could fix their computer. &quot;Pay the 12-year-old who lives down the street $40 to come over and show you how to fix your computer,&quot; I told them. &quot;Which 12-year-old?&quot; they asked. &quot;Any 12-year-old,&quot; I said.</p> <p>Like my parents, I am a digital immigrant, not a digital native. To this day, I am still more comfortable with analog technology than I am with the digital world. Just ask my editors at Wise Bread who are all half my age. I am clueless.</p> <p>Right this second I'm trying to learn how to use iMovie to edit my documentary. It is going very slowly. It is not as intuitive as I had hoped. Or, maybe I am just extra dumb at this.</p> <p>As luck would have it, my friend Cheryl called me the other day. She's trying to get a summer internship for her daughter who is applying to film schools in the fall. Could I use an intern on my current documentary? &quot;Does your kid know how to use iMovie?&quot; I asked. &quot;Oh, sure. But she mainly uses Premiere to edit at home and she uses Avid at school.&quot;</p> <p>Boom.</p> <p>I now have a 17-year-old summer intern who is going to sit with me and walk me through the editing process.</p> <p>See? Good teachers. Any age.</p> <h2>Visiting the Public Library</h2> <p>My friend Fareed is superhuman when it comes to Photoshop. Where did he pick up his mad skills? The Los Angeles Public Library. Apparently, you can access <a href="http://petapixel.com/2015/07/09/heads-up-you-can-access-lynda-lessons-for-free-at-some-public-libraries/">Lynda Lessons for free</a> at some public libraries. This is how I am going to learn Lightroom and Photoshop.</p> <h2>RTFM (Reading the Fricking Manual)</h2> <p>My new tripod has an instruction manual. I am reading it. My new gear head has an instruction manual. I am reading it. My new tilt-shift lens has an instruction manual. I am reading it. My borrowed camera body has an instruction manual. I am reading it, even though it is 260 pages long and in Spanish because my photography mentor misplaced the English instructions. Not that I am complaining as the photographs are in English and I am learning a lot of good vocabulary words in Spanish for free. So, bonus?</p> <p>I know. Reading the manual to learn how to use a machine seems like, well, obvi. But, apparently I am in the minority. According to a survey, 24% of women who call tech support hotlines in the United Kingdom have <a href="http://www.geek.com/news/study-says-64-of-men-dont-even-read-the-manual-before-calling-tech-support-969371/">never bothered to read the manual</a> before calling for help. And lest anyone believe that this is just a problem for women because we are mechanical simpletons who can't understand technology, that exact same survey found that 64% of men don't read the manual before demanding IT help.</p> <p>Of course, Americans are even stupider, or maybe just more stubborn than British tech consumers: <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2008/06/03/95-percent-of-all-returned-gadgets-still-work-americans-dont-r/">95% of gadgets</a> returned in the United States actually work.</p> <h2>Watching YouTube</h2> <p>Even though I am muscling my way through all the camera gear manuals, I am hating the experience. The diagrams leave a lot to be desired. Also, while paper manuals are very good at explaining how to use the various buttons and levers, text-based manuals are not good at explaining how to use the various buttons and levers to get the desired photographic image. Thank God for YouTube. Now I understand how to use my tilt-shift lens! Concepts that take 13 pages of explanation in the book, can be explained in one five-second close-up shot.</p> <p>While many YouTube instructional videos leave a lot to be desired in terms of production value, the sheer number of subjects covered make YouTube my first stop when I am trying to learn new, random skills. Do I have a Small Hive Beetle infestation in my beehive? Found a video on how to make a no-poison Hive Beetle death trap from an old CD case and vegetable oil. Did I make the disastrous decision to cut my own bangs without watching a YouTube bang-cutting video first? (Yes). Found a video on how to hide my bangs inside retro hair-dos while I grow them back out.</p> <h2>Reading the Comments</h2> <p>Fact: Reading Internet comments can be as pleasant as self-surgery. However, I often learn more from the comments on how-to blog posts than I do from the original article!</p> <p>Are you an autodidact? What tools do you use to learn new skills quickly? Please share in the comments section! I can use all the help I can get.</p> <h2>Progress Report</h2> <p>My husband managed to save $1,500 this month from his regular paycheck. (At this rate, I am going to have to change his nickname for this series from Mr. Spendypants to Mr. Saveypants). He also earned an additional $1,100 for creating all the original artwork for <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gorillagames/desert-island-0">Desert Island</a>, a Kickstarter-funded card game.</p> <p>I am so relieved that the start date for my professional architectural photography job has been pushed back to May. After much discussion and contemplation, we decided that it would be better for me to purchase all the equipment I need for the job, with the exception of the camera body, so I could have a month to practice using all these tools. Also, although this is a big expense, it is cheaper to buy the basic tools needed for this job rather than rent. The total cost of camera equipment purchased this month: $2,288.94</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000.00</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $16,078.00</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $7,592.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $22,514.66</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Everything Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-why-i-need-to-find-31k-this-year">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Why I Need to Find $31K This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-you-should-choose-private-school-over-public">7 Times You Should Choose Private School Over Public</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Finding Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Education & Training budget challenge education max wong max wongs budget personal stories saving money Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Max Wong 1693275 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Cheap Ways to Increase Your Knowledge and Earning Potential http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheap-ways-to-increase-your-knowledge-and-earning-potential <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-cheap-ways-to-increase-your-knowledge-and-earning-potential" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000072007369_Large.jpg" alt="increasing his knowledge with free online resources" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The more knowledge you have, the more chances you will get to score different and better jobs. Knowledge is power, and with continuing education, power and ultimately, success, are yours for the taking. Here are nine free or inexpensive ways to learn more and increase your earning potential. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new?ref=seealso">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</a>)</p> <h2>MOOCs and Academies</h2> <p>Massively Open Online Courses are the inexpensive alternative to debt-creating colleges. An option for learning that &mdash; in my opinion &mdash; should have been there since the inception of the Internet. There are plenty to choose from, but these are your best places to start.</p> <h3>1. Khan Academy</h3> <p>&quot;Your brain is like a muscle,&quot; says <a href="https://www.khanacademy.org/">Khan Academy</a>. &quot;The more you use it and struggle, the more it grows.&quot; Here, you can grow your muscle with classes in math, science, economics and finance, and arts and humanities. For adults, this is a refresher. For kids, it's a prepper. The college admissions section offers information for high school students or graduates preparing for higher education. The site's content includes plenty of practice exercises, video lessons, and a personalized dashboard that helps you track your progress.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free</p> <h3>2. Udemy</h3> <p><a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=323085.81&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Udemy</a> has an incredibly broad focus &mdash; the site's mission is to &quot;help anyone learn anything.&quot; Boasting over 35,000 MOOCs and over 8 million minutes of educational video content, it's something of an education supermarket. Web development? Check. Guitar? Check. Yoga? Check. You can download courses onto your device and view them offline, view them at your own pace, and take them in over 80 languages.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $0-$24 (If it's not already free, first course is $24.)</p> <h3>3. Coursera</h3> <p>While Udemy's courses are created by individual instructors, <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=388822.5&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Coursera</a> partners with universities and organizations. Here's how Coursera works: You enroll in a course &mdash; anything from Arts and Humanities to Data Science to Social Sciences &mdash; choose the free option to access videos, discussions, practice assignments, and view-only graded assignments. Then choose to earn a course certificate, pay a fee, and get access to graded assignments. You need to submit the assignments to earn the certificate. Now, Coursera offers specializations in subjects ranging from business, tech, data, and general interest. You have to earn certificates to specialize.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free</p> <p><strong>Cost for certificate</strong>: $30-$100</p> <h3>4. Udacity</h3> <p>Founded by former VP of Google Simon Thrun, <a href="https://www.udacity.com/">Udacity</a> was the first MOOC. According to Udacity, &quot;Education is no longer a one-time event, but a lifelong experience.&quot; The site's course emphasis is on tech, science, and math. Google, Facebook, and AT&amp;T are just some of the companies who have developed courses for Udacity. Learn how to develop your own app, or learn about robotics. You can take free courses, or opt to pay for a &quot;nanodegree.&quot; Now, Udacity is offering to refund half the cost of the nanodegree if you graduate within 12 months. They also guarantee you'll get a job.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free</p> <p><strong>Cost for nanodegree</strong>: $200/month</p> <h3>5. EdX</h3> <p>EdX offers courses ranging from computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, writing, electronics, biology, all the way to marketing. The only non-profit, open source MOOC platform, EdX was founded in 2012 by Harvard and MIT. <a href="http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013/10/2/edx-id-verified-certificates/">In 2013</a>, EdX debuted its three-tiered certification system. You can take any course for free as an audit, choose to earn a certificate based on performance, or pay and earn an &quot;ID-verified&quot; certificate &mdash; a credit for doing well and being who you say you are. You can also choose to pay more than the required price for certification in case you're feeling generous. Some courses may not have the verified certificate option.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free</p> <p><strong>Cost for ID-verified certificate:</strong> Varies per course</p> <h3>6. FutureLearn</h3> <p>Owned by the UK's massive The Open University (one of only three foreign universities accredited in America), <a href="https://www.futurelearn.com/">FutureLearn</a> partners with 82 organizations worldwide. This global emphasis means a different perspective than US-based MOOCs (but as an editorial note, American universities take pride in their borderless perspectives).</p> <p>Future Learn is onboard with the rest in charging for certification, which they call a &quot;Statement of Participation.&quot; Like EdX, Coursera, and Udemy, you merely have to ask yourself what you want to learn. Chances are Future Learn's got it. As a side note, now you can take a course from Sheffield University on &quot;How to Write Your First Song.&quot; No guarantees you'll be able to write more.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free</p> <p><strong>Cost for Statement of Participation</strong>: Varies per course</p> <h2>Specializations</h2> <p>Simply put, if you know what you want to learn, MOOCs aren't your only option. And diversity in sources for education is important. Here are three online courses in some of the most money-relevant modern subjects. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-a-legit-business-education-online?ref=seealso">3 Ways to Get a Legit Business Education Online</a>)</p> <h3>7. Excel University</h3> <p>No wonder being an accountant is certain to fetch you a reliable income. Accountants can use <a href="http://store.excel-university.com/">Excel University</a> to learn shortcuts and tricks and continue their required professional education. But the program is more than an accounting tool. It's in offices everywhere. If you want to learn how to use the ubiquitous Excel program more efficiently and proficiently, you can take the &quot;lite&quot; version of Excel University's course. Also, the site provides a free evaluation course, so you can sample before you buy.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $0-$499.00</p> <h3>8. American Graphics Institute UX Training</h3> <p>Learning website and app design will make you indispensable in today's connected world. <a href="https://www.agitraining.com/ux/classes">AGI's User Experience Design Training</a> lets you ask your teacher a question in real-time and receive the answer as soon as they know it. The instructors are the articulate, knowledgeable authors of the <em>Dummies</em> and <em>Digital Classroom</em> books. AGI puts a premium on usability. You can request a headset to communicate with your instructor, or simply use your computer's microphone. Just be aware that this course is not self-paced.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $495.00-$795.00, depending on course </strong></p> <h3>9. Edureka Big Data and Hadoop</h3> <p>Edureka is an alternative learning program offering a course in the field of big data. Specifically, this course will enable you to use <a href="https://www.appnovation.com/blog/hadoop-kids-cartoon">Hadoop</a>. Hadoop is an open source software project that lets you sort through and use the reams of data we generate on the web.</p> <p>For example, Facebook uses Hadoop to process user information and pinpoint how to improve algorithms. Credit card companies use it to identify and prevent fraud. Big Data and Hadoop are virtually everywhere in tech-savvy business, and data scientists are in high demand. Through Edureka's online program, you'll begin to get a handle on this huge field through live, interactive courses with 24/7 support.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $389</p> <p><em>Any other frugal online tools that provide additional education? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-matthews">Daniel Matthews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheap-ways-to-increase-your-knowledge-and-earning-potential">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-paid-to-learn">6 Ways to Get Paid to Learn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/download-a-yale-lecture-more-universities-offer-courses-to-the-public">Download A Yale Lecture: More Universities Offer Courses To The Public</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-computer-more-efficiently">How to Use a Computer More Efficiently</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-classes-that-can-pay-for-themselves">10 Classes That Can Pay for Themselves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Extra Income continuing education free classes free online classes low cost classes online tools skills Mon, 18 Apr 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Daniel Matthews 1691406 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000070282971_Large.jpg" alt="avoiding student loan debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="126" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>College awaits, but the shared dilemma all students face is agonizing. Should you go to college and let loans pick up the tab for the ever-rising cost of tuition? Or, join the workforce directly out of high school and risk earning far less than a college graduate? Decisions, decisions.</p> <p>According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), with a bachelor's degree, <a href="https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=77">you'll make 62% more</a> than you will with a high school diploma. Or, with a bachelor's you'll make $48,500 a year, versus $30,000 a year with a high school diploma.</p> <p>The high school grad who doesn't have a big chunk of change must weigh the cost of incurring debt against their projected earnings, and many have opted to risk the debt. Nationwide, <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/every-second-americans-get-buried-under-another-3055-in-student-loan-debt-2015-06-10">student loan debt is rising</a> at the rate of $2,726 per second, with a cumulative tab at about $1.3 trillion.</p> <p>But why does debt have to be the theme of a post-graduate life? You <em>can </em>go to college and avoid debt. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Grants</h2> <p>Unlike scholarships, grants are based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and financial need. Fill out your free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as you can. Grants from schools go to those who need them the most and those who apply for aid the earliest.</p> <p>You may be eligible for the Pell Grant, which the federal government awards to 10 million students a year. You may also be eligible for state grants: the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant, as well as grants based on your ethnicity.</p> <h2>2. Consider Crowd-Sourcing</h2> <p>There are now websites specifically set up to facilitate crowd-sourced funding for students to avoid loans, or to pay off loans. You'll do volunteer work in exchange for crowd-sourced funds, for example. Several options here are <a href="http://www.zerobound.com/">zerobound</a> and <a href="http://www.sponsorchange.org/">SponsorChange</a>.</p> <h2>3. Score Scholarships</h2> <p>Have you been a good student? Have you done extracurricular activities, excelled in sports, or are you willing to prove you're worthy of a scholarship? There are so many of these available that you can bet there's something for you &mdash; whether it's a $500 <a href="http://www.excel-university.com/scholarship/">accounting scholarship</a> or a $1,000 <a href="http://www.bulkofficesupply.com/scholarships-in-new-york">teaching, art, or entrepreneurial scholarship</a>. Sites such as <a href="http://www.fastweb.com/">Fastweb</a> and <a href="https://www.scholarships.com/">Scholarships.com</a> offer scholarship databases and information. The key here is to look into as many as you can and work hard at getting them.</p> <h2>4. Check Out Work-Study Options</h2> <p>If you qualify for federal financial aid, you may qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program. Work-study will gain you experience in your field of choice and will pay you to go to school, whether you're a part-time or full-time student. These positions get snatched up quickly, so check with your school's financial aid office as soon as your enrollment application is accepted.</p> <h2>5. Work a Part-Time Gig</h2> <p>Although this is likely to prolong the amount of time you spend in college, it will also lessen your debt. Consider looking into what the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-a-side-gig-at-these-4-best-micro-jobs-sites">gig economy</a> has to offer. You could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-extra-money-driving-for-uber-or-lyft">drive for Uber or Lyft</a>, you could do freelance writing, accounting, clean houses, or you could be a virtual assistant through <a href="https://www.zirtual.com/">Zirtual</a>. Gigs offer flexibility, options, and a safety cushion. There are cons, such as lack of benefits, but at least you can make your own schedule. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year?ref=seealso">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a>)</p> <h2>6. Talk to Your Employer About Education Benefits</h2> <p>If you're employed, your employer may be able to pay for your college education. Talk to your employer, because the IRS allows them to write off any reimbursement they make to you for tuition, no matter how much it is. They will be especially inclined to do so if your field of study is directly related to your job. If you're unemployed, or your employer doesn't offer reimbursement, apply for a job that does. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <h2>7. Consider Community College</h2> <p>You'll be earning experience you can later apply toward your bachelor's at a community college. And on average, tuition and fees for <a href="http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fees-and-room-and-board-over-time-2005-06-2015-16">community college are $3,435</a>, while they're $32,405 for university. According to the NCES, an associate's degree only earns you an average of about $11,500 less per year than a bachelor's.</p> <p>If you choose to go for a bachelor's degree, you'll be in school longer, but by the time you're done with community college, you'll be prepared for university. You may also be able to apply some of your community college credits toward earning your bachelor's. You may also have more money saved up for university tuition than you did when you got out of high school.</p> <p>There are also <a href="http://www.communitycollegereview.com/blog/community-college-scholarships">community college scholarships</a>. They can be merit-based, need-based, or entirely unique. Some schools, such as Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, offer an automatic, merit-based scholarship for the student with a high GPA seeking to transfer to a university.</p> <h2>8. Live at Home During College</h2> <p>Are you a high school graduate considering a college near your hometown? Most likely, your parents would be happy to let you to live with them if you're paying your way through college. If they are willing to put you up rent-free, you're good to go. You could work a side job at the same time. College isn't about partying and living in a dorm. Sure, it happens, but it's not a requirement. Living at home will help you concentrate on studying and saving money.</p> <h2>9. Forgo College Until You're Financially Ready</h2> <p>Be committed for the long-term when it comes to your career, and your life. The staggering <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">facts about student loan debt</a> put it into perspective. If you end up with debt, you could end up living with your parents after graduating, as 27% of graduates do. You could end up falling behind on your loan repayments, as 35% did in 2012. On average, it could end up taking you 20 years to pay off your loan.</p> <p>Commit to going to college after you've saved enough money, and your life will be a lot easier once you graduate &mdash; you'll be free to pursue what you want, instead of taking a low-paying job right out of college because you just need the money.</p> <h2>10. Talk to an Academic Advisor</h2> <p>Graduate as fast as you can by planning out your degree. This will minimize money you spend. In other words, decide what you want to major in before jumping into general classes, and find the fastest path to graduation.</p> <h2>11. Pay in Installments</h2> <p>Speak with the financial aid office at the college you want to attend about tuition installment plans. You have to be certain you can pay, but this will make it more like paying rent, which is easier than forking over lump sums. If you're budgeting wisely, living at home, and working part-time, meeting installments shouldn't be a problem.</p> <h2>12. Stick With Federal Loans Only</h2> <p>The Federal Direct Loan offers the most options for income-based repayment, including <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/announcements/repaye">REPAYE</a>, which fixes your payment at 10% of your discretionary income and forgives your debt after 20 years. The Direct Loan also offers debt forgiveness if you're working in a public service field and have made 120 payments without defaulting. Your interest rate will be fixed, unlike a private loan, which sticks you with a variable rate. Pay on the loan as you go through school, and make the biggest payments so you can to avoid paying too much on interest. When doing your taxes, write off interest payments. And be sure to use tax returns and other windfalls to make large payments.</p> <p><em>Any other easy ways to avoid student loan debt? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-matthews">Daniel Matthews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/student-loans-how-to-make-post-college-decisions">Student Loans: How to Make Post-College Decisions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/share-your-thoughts-consolidating-student-loans">Share Your Thoughts: Consolidating Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training college college debt debt management saving for college student loan debt student loans Tue, 12 Apr 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Daniel Matthews 1688980 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Most Common Tax Mistakes Made by College Grads http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-common-tax-mistakes-made-by-college-grads <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-most-common-tax-mistakes-made-by-college-grads" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000059339990.jpg" alt="College grads making common tax mistakes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Attention grads: While you may be done with college, you aren't off the hook from major assignments. One of those major assignments is filing your tax return, and this is one assignment deadline that you don't want to miss.</p> <p>This year, Monday April 18th is the deadline to file your federal taxes. (Residents of Maine and Massachusetts get an extra day!) With time running out, it&rsquo;s important to file your return correctly the first time around. Be on the lookout for the five most common tax mistakes made by college grads.</p> <h2>1. Not Claiming Education Credits</h2> <p>According to a 2014 study from H&amp;R Block, only two-thirds of Americans eligible for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students">tax breaks for students</a> actually claim them! Within those tax breaks, the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit stand out because they can reduce your tax bill by up to $2,500 and $2,000, respectively.</p> <p>Unlike other tax deductions, the American Opportunity Credit can still get you a refund even when you don't owe any federal income tax. If the American Opportunity Tax Credit brings the amount you owe to zero, you can have 40% of the remaining amount of the credit (<a href="http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/AOTC">up to $1,000</a>) refunded to you.</p> <p>While the American Opportunity Tax Credit requires you to not have finished the first four years of higher education at the beginning of the tax year, the Lifetime Learning Credit doesn't require students to be working toward a degree. You're eligible to claim this credit as long as you're taking at least one class.</p> <p>Bonus: If you're taking a sabbatical from your recent graduation and are eligible to be claimed as a dependent by your parents, they can claim these credits in their own return.</p> <p>File <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8863.pdf">Form 8863</a> with your federal return to claim the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits.</p> <h2>2. Not Filing Taxes When Abroad</h2> <p>Talking about sabbaticals, you still need to check with Uncle Sam every year during tax season even when you're abroad. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, no matter where you live.</p> <p>The good news is that when you expect to get a refund or not to owe any federal taxes, you can take advantage of the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/U.S.-Citizens-and-Resident-Aliens-Abroad---Automatic-2-Month-Extension-of-Time-to-File">automatic two-month extension</a> to file your return. However, if you believe that you will owe federal taxes, then file by the regular deadline (April 15 most years) to avoid paying applicable interest charges or penalties.</p> <h2>3. Forgetting About Moving Expenses</h2> <p>Chances are that your first job after graduation will require you to move. No matter whether you move away from your college dorm, parent's home, or own rental, double check how far away your new job location is from your old residence. If the distance is <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/Moving-Expense-Deduction">at least 50 miles</a>, then the IRS allows you itemize several moving expenses, including:</p> <ul> <li>Transportation and storage of household goods and personal effects within any period of 30 days in a rows after date of move;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Insurance for those household goods and personal effects before delivered to your new home;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Out-of-pocket expenses for gas and oil or mileage at 23 cents a mile, in case you drive for the move; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Parking fees and tolls.</li> </ul> <p>Use <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f3903.pdf">Form 3903</a> to figure out whether or not you can deduct your moving expenses and what is your allowable moving expense deduction.</p> <h2>4. Withholding Too Much in Taxes</h2> <p>Whether you graduate in the spring, summer, or fall, you would expect to be employed fewer than 245 days (about eight months) during the current calendar year. In that case, you can ask your employer to use the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p505/ch01.html#en_US_2016_publink1000194430">part-year withholding method</a> so that less tax is withheld from each of your paychecks.</p> <p>IRS Publication 505 states that you must ask your employer in writing to use this method. In your letter, make sure to include these three items:</p> <ul> <li>Date of your last day of work for any prior employer during the current calendar year;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Statement that you don't expect to be employed more than 245 days during the current calendar year; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Statement that you're using the calendar year as your tax year.</li> </ul> <p>If your employer approves your request, the HR department will use the regular percentage method tables from Publication 15 with adjustments for your part-year employment. This is the best way to maximize those first-year checks. Remember that you don't earn interest on refunds!</p> <h2>5. Miscalculating Student Loan Interest</h2> <p>Mom and Dad are always willing to lend you a helping hand and may have footed your student loan payments until you landed your first post-graduation job. In that case, and as long as you're not claimed as a dependent by your parents, you can deduct up to $2,500 of interest paid on qualifying student loans by them from your income subject to tax every year. Just make sure to let your parents know that they won't be able to deduct those interest payments from their own return.</p> <p>Even when you're making student loan payments yourself, you can still deduct up to $2,500 of the interest payments. To be eligible to claim this deduction in 2016, your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) must be less than $80,000 if single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er), or $160,000 if married filing a joint return.</p> <p>To figure out your student loan interest deduction, check Form 1098-E from the institution that receives interest payments made on your behalf or paid by you. Your interest deduction is gradually reduced when your MAGI is between $65,000 and $80,000 ($130,000 and $160,000 if you file a joint return).</p> <p>Let's imagine that you paid $2,600 on interest for a qualified student loan throughout 2015. Assuming you file your return as single, here's how much you could deduct based on your 2015's MAGI:</p> <ul> <li><strong>MAGI is $50,000</strong>: You can deduct the full $2,500.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>MAGI is $70,000:</strong> You need to phase out your student loan interest deduction using rules from <a href="http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch04.html">IRS Publication 970</a>: $2,500 x ($70,00-$65,000)/$15,000 = $833.33. Your eligible student loan interest deduction would be $2,500 - $833.33 = $1,666.67.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>MAGI is $85,000</strong>: You can't deduct any student loan interest payments.</li> </ul> <p><em>Have you made any of these tax mistakes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-common-tax-mistakes-made-by-college-grads">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students">Don&#039;t Skip These 8 Tax Breaks for Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-tax-changes-for-2016">5 Important Tax Changes for 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Taxes abroad college grads deductions IRS moving expenses student loans students Tue, 12 Apr 2016 09:00:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1687443 at http://www.wisebread.com When Should You Start Saving for Your Child’s Education? http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-start-saving-for-your-child-s-education <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-should-you-start-saving-for-your-child-s-education" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/boy_school_books_000053329704.jpg" alt="Determining when to start saving for your child&#039;s education" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>College is expensive, and it's only going to get more expensive. Tuition costs continue to climb at a rate significantly <a href="http://www.finaid.org/savings/tuition-inflation.phtml">higher than the inflation rate</a>. In fact, on average, the cost of college doubles about every nine years. This means that for a child born today, once they enter college, the college costs will be nearly four times what they are now. You can help your child pay for college by saving (and saving early!), but before you open any accounts, be sure your understand your situation, and your options.</p> <h2>Is It Better to Save for <em>Your </em>Retirement or <em>Their </em>Education?</h2> <p>In a perfect world, you should be saving both for your retirement and your child's education. It's also important to have a sizable savings account in case of an emergency. However, if you can't save for everything, the first priority is to save for your own future retirement.</p> <p>If your child doesn't have enough money for their education, they can always take out educational loans and apply for scholarships. You won't be able to take out loans for your retirement, so it's important that you save for retirement first.</p> <p>If you can afford to save for your child's education, here's what to expect.</p> <h2>Compound Interest Is Your Friend</h2> <p>The best time to start planning for your child's education is from the day they are born. If you begin saving from day one, a good estimate is to save $250 a month for an in-state public college, $400 a month for an out-of-state public college, and $500 a month for a private college.</p> <p>As is the case when saving early for retirement, saving early for your child's education can be huge. Compound interest can be your best friend because the interest that you earn early on will also earn interest from then on, which can spell huge gains if you start investing early. On the other hand, the longer you wait to save, the less interest you will accumulate, and the more you will need to save later on.</p> <p>For instance, if you start saving $250 per month at a 6% return from the time your child is born, you'll earn approximately $97,330 by the time they enter college. If you wait until they are 10 years old to begin saving, you'll have approximately $30,862 accumulated by the time they enter college. This is the beauty of compound interest.</p> <h2>How to Invest</h2> <p>In most cases, if you start saving early, it is best to use an age-based allocation for your investment. This means that it will start with more aggressive investments to earn more interest early on. The allocation will then become more conservative as your child gets older and closer to entering college.</p> <h3>529 Savings Plans</h3> <p>A 529 college savings plan, also known as a Qualified Tuition Program, will allow you to save for your child's education in a tax-free manner. Each 529 plan has its own associated annual fees and operating costs, so you will want to carefully compare these to get the best deal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <p>The plan works similarly to a 401K or IRA, so the contributions will be taxed, but the earnings will not be. You can contribute to this tax-free account until your child is 18. The money from the account must be used by the time they are 30. If your child decides that they don't want to go to college, you can change the beneficiary.</p> <h3>Coverdell ESA</h3> <p>A Coverdell Education Savings Account is a custodial account that can be used to cover any educational expenses, at any time, so you won't need to wait until your child enters college. While they function similarly to a 529 savings plan, the contribution amounts are much lower. While a 529 account allows lifetime contributions of $200,000&ndash;$400,000, a Coverdell ESA only allows contributions of $2,000 per year. The money from the account must be used by the time they are 30.</p> <h3>Prepaid Tuition Plans</h3> <p>A prepaid tuition plan will allow you to purchase tuition credit in advance at a predetermined price from an in-state public school, though many will also cover out-of-state schools. This means that you can pre-purchase tuition at today's price, so you won't need to worry about inflation or the increasing cost of education. These plans have the same tax and financial aid restrictions as 529 savings plans. The major downside to the plan is that if your child decides to go to another school, you'll get a return of your money, but inflation can still affect you.</p> <p>For instance, say you invest $10,000 for a year of tuition and the cost per-year increases to $20,000. You would still get a full year's worth of tuition. If your child decides to go to another school, your original investment of $10,000 (plus a very small amount of interest) will be returned to you. However, now that the tuition per year is higher, your investment won't go as far.</p> <h3>UGMA and UTMA Accounts</h3> <p>UGMA (Uniform Gift to Minors Act) and UTMA (Uniform Transfer to Minors Act) accounts are custodial accounts, which will allow you to reserve cash and assets for your children. According to the IRS, the initial $1,000 in gains is tax-free, the next $1,000 is taxed at the child's income tax rate, and the remainder is taxed at the parent's income tax rate. The downside to these accounts is you have less control over how your child spends the money because there are no restrictions on how the funds are used as long as they directly benefit your child. Once your child comes of age (between age 18&ndash;21, depending on the state), they can use the money however they choose.</p> <h2>Using Your IRA to Pay for Your Child's Education</h2> <p>The IRS allows you to <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch09.html">withdraw IRA funds tax-free</a> and penalty-free to pay for qualifying educational expenses. This will allow you to save for their education, while having the peace of mind that if your child decides not to go to college, you can still use the funds for retirement.</p> <h2>Avoid the Savings Account Trap</h2> <p>Opening a savings account in your child's name may seem like a good idea, but it may end up costing you in the end. Financial aid is based on assets from the year prior to applying for aid. When determining how much financial aid to award your child, they will consider your child's savings accounts as well as any funds in any custodial accounts. This means that if your child has a large amount of savings in their name, they may end up losing out on financial aid.</p> <h2>Getting a Late Start</h2> <p>If you haven't begun saving for your child's education as they approach college, it's never too late to start. If you have less than five years to save before they enter college, it may be a good idea to work with a financial planner or advisor so that they can help you get the most from this time. They can help you determine what your risk tolerance is so that you don't invest too aggressively and take on too much risk in an effort to catch-up.</p> <h2>Get Your Child to Help</h2> <p>Once your teenager lands their first job, be sure to to make it into a learning opportunity for them. This can be a good time for them to begin saving and breaking their paychecks up into three portions: weekly expenses, short-term goals, and long-term expenses (such as saving for college). This will help to relieve some of the burden, and it will prepare your child for the real world and teach the importance of saving.</p> <p><em>Did you start saving early for your child's education? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-start-saving-for-your-child-s-education">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students">Don&#039;t Skip These 8 Tax Breaks for Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-free-or-almost-free-college-textbooks">How to Score Free (or Almost Free) College Textbooks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Family 529 plans college compound interest Coverdell ESA investing saving tuition UGMA UTMA Fri, 08 Apr 2016 09:30:31 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1682911 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Tax Tricks to Try if You're Stuck With Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college_grad_cash_000049202136.jpg" alt="New grad stuck with student loans trying tax tricks " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're buried in student loan debt, it doesn't seem fair to be paying taxes. That's why it's important to get as much as you can back with your tax returns. Take advantage of deductions and credits, and if you're fortunate enough to be able to do so, use your returns to pay down a big chunk of your debt. Here's what you should be looking for while filling out your return.</p> <h2>1. Deduct Interest Paid</h2> <p>You can deduct the interest you pay on your debt. At least this way you recoup some of what you spent.</p> <p>You'll file the deduction as an adjustment to income. The maximum amount you can deduct is $2,500. If you've paid more than $600 in interest in the past year, you should receive form 1098-E from your lender. Box #1 will tell you how much interest you paid.</p> <p>If you paid less than $600, you'll have to check records to see how much to deduct. There's an income ceiling &mdash; after you make $80,000 a year, you're exempt. See the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc456.html">IRS page</a> on this topic.</p> <p>Are you still in school? I recommend not deferring your interest payment. If you do defer, your lender simply tacks that interest onto the principal of your loan. Then, you end up paying interest on the interest.</p> <h2>2. Deduct Tuition and Fees</h2> <p>This deduction adjusts the amount of income on which you're taxed. It's good for up to $4,000 per year. If you're a dependent on someone else's tax return or you are married and filing separately, you don't qualify. Like the interest deduction, if you earn a certain amount, you're exempt. Also, if you want to claim either of the education tax credits (see &quot;Stay in School&quot; below), you can't claim the <a href="https://www.taxslayer.com/support/knowledgebasearticle187.aspx">Tuition and Fees Deduction</a>.</p> <h2>3. Get the Earned Income Tax Credit</h2> <p>If you qualify for it, get it. The EITC, or EIC, is for those of us with low income. Surprisingly, only about 80% of workers who qualify for the credit claim it. If you're married, don't file separately &mdash; this will disqualify you. If you're single, to get this credit you have to make less than $14,820 in a year. If you're married and/or have kids the <a href="http://www.efile.com/what-is-the-earned-income-tax-credit-eitc-eic-eligibility-schedule-calculator/">qualification ceiling goes up</a>.</p> <h2>4. Take on Freelance Work</h2> <p>Not only will freelancing earn you more money towards paying off your debt, you'll also be able to write off a number of expenses. These deductions include work materials, such as a laptop or tablet you use exclusively for freelance writing. You can write off meals and snacks you eat in the course of your workday. You can also write off expenses related directly and indirectly to the space you use for work. Yes it's a hassle, but make sure to document your expenses if you want to qualify for deductions.</p> <h2>5. Stay in School</h2> <p>Is graduation in sight but you're nervous about your post-graduate plans? You may want to stay in school. Here's the logic behind this: College students can be eligible for some great <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/four-major-student-tax-breaks-2013-1">tax breaks</a>:</p> <ul> <li><em>American Opportunity Credit</em> &mdash; Up to $2,500 for tuition, fees, books, and other equipment<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>Lifetime Learning Credit</em> &mdash; Up to $2,000 for education-related expenses</li> </ul> <p>You can only claim one of these credits. To get the American Opportunity Credit, you have to be at least a part-time student, and you can only claim it for the first four years of college. It's refundable by up to $1,000, meaning you could see that money go right back into your pocket.</p> <p>The Lifetime Learning Credit applies to the student who wants to continue for more than four years, or go to graduate school.</p> <p>Combined with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students" target="_blank">student loan interest deduction</a>, tax credits can save you a nice chunk of change to apply towards paying off your loans. Work a freelance job at the same time, get the freelancer deductions, and now you're talking tax strategy. But know you can't make more than $80,000 a year to get the American Opportunity Credit, and no more than $60,000 to get the Lifetime Learning Credit.</p> <h2>6. Look Into the Business Deduction for Work-Related Education</h2> <p>Here's a scenario. You're a writer and you're going to school to get a degree in English with some sort of writing emphasis. On the side, you do freelance writing to make a little extra cash. You can deduct your education expenses.</p> <p>Or, your employer can pay for your education and write it off on their taxes. Your degree has to go toward continuing in your employment field, and it can't be a degree toward meeting your employer's minimum educational requirements.</p> <p>Even if you're on a leave of absence from work, you can <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc513.html">still deduct educational expenses</a>.</p> <h2>7. Paying for Child Care? The Child and Dependent Care Credit</h2> <p>You can get a credit of up to $3,000 for one child/dependent, or $6,000 for two children/dependents, per year. You have to be employed or seeking employment. If you're a full-time student, you qualify as being employed. Your income will determine your credit amount, but the nice thing is there is no income ceiling. You must provide your child care provider's information, as they must be a qualifying provider (not your spouse or one of your older kids). The <a href="http://www.taxcreditsforworkingfamilies.org/child-and-dependent-care-tax-credit/">Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit</a> is a nice boost, and combined with the other credits listed here, will definitely help you out come tax time.</p> <h2>8. Get Free Tax Prep</h2> <p>All of this is a lot to take in, and doing your own taxes can be frustrating, especially if you're pressed for resources. Is there a community college in your area? Under the IRS VITA program, low to moderate-income Americans can get tax help from volunteers at community colleges and other locations. Of course there are qualifications you have to meet, and materials you have to bring. You qualify if:</p> <ul> <li>You make $54,000 a year or less<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You're elderly or incapable of preparing on your own taxes due to disability<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You speak limited English</li> </ul> <p>The IRS page on this topic will provide you with a tool for finding the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers">closest VITA tax-preparer</a>, and info on <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Checklist-for-Free-Tax-Return-Preparation">what to bring</a>.</p> <p>Happy tax prep!</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of these tax breaks for students?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-matthews">Daniel Matthews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-better-way-to-rank-americas-colleges">A Better Way to Rank America&#039;s Colleges</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-start-saving-for-your-child-s-education">When Should You Start Saving for Your Child’s Education?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-common-tax-mistakes-made-by-college-grads">5 Most Common Tax Mistakes Made by College Grads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Taxes college dependents interest student loans tax breaks tax deductions tuition Mon, 04 Apr 2016 09:30:34 +0000 Daniel Matthews 1683568 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Places to Find Cheap (or Free!) Education http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-cheap-or-free-education <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-places-to-find-cheap-or-free-education" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000081164455_Large.jpg" alt="looking for free or cheap education" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You have no skills, and no experience. Nightmares of a life cooking fries at a fast food chain weave in and out of your dreams. But don't give up yet. There is an escape from your fry-littered nightmares. Education can be the golden ticket that jumpstarts a lucrative and fulfilling career as a corporate manager, editor, or web developer.</p> <p>Let's stop for a moment before you rush headlong into a student loan nightmare. While college can equip you with useful skills and certifications, the high cost of education has led to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">student loan crisis</a>. For those who choose to enter public service careers, student loan debts can be forgiven. For everyone else, you might want to consider that some high-paying companies&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/18/penguin-ditches-the-need-for-job-seekers-to-have-university-degrees">no longer require a college degree</a> as an application requirement.</p> <p>Here are other ways to continue your education without spending much &mdash; or any &mdash; of your hard-earned money.</p> <h2>1. Podcasts</h2> <p>Seek out educational podcasts on topics that could potentially help you find a job down the line. Colleges like Stanford, Oxford, and Yale create recordings of their professor's lectures and post them online for free. You can find a large collection of free podcasts in the iTunes U portion of the iTunes store.</p> <h2>2. Free Educational Videos and Lectures</h2> <p>Not fond of just hearing a voice drone on about this war or that economic concept? Rather than listening to podcasts, you might want to try to locate educational videos. These are excellent for the more visual learners out there.</p> <p>Recently, I started listening to lectures by famous fantasy novelist and Professor&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2FCD81A6FE4280AC">Brandon Sanderson on YouTube</a>. It's a great alternative to taking a formal writing class.</p> <p>Informative webinars like TedTalks can also be found on a variety of educational topics. You might also find webinars with professor guest speakers on the resources pages of university websites. In fact, Pepperdine University has some&nbsp;<a href="http://mbaonline.pepperdine.edu/resources/videos-webinars/">great webinars</a> presented by their professors on business topics like company culture and big data.</p> <h2>3. Training and Learning Websites</h2> <p>Web development, freelance writing, and a variety of careers require the individual to develop specific skills. In order to help individuals acquire those skills, free educational websites have been created.</p> <p>Codecademy offers free interactive HTML and web development courses. With determination, hard work, and access to a computer, you can quickly acquire the skills to land a job in tech.</p> <p>Freelance and writing blogs offer informative guides to help you learn to write high quality articles for various news outlets and websites. They also tend to write guides on how to find freelance gigs, how to approach editors, and how to utilize marketing to find success.</p> <h2>4. Audit or Sit In on College Courses</h2> <p>Want to take a class, but lack the funds? Auditing or sitting in on a course might be a good alternative.</p> <p>With auditing, students are required to attend class, do non-graded work, and the course audit goes into a student's official transcript. Some universities do charge a fee for the ability to audit a class, so make sure to check that before showing up.</p> <p>Sitting in on a class allows a student to attend the class without paying a fee. The student will probably need to attend regularly and complete all non-graded work. You will need to check with the college and professor first about a sit-in possibility.</p> <h2>5. The Global Freshman Academy</h2> <p>Recently, Arizona State University created a series of online courses called&nbsp;<a href="http://asuonline.asu.edu/about-us/newsroom/asu-and-cerego-partner-power-personalized-learning-environments-global-freshman">The Global Freshman Academy</a>. The academy allows individuals to take their freshman courses with only a $45 processing fee. It's essentially a way to audit educational courses. If at the end of the semester, the student passes the course and they wish to earn the credits, the student can choose to pay for the credits. Whether or not you plan to attend college, it's a cost-effective way to gain knowledge and dip your toes into higher education.</p> <h2>6. Tuition Assistance Programs</h2> <p>If you dream of a profession that requires a college degree, your best bet might be to apply for a job that has a tuition assistance program. In order to retain employees for a longer period of time, many businesses offer to pay for a portion of a student's educational fees. If you have to work at a retail or food service job, you might as well make it one that will help you acquire an education.</p> <p><em>Have you scored any cheap or free education? Share with us in the comments! </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-cheap-or-free-education">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Here&#039;s How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/college-resources">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/saving-for-college">How to Save Money for College</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Education & Training cheap classes college education free education training videos Mon, 14 Mar 2016 10:30:11 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1671107 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Skip These 8 Tax Breaks for Students http://www.wisebread.com/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/female_student_000051988928.jpg" alt="Female student finding helpful tax deductions and breaks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dear students, I'm sure that you have heard the news: Every single year the average student loan debt per borrower is increasing. For example, the average class of 2015 graduate with student loan debt will owe a <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/05/08/congratulations-class-of-2015-youre-the-most-indebted-ever-for-now/">little more than $35,000</a>.</p> <p>Still, there is a silver lining: College students and grads often qualify for significant tax breaks and deductions. To minimize your tax bill and increase your chances of a refund, here are eight tax deductions and breaks worth knowing about.</p> <h2>1. 529 Plans</h2> <p>If your parents or other donor started a 529 plan for you, you're in luck. Also known as qualified tuition programs, 529 plans allow individuals to save for education expenses on a tax-deferred basis and allow a designated beneficiary (ideally, that's you) to use those funds, including interest gains, for qualified expenses free of taxes or penalties.</p> <p>But few people know that you can also start a 529 plan for yourself. Yes, if you anticipate returning to school for any reason, you can save for related expenses in your own 529 plan &mdash; at any age. The list of qualified education expenses goes beyond tuition and academic fees, including expenses for room and board, transportation, equipment, and accommodations for individuals with special needs, so adults can benefit, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <h2>2. Qualified IRA Distributions</h2> <p>Qualified distributions taken from a traditional IRA for use in qualified higher education expenses create no tax burden or penalty for you, assuming you only withdraw contributions, and not any earnings on the contributions. (Note: If your spouse, parent, or grandparent takes distributions from their own plans to fund your educational expenses, they would have to pay applicable income taxes on those funds, but don't have to pay the early distribution penalty which applies if under age 59 1/2.)</p> <h2>3. American Opportunity Credit</h2> <p>Replacing the Hope Scholarship credit, the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/AOTC">American Opportunity Credit</a> allows you to cover up to $2,500 of undergraduate college costs, including:</p> <ul> <li>100% of your first $2,000 qualified education expenses; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>25% of next $2,000 qualified education expenses.</li> </ul> <p>Keep in mind that you can claim the American Opportunity tax credit on your own academic expenses or on those of your spouse and kids. This means that you can claim up to $2,500 per student living in your household. However, to be eligible for the full credit, your modified adjusted gross income must be $80,000 or less (those making more receive a reduced amount of the credit).</p> <p>Another advantage of this tax credit is that 40% of it is refundable, meaning that the IRS will issue a refund for that amount even if you don't owe any federal income tax.</p> <h2>4. Lifetime Learning Credit</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/LLC">Lifetime Learning Credit</a> allows you to deduct up to 20% of your first $10,000 in qualified education expenses, up to $2,000 per taxpayer.</p> <p>Unlike the American Opportunity Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit isn't refundable. You can use it to reduce any tax that you owe, but won't receive a refund for the unused portion when your tax bill is already zero.</p> <p>However, the Lifetime Learning Credit doesn't require you to be working towards a degree like the American Opportunity Credits does. A single class makes you eligible for this tax credit.</p> <p>To claim the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits, file <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8863.pdf">Form 8863</a> with your federal return.</p> <h2>5. Business Deduction for Work-Related Education</h2> <p>The IRS allows you to deduct the costs of <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch12.html#en_US_2015_publink1000178645">qualifying work-related education</a> as business expenses as long as the education is:</p> <ul> <li>Required by employer of by law;</li> <li>Necessary to maintain or improve skills; or</li> <li>Indispensable to meet minimum requirements.</li> </ul> <p>You can also deduct qualifying transportation and travel expenses necessary for completing the education. For example, you can deduct 57.5 cents per mile driven and 50% of meals when traveling overnight for education purposes throughout 2015.</p> <p>Make sure to keep all records, such as transcripts and catalogs of coursework, and receipts from all of your education expenses to provide sufficient support, especially in case of an IRS audit. A best practice is to obtain a statement from your employer providing details about your required education and reimbursements.</p> <p>For more details, consult Chapter 12 from <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf">IRS Publication 970</a>.</p> <h2>6. Coverdell Education Savings Account</h2> <p>Students under age 18, or of any age with special needs, don't pay any tax on distributions from <a href="http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc310.html">Coverdell Education Saving Accounts</a> for qualified education expenses at eligible institutions.</p> <p>While there is no limit on the number of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts that can be opened for the same beneficiary, the total cash contribution to all accounts on behalf of the beneficiary cannot exceed a total of $2,000 per year. Contributions can only be made in cash.</p> <h2>7. Education Savings Bond Program</h2> <p>Series EE bonds issued after 1989 and Series I bonds qualify for the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch10.html">Education Savings Bond Program</a>, allowing you to not pay tax on the interest earned on those U.S. savings bonds. While you can take the tax deduction for your own education, you must be at least 24 years old before the bond's issue date.</p> <p>For additional eligibility criteria, such as modified adjusted gross income tiers, consult Chapter 10 from IRS Publication 970.</p> <h2>8. Scholarship and Fellowship Grants</h2> <p>Last but not least, the IRS exempts students from any taxes on funds from scholarship or fellowship grants that don't exceed qualified education expenses or represent payment for teaching, research, or other services.</p> <p>To increase the combined value of educational credits and other types of educational assistance, the IRS recommends to coordinate Pell grants and other scholarships by including some or all of the additional assistance in income in the years it's received.</p> <p><em>What are other tax deductions and breaks available for students?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-common-tax-mistakes-made-by-college-grads">5 Most Common Tax Mistakes Made by College Grads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-start-saving-for-your-child-s-education">When Should You Start Saving for Your Child’s Education?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Taxes 529 plans college credits deductions savings programs students Wed, 09 Mar 2016 10:30:27 +0000 Damian Davila 1668045 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Part-Time Jobs That Offer College Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000058811630_Large.jpg" alt="this part time job offers college benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Good news, college students. You don't have to wait until you graduate to take full advantage of employee benefits. In fact, many employers offer their part-time employees college benefits, such as tuition reimbursement and scholarships. Picking the right part-time position in your college years could provide you with more than just work experience &mdash; it can lead you to lower college debt, too. Here are eight great part-time gigs to check out that offer college benefits.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college-without-loans-where-to-find-scholarships?ref=seealso">College Without Loans: Where to Find Scholarships</a></p> <h2>1. UPS</h2> <p>UPS offers one of the best <a href="https://ups.managehr.com/earn-and-learn-program.htm">college tuition reimbursement programs</a> to part-time employees. The company allows employees to earn $5,250 per calendar year towards education costs with its Education Assistance program. Employees can earn up to $25,000 max in college reimbursements. The best part is that eligibility begins on day one, and if you are hired mid-semester, your benefits will be prorated.</p> <h2>2. Starbucks</h2> <p>As if free coffee wasn't a good enough perk, Starbucks has a partnership with Arizona State University (ASU) that provides Starbucks' partners partial tuition reimbursement. The amount of tuition reimbursed varies based on the partner's unique financial situation and needs. The <a href="http://globalassets.starbucks.com/assets/BFD254FF83424CCC855AAF9855DC84C7.pdf">Starbucks College Achievement Plan</a> is open to any Starbucks-owned company employee, regardless of the position title. Partners must also not have a bachelor's degree already.</p> <h2>3. Publix</h2> <p>Publix allows employees to earn up to $3,200 per calendar year (and $12,800 lifetime) for <a href="http://corporate.publix.com/careers/why-publix/tuition-reimbursement">college reimbursement</a>. The company allows $3,400 to be applied towards individual courses, technical college, or community college. Employees must have six months vested in the company and work at least 10 hours per week to qualify.</p> <h2>4. Chick-Fil-A</h2> <p>Chick-Fil-A offers its employees the chance to win a <a href="http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Media/PDF/2012-Scholarship-Fact-Sheet.pdf">$1,000 Leadership scholarship</a>. Employees are required to have a high school diploma to be eligible. Employees must have also applied for college and show that they have a great work ethic and are active in their communities.</p> <h2>5. Home Depot</h2> <p>For part-time employees, Home Depot allows up to <a href="https://secure.livethehealthyorangelife.com/files/14_Tuition-reimbursement_flyer_updatev1_web.pdf">$1,500 in tuition reimbursement</a> per calendar year. Tuition reimbursement is applicable to degrees related to the business of Home Depot, but individuals can use the reimbursement towards an undergraduate degree, graduate degree, or technical degree.</p> <h2>6. Bank of America</h2> <p>As long as your course is job-related, Bank of America will <a href="https://www.acclarisbenefits.com/common/3_FT-H-456B_113_Tuition_Reimbursement_Form_FINAL.pdf">reimburse part-time employees</a> up to $5,250 per calendar year. Certificate and professional development programs do not count for reimbursement. Part-time employees must be with Bank of America for six months and work at least 20 hours per week in order to be considered.</p> <h2>7. McDonald's</h2> <p>Often McDonald's gets a bad rap as a part-time job. However, the educational benefits the company provides crew members and restaurant managers is impressive. McDonald's program, <a href="http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/careers/training_education.html">Archways to Opportunity</a>, provides employees with free English as a Second Language (ESL) courses and will cover the complete costs for employees to earn their high school diploma. The company also provides tuition reimbursement for eligible courses and is partnered with select colleges to offer employees a bigger discount on tuition.</p> <p>Furthermore, McDonald's offers scholarships and management curriculum. The company started Hamburger University in 1961, which allows graduate employees to earn essential management skills and even earn college credit.</p> <h2>8. Walmart and Sam's Club</h2> <p>Part-time associates at either Walmart or Sam's Club can <a href="https://www.apus.edu/walmart">earn a tuition grant</a> that saves them 15% of the cost of college courses. The only catch is that associates must get their degree through American Public University (APU). All degree-seeking undergraduate associates are also eligible for an undergraduate book grant that covers almost all of textbook expenses. This grant can be earned, regardless of the degree being pursued. Though the company does not make it clear if this grant is only for APU students, too. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts?ref=seealso">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a>)</p> <p>These are just a sample of great part-time employers that offer college benefits. If you currently work for a smaller or private company, it doesn't hurt to ask if the employer would consider partial tuition reimbursement. Make your case by showing how certain courses or a specific degree would help you become a more valuable asset to the company.</p> <p><em>Would you take a part-time position just for the college benefits? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-high-paying-careers-with-low-educational-barriers">10 High-Paying Careers With Low Educational Barriers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/part-time-jobs-that-can-get-you-serious-discounts">Part-Time Jobs That Can Get You Serious Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-increase-your-childs-odds-of-winning-a-scholarship">How to Increase Your Child&#039;s Odds of Winning a Scholarship</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-jobs-for-people-who-want-to-work-from-home">10 Awesome Jobs for People Who Want to Work From Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Job Hunting college benefits college reimbursement college tuition part-time jobs Wed, 02 Mar 2016 10:00:04 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1666103 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Increase Your Child's Odds of Winning a Scholarship http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-increase-your-childs-odds-of-winning-a-scholarship <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-increase-your-childs-odds-of-winning-a-scholarship" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000040968700_Large.jpg" alt="increasing his odds of getting a scholarship" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No doubt about it, college is expensive. And taking on large amounts of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">student loan debt</a> can damper a student's (and parent's) finances for many years after graduation. Scholarships are a viable solution to helping foot the pricey bill of a degree, but many students and parents view scholarships like a mythical, magical solution that is unattainable.</p> <p>While that's not necessarily true, it is difficult to score a good one. Popular scholarships are overwhelmed with thousands of applicants, while the unclaimed scholarships are so specific that only a handful of college students qualify.</p> <p>While it is important to be realistic about the scholarship search before you begin. Rarely do students land a full-ride scholarship or get all of their expenses covered through scholarships. However, don't let this discourage you or your child from applying. Even a $1,000 to $5,000 scholarship can be highly beneficial towards school costs. Here are some tips on increasing your child's chances of winning a scholarship.</p> <h2>1. Get to Know the College Counselor</h2> <p>Your child's college counselor will be the best person to ask about scholarships. Many times local businesses will contact your college counselor directly and even ask them to select the student for them. A college counselor can be an important key to getting access to lesser known scholarships, but they will want students to be respectful of their time and efforts.</p> <p>Similarly, the financial aid director at a community or junior college, or a university, can help connect you to aid after you have been accepted to the school.</p> <h2>2. Go Local</h2> <p>An Internet search of available scholarships will quickly show you thousands of scholarships available all over the world. However, every other student who is researching scholarships is going to have access to the same information. Many times local scholarships increase your chances of winning college money.</p> <p>Make a list of all the services and companies your family uses. Ask each business if they have any available scholarships. Many credit unions, libraries, dentists, and even used car dealerships offer local scholarships because giving out scholarships can provide them a tax break and gain them media coverage.</p> <p>Communities will also pull businesses together and collect scholarship money, so check with your City of Commerce office for details. For example, Culver City, California collected <a href="http://www.cccommunityscholarships.org/">$144,000 from local businesses</a> and awarded 142 students scholarships in June 2015.</p> <h2>3. Look Towards Employers</h2> <p>If your teen has a part-time position, have them inquire with the company about available scholarships. You might be surprised to find out that many companies offer their part-time employees college scholarships or college reimbursement. Fast food companies such as <a href="http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/content/mcd/corporate_careers/student_zone/scholarships.html">McDonald's</a>, <a href="http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Company/Responsibility-Giving-Detail/Scholarship">Chick-Fil-A</a>, and <a href="http://downloadebookpdffree.tk/manual/pdf/burger-king-employee-guide.pdf">Burger King</a> are just a few places that have scholarships available for employees. <a href="http://www.starbucks.com/careers/college-plan">Starbucks</a>, <a href="http://corporate.publix.com/careers/why-publix/tuition-reimbursement">Publix</a>, and <a href="https://ups.managehr.com/earn-and-learn-program.htm">UPS</a> all have college reimbursement programs in place for employees that have been with the company for a specific amount of time.</p> <p>If your child is currently unemployed, securing a part-time job with a company that allows for tuition reimbursement can save them over $1,000 each year they work there and attend school.</p> <h2>4. Treat Scholarship Applications Like a Job</h2> <p>Applying for college scholarships is no easy feat. Students should treat it like a part-time job. Applications and essays should be filled out carefully and specifically adhering to each scholarship's requirements. Avoid recycling essays and answers for scholarships, since this can result in sloppy applications that do not win money. Instead, personalize the application as much as possible for each scholarship.</p> <h2>5. Don't Ignore Small Scholarships</h2> <p>Many applicants will steer clear of scholarships with small award amounts and only apply for scholarships that are $1,000 or more. The truth is that it doesn't matter how you get the money for college, as long as you get it. If a scholarship is only worth $100&ndash;$200, look at what is required. An application and short essay can easily be completed within an hour or two, and winning the scholarship would be equivalent to earning $50&ndash;$100 per hour.</p> <h2>6. Make a List Before You Start</h2> <p>Before you begin searching scholarships and filling out applications, sit down and brainstorm. Make a list of everything that might attract scholarship boards. Is your child a first-generation college student? Perhaps your student has lost a parent, volunteered, or has participated in interesting hobbies, such as bagpiping or 4-H.</p> <p>A list will help you quickly fill out applications, and it will also help you search for more specific scholarships.</p> <p>When I was a high school senior, I earned $1,500 in scholarships and $500 in tuition reimbursement. It definitely was not enough money to send me to any college or pay for all of the expenses, but it was helpful all the same. Even though I applied to several scholarships online, my scholarships came from a local used auto business and a donor through the community college. Both were secured with the help of my college counselor. My part-time position at Starbucks earned me a $500 in tuition reimbursement, and I would have earned even more if I had been more diligent with applying each year.</p> <p>The money for college is out there; go get it.</p> <p><em>Have you or your child ever won a college scholarship? Share your experience. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-increase-your-childs-odds-of-winning-a-scholarship">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits">8 Part-Time Jobs That Offer College Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-a-college-education-will-improve-your-life">10 Surprising Ways a College Education Will Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-great-sources-of-financial-aid-for-switching-careers">7 Great Sources of Financial Aid for Switching Careers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Education & Training college tuition higher education scholarship school loan Thu, 25 Feb 2016 10:30:38 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1662475 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000066354223.jpg" alt="Learning not to get trapped by higher education scams" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Television and radio are inundated with for-profit post secondary educational institutions peddling degree and career programs, many of which do not lead to gainful employment. Schemes like these are ripping off taxpayers and leaving students with heavy debt loads &mdash; as opposed to an improved quality of life.</p> <p>In the March 14, 2014 press release, the Obama Administration announced that it will enforce new regulations to <a href="http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/obama-administration-takes-action-protect-americans-predatory-poor-performing-career-colleges">improve higher-education programs</a>, especially at for-profit colleges that have not done well by their students. Here's how you can avoid those traps altogether. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a>)</p> <h2>1. Don&rsquo;t Let Prestigious School Names Deter You</h2> <p>Depending on the program, the majority of schools have relaxed admissions standards for their certificate programs. So, you may want to consider completing a certificate program to prove yourself and receive recommendations before applying to a two-year or four-year degree program. Even Harvard offers certificate programs that anyone can take. The per class cost is higher, but course materials are the same and some classes are taught by some of the same professors.</p> <h2>2. Don't Wait for the Government to Protect You</h2> <p>Start by protecting yourself. Accept that there are no shortcuts and that it may be more challenging for you to attain your goals and commit to doing it.</p> <h2>3. Beware of Ads That Mention Financial Aid</h2> <p>Financial aid is available at <em>any </em>two-year or more <a href="http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/">accredited institution</a>. Overt messages about the availability of financial aid are meant to help close the sale rather than inform you of the opportunity.</p> <h2>4. Take Your Time Commitment Into Consideration</h2> <p>High dropout rates are among the factors associated with predatory education. Are you seeking a two-year associate degree, four-year bachelor's degree, vocational diploma, or certificate? Research your desired field of study, preferably one in growing demand according to the U.S. Department of Education, and seek a program at a college or university with a long history and solid reputation. These days, colleges and universities across the country offer two-year degree and certificate programs that can be obtained online.</p> <p><em>Have you been zinged by a higher ed scam? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training college debt degrees education traps predatory student loans Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:00:05 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1654017 at http://www.wisebread.com Learn Something New With These 9 Cheap Apps http://www.wisebread.com/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000062778500_Large.jpg" alt="learning something new with a cheap educational app" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With so many new things in the world to learn and so little time in your hectic schedule to spare, the learning part should be easy and accessible. For those who don't have the patience to sit down with a book, and who also are extremely attached to their smartphones, apps are a great way to turn a potential distraction into a powerful and portable medium for learning.</p> <p>Here are nine cheap or free apps to help you learn something new.</p> <h2>1. Couch to 5K</h2> <p>Right now, many Americans are trying to keep their New Year's Resolutions. Among the top resolutions is to &quot;get fit&quot; and one of the most common ways to achieve that is to get off the couch and train for a 5K race.</p> <p>Recommended by Shape Magazine as the best app for new runners, Couch to 5K provides you a training schedule of three 30-minute sessions a week for nine weeks to achieve your goal of running your first 5K race. It costs $2.99 to download and it's available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/couch-to-5k-running-app-training/id448474423?mt=8">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.active.aps.c25k">Google Play</a>.</p> <p>Ready for the next level? There are also <a href="http://www.activenetwork.com/mobile-apps/5k-to-10k-app">5K to 10K</a> and half-marathon (<a href="http://www.activenetwork.com/mobile-apps/13-1-half-marathon-app">13.One</a>) training apps. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-apps-that-pay-you-to-exercise?ref=seealso">5 Apps That Pay You to Exercise</a>)</p> <h2>2. Dictionary</h2> <p>Want to become a &quot;logophile&quot; or discover what that word even means? Then download the Dictionary.com mobile apps for free (available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dictionary.com-dictionary/id308750436?mt=8&amp;at=1l3vsk3&amp;ct=mobileappspage_iphonefree">iPhone</a>, <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dictionary.com-dictionary/id364740856?mt=8">iPad</a>, Apple Watch, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dictionary&amp;hl=en">Android</a>, Android Wear, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-com-Dictionary-and-Thesaurus-Android/dp/B004GMT14Y">Amazon</a> devices). With over 100 million app downloads and 5.5 billion word searches per year, Dictionary.com is the world's leading digital English dictionary.</p> <p>Through its Word of the Day feature, you'll learn a new word every day, including its definition, pronunciation, origin, and example of use. This dictionary app also allows you to keep track of your favorite words so that you can bring them up when the time is right &mdash; and impress the pants off everyone you know with your massive vocabulary.</p> <h2>3. Duolingo</h2> <p>Speaking more than one language may enable you for higher pay in certain jobs and help you <a href="http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/journals/pspi/bilingual-minds.html">fight against Alzheimer's disease</a>. By gamifying the language learning process, Duolingo (available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/duolingo-learn-spanish-french/id570060128?mt=8">iTunes</a>, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.duolingo">Google Play</a>, and <a href="https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/duolingo-learn-languages-for-free/9wzdncrcv5xn">Windows Store</a>) makes your lessons fun and provides immediate gratification. Duolingo grants you points for completing tasks so you can see how you stack up against your friends.</p> <p>Chosen as 2013's App of the Year by Apple and available for free download, Duolingo is a top choice for learning Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Irish, Danish, and English.</p> <h2>4. Fooducate</h2> <p>With an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from a total of 11,200 ratings, Fooducate is another useful app to keep your resolution for a healthier and fitter 2016. This app, available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fooducate/id398436747?mt=8">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fooducate.nutritionapp&amp;referrer=utm_source%3Dfdct-redirect%26utm_campaign%3DFdct-Web-footer-button%26utm_medium%3Dna">Google Play</a>, grades food items from A down to D based on the item's nutrition facts panel and ingredient list.</p> <p>By scanning the UPC of many food items, you'll be able to spot information that may be hard to identify, including tricky trans fats, added sugars, and controversial food colorings. The rating isn't arbitrary. In 2012, the <a href="http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/news/2012/02/sg_healthy_app_challenge-winners.html">U.S. Surgeon General's Healthy App Challenge</a> awarded Fooducate first place in the category of nutrition and healthy eating.</p> <h2>5. Khan Academy</h2> <p>Use it or lose it. Spreadsheet software and modern calculators hinder many math skills, including performing long division, factoring a quadratic equation, finding the least common multiple, or solving a system of linear equations. While you may have thought that you would never have to perform these math operations ever again, you would run into them if you were to take a standardized test, such as the GMAT, GRE, or ASVAB.</p> <p>Without ads and subscription fees, the Khan Academy app, available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/khan-academy/id469863705?mt=8&amp;uo=4">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.khanacademy.android&amp;hl=en">Google Play</a>, allows you to review those key math skills. You can also find plenty of free online classes on science, computer programming, history, art, economics, and other topics.</p> <h2>6. Mint</h2> <p>Available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mint-personal-finance/id300238550?mt=8">iTunes</a>, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mint&amp;hl=en">Google Play</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Intuit-Mint-com-Personal-Finance/dp/B004T2P7MQ">Amazon</a>, the free Mint app helps you track all your financial accounts, cards, and investments in one place so you can improve your financial wellbeing. While you could try to keep track of all of your finances from statements, you could benefit greatly from Mint's visual dashboard. And since 65% of individuals are <a href="http://www.uab.edu/uasomume/fd2/visuals/page1.htm">visual learners</a>, the app's bar charts, pie charts, and colorful alerts allow you to spend smarter and save more.</p> <p>One of the best features of the app is the ability to create a detailed budget so you can keep track of how much money you have left for the month in specific categories, such as dining, clothing, and transportation.</p> <h2>7. Poems By Heart</h2> <p>Another way to keep your mind sharp is to improve your memory. The Poems By Heart app helps you memorize and recite poems from several genres, including the &quot;Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day&quot; sonnet by Shakespeare and &quot;Eldorado&quot; by Edgar Allan Poe.</p> <p>The app is only available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/poems-by-heart-from-penguin/id577789325?mt=8">iPhone and iPad</a> and comes with four free poems. You can buy additional poem packages that feature the works of iconic poets like Walt Whitman, W.B. Yeats, and James Weldon Johnson. Apple featured Poems by Heart as one of &quot;Apple's App Store Best of 2013&quot; because it's highly engaging (and addictive!) user design.</p> <h2>8. Photomath</h2> <p>One of the hardest things about solving mathematical problems is to understand all of the steps involved in the process. Even worse, it's hard enough trying to write down a complicated arithmetic operation or lengthy linear equation.</p> <p>The Photomath app allows you to snap a photo of a wide variety of mathematical expressions, including basic arithmetic, fractions, decimal numbers, linear equations and several functions, with the camera of your <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photomath/id919087726">iPhone</a> or <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microblink.photomath">Android device</a> and show you a step-by-step answer. This is a very useful app for math students of all levels and parents of those young students willing to help out.</p> <h2>9. Quizlet</h2> <p>Flashcards are an excellent study tool because they allow for a self-directed personalized study experience that help us gauge our progress. Available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quizlet-flashcards-study-tools/id546473125?mt=8">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.quizlet.quizletandroid&amp;hl=en&amp;referrer=utm_source%3Dmobilepage">Google Play</a>, the Quizlet app allows you to build your own set of digital flashcards on any subject that you're trying to master. From learning new words in Spanish to memorizing kitchen recipes to preparing for a driving permit practice test, use Quizlet to unlock the learning power of flashcards in six study modes.</p> <p><em>What are other cheap or free apps to help you learn something? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Affording Education</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-places-to-find-cheap-or-free-education">6 Places to Find Cheap (or Free!) Education</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/college-resources">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Lifestyle cheap apps education free apps iPhone learning new skills resolutions Wed, 03 Feb 2016 18:19:00 +0000 Damian Davila 1647754 at http://www.wisebread.com U.S. Bank College Visa Credit Card Review http://www.wisebread.com/us-bank-college-visa-credit-card-review <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/us-bank-college-visa-credit-card-review" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016236814_Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are many suitable credit cards on the market designed to assist college students who don't yet have credit established, but want to start building a good credit rating. For students requiring just a simple credit card to get started on their financial journeys, the U.S. Bank College Visa Credit Card is a solid and affordable choice. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Credit Cards for College Students</a>)</p> <h2>How This Card Works</h2> <p>The U.S. Bank College Visa Credit Card is a simple credit card which provides students the opportunity to build their credit without a rewards program that can sometimes become confusing and difficult to manage. There is no annual fee.</p> <h2>Other Benefits</h2> <p><strong>Overdraft protection</strong>. If you have a U.S. Bank account, cardmembers can enable Overdraft Protection to transfer funds automatically from the credit card into the checking account when you need them, eliminating the risk of overdraft fees and returned payments.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>FlexControl</strong>. U.S. Bank offers cardholders its online tool, FlexControl, for assisting in avoiding interest and late fees when you set your account to make automatic payments. FlexControl also allows you to select purchases that you want to pay down faster, so you don't incur interest on purchases such as groceries or gasoline. With FlexControl Essentials, you could even select up to seven types of purchases from the everyday category that you want to automatically pay in full each month, thus avoiding any additional finance charges.</p> <h2>Costs</h2> <ul> <li>$0 Annual Fee</li> <li>11.99% - 20.99% APR</li> <li>3% Balance Transfer Fee ($5 minimum)</li> <li>2% Foreign Transaction Fee</li> </ul> <h2>Pros</h2> <p><strong>No annual fee</strong>. There are a number of student cards that don't charge an annual fee, but this is important especially with a plain vanilla card that doesn't offer extra perks or rewards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-no-annual-fees?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fees</a>)</p> <p><strong>Low APR</strong>. The APR is dependent on your individual credit score, but can be as low as 11.99%, which is low in comparison to other student credit cards. While it's best to pay your balance in full each month to avoid paying interest on your purchases, if you must carry a balance from month to month, choose the credit card with the lowest APR possible. Most credit cards for college students charge higher APRs, sometimes as much as 20%. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p><strong>Simple credit card</strong>. When you're in the process of building a positive credit rating, sometimes it's best to focus on a simple credit card such as this one that doesn't include any distracting bells and whistles. Rewards programs and extra perks can sometimes end up causing more debt. This card provides all the basics of a credit card that can help build your credit as a college student. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-fairaverage-credit?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Credit Cards for People with Fair/Average Credit</a>)</p> <h2>Cons</h2> <p><strong>No promotional offers</strong>. Often credit cards offer promotional offers, even for student credit cards that can award extra cash or even help you to save money by way of 0% introductory APRs. This card does not include either offer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?seealso">The 5 Best Credit Cards with 0% Intro APRs</a>)</p> <p><strong>No rewards program</strong>. Student credit cards don't always include rewards programs as the focus is generally on just establishing a positive credit history. However, there are cards for college students that provide valuable rewards for purchases. If you are already in the habit of paying your balance in full each month, you could be missing out on cash back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p><strong>Foreign transaction fee</strong>. If you frequently travel abroad or plan to use your credit card for foreign purchases, it's important you choose one without a foreign transaction fee. This card charges as much as 3% depending on the currency, which can add up quickly.&nbsp;(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees</a>)</p> <h2>Who This Card Is Best For</h2> <p>The U.S. Bank College Visa Credit Card is best for college students who may not have any credit and are in the process of establishing a credit history. Because of the opportunity for one of the lowest APRs available, it is a decent option if you have to carry a balance from time to time. Most importantly, it is best if you reserve this card strictly for domestic purchases that won't cost you a foreign transaction fee.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/us-bank-college-visa-credit-card-review">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aeromexico-visa-secured-card-rebuild-your-credit-while-you-travel">AeroMexico Visa Secured Card: Rebuild Your Credit While You Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/upromise-world-mastercard-credit-card-review">Upromise World MasterCard Credit Card Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-riders-only-harley-davidson-visa-secured-card">For Riders Only: Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/us-bank-flexperks-select-american-express-card-review">U.S. Bank FlexPerks Select+ American Express Card Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rewards-that-change-with-your-spending-us-bank-flexperks-travel-rewards-american-express-credit-card">Rewards That Change with Your Spending: U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards American Express Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Education & Training credit card reviews u.s. bank Thu, 28 Jan 2016 18:11:45 +0000 Christina Majaski 1645520 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student_loan_debt_000042931066.jpg" alt="Learning surprising ways to pay off student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you went to college, chances are you have student loan debt. Personally, I'm on the 20-year payback plan, and while I'm comfortable with my payments now that two out of three loans are paid in full, the first seven to eight years post-college were extremely hard on my wallet. If you're in a similar situation, there may be some relief in your future. Consider these eight surprising ways to pay off your student loan debt a little faster. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan?ref=seealso">Should You Refinance Your Student Loan?</a><strong>)</strong></p> <h2>1. Volunteer With SponsorChange.org</h2> <p>When I graduated college, I was 100% job focused. I had to find full-time employment right away to pay my rent, gas, food, bills, and of course, my student loans. The job search took up most of my time, and when I finally landed a position, that took up even more of my time. After making ends meet, I certainly didn't have much time to volunteer for activities I enjoyed or support causes I believed in.</p> <p>And that right there is what I love about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sponsorchange.org">SponsorChange.org</a>. Their mission is to connect volunteers with social impact organizations that provide a $10 to $20 per hour stipend for participation in meaningful skill-based project opportunities. The concept is simple: Organizations list projects on the SponsorChange.org site to attract the talent they need. Volunteers &mdash; that's you &mdash; can find projects and build their skills doing something they love by earning money that will go directly toward student loans. It's a win-win for everybody, and you don't have to feel one bit guilty about it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness?ref=seealso">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a>)</p> <h2>2. Find Student Employment Through Start Jobs</h2> <p>If you're still in school or even a recent grad, you'll want to check out<a href="http://www.startjobs.net"> Start Jobs</a>, an organization that connects students to paying jobs in the field they want to start a career. This allows them to gain the experience necessary to land that first big job right out of college, in turn either taking on less student debt or paying it down faster.</p> <p>&quot;Start Jobs was ranked by Inc.com as one of the best four websites for <a href="http://www.inc.com/samuel-edwards/great-job-sites-for-recent-college-graduates.html">college graduates seeking jobs</a>, listed alongside LinkedIn, Indeed, and CareerBuilder, and it's the only site specifically created for current students and recent graduates for the purpose of attacking the ever-expanding student debt crisis,&quot; according to Start Jobs Community Manager Bryce Hamlin.</p> <h2>3. Accept Help From Your Post-College Employer</h2> <p>The student loan crisis has gotten so bad in recent years that employers are now stepping up to help their workers pay down debt quicker. Price Waterhouse and Coopers, for instance, recently announced that it would help its junior employees (roughly 46,000 staffers) with paybacks starting next year. Eligible employees will receive $1,200 a year for up to six years for student loans. The money will be paid directly to the loan provider, though it will still count as income for employees.</p> <h2>4. Play Givling, an Online Trivia Game</h2> <p><a href="https://givling.com/givling/">Givling</a> is a pay-to-play online trivia game that is making crowdfunding interactive and fun. Three months after its launch this past spring, it paid off contestant <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/this-student-had-his-32000-student-loan-paid-off-by-signing-up-for-an-online-trivia-game-and-he-didnt-even-play-2015-7">Kevin Foster's $31,625 loan</a> and it will pay off the next loan in the queue &mdash; which amounts to $97,000 &mdash; soon. The best part? You don't even have to play the game yourself. You have to sign up, of course, but participation in the trivia games isn't necessary to win.</p> <p>According to Business Insider, &quot;Separately, trivia gamers sign up and are randomly placed into teams of three. Team members answer true or false questions to rack up points. The highest-scoring funding team is eligible for a $4 million prize. In addition to the large $4 million prize, there are smaller daily prize amounts awarded.&quot;</p> <p>Givling costs $0.50 to play a round and an additional $0.30 for a transaction fee. Players also receive one free game a day.</p> <h2>5. Earn Supplemental Income Through Peer-to-Peer Services</h2> <p>Thanks to the &quot;sharing economy&quot; &mdash; which was largely established by the still-growing popularity of peer-to-peer services &mdash; you can make extra cash by renting out items you already own, like your home or car, or offering services like dog sitting.</p> <p>I've rented out a guest bedroom in my home to tourists for the past seven years on Airbnb, and I'm also listed as a dog sitter on DogVacay, in order to bring in extra income. I have a full-time job just like everyone else, and I still have time to manage both of these additional revenue streams. If you have mounting debt from student loans, these peer-to-peer service are a highly effective way of bringing in serious cash &mdash; if you're wholly committed to your endeavors' success &mdash; that you can put toward your payback.</p> <h2>6. Charge Part of the Balance to a No-Interest Credit Card</h2> <p>It's not the ideal solution to use a credit card to pay down other debts, but if the interest rate makes more sense on plastic than it does from you loan repayment terms, it might be a smart move to make a swipe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">Best Credit Cards with 0% Intro Offers</a>)</p> <p>&quot;Using Great Lakes (a loan provider), we were able to call and make a one-time payment using a credit card,&quot; says Douglas Hutchings, who has student-loan debt. &quot;We had an offer for 0% interest for 12 months so we picked an amount that we were confident we could pay over 12 months and charged it to the card. Due to the size of the payment, we also scored a fair amount of credit card rewards points that we plan to use for a future vacation. Between saved interest and credit card points, we came out ahead by over $2,000 for about 60 minutes of 'work.'&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans?ref=seealso">These Private Lenders Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></p> <h2>7. Take Out a Loan From Your 401K</h2> <p>Like using a credit card to pay down your student-loan debt, tapping into your 401K shouldn't be the first place you go for extra cash for loan payments. But if it makes sense overall &mdash; in saved interest and other benefits &mdash; it's not an altogether terrible prospect to consider.</p> <p>&quot;One of the things I did to jump start the pay down of my substantial student loans was to take out a loan from my 401K, and put the total amount towards the principal on the student loan,&quot; says Eric Meerman, a portfolio manager at Palisades Hudson Financial Group. &quot;I then kept paying the same monthly amount on the student loan, in addition to paying back the loan to the 401K. While this is not always the best idea since you don't want to miss out on the market appreciation available to stock investments in your 401K, it worked out for me because the market was virtually flat over the term of the payback period.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Live at Home With Your Parents a Little Longer</h2> <p>If mom and dad will have you, live with them a little while longer after college. Chances are they won't charge rent &mdash; or at least not as much as you would pay on your own &mdash; and you'll get lots of free services (laundry, meals, and more), which will ultimately free up more of your income to pay down your student loan debt. I have a buddy who moved back home at age 26 after a few years on his own because his expenses became too much to handle. There's no shame in it, and many of us (myself included) have been there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you have other interesting ideas on how to pay off student loans? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most">Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Saves You the Most?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training payback student loans volunteering Fri, 11 Dec 2015 18:00:18 +0000 Mikey Rox 1619235 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college_graduate_debt_000028074368.jpg" alt="College grad learning sobering facts about student loan debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Student loans are a catch-22. Most of us rely on them to get a college degree, which can help us earn about a <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-college-degree-is-worth-1-million-2015-05-07">million dollars more over our lifetimes</a> than those of us without college degrees. On the other hand, the debt we've accrued can impact our financial life decades after we've graduated.</p> <p>Currently, about 40 million American borrowers collectively owe $1.2 trillion in student debt. Some might say student debt is a fair trade given the income potential with a college degree, but there are some sobering facts about student loan debt that might surprise you. Here are five that could make you re-assess higher education loans.</p> <h2>1. Each Graduating Class Becomes More Indebted</h2> <p>It should come as no surprise that the level of student loan debt is rapidly rising. While in the 2003&ndash;2004 school year, only 2% of graduates <a href="http://trends.collegeboard.org/student-aid/figures-tables/cumulative-debt-bachelors-degree-recipients-sector-over-time">carried loan burdens</a> in excess of $40,000, by 2011&ndash;2012, that number exceeded 18%, according to the College Board. And it's likely getting worse.</p> <p>In 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the class of 2014 was the <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/numbers/congatulations-to-class-of-2014-the-most-indebted-ever-1368/?mod=wsj_nview_latest&amp;mg=blogs-wsj&amp;url=http%253A%252F%252Fblogs.wsj.com%252Fnumbersguy%252Fcongatulations-to-class-of-2014-the-most-indebted-ever-1368%252F%253Fmod%25">most indebted class</a> ever, with an average student loan debt of $33,000. But they didn't hold the title long. Along came the class of 2015 to claim that dubious distinction with an average student loan debt of $35,000. The number will likely continue to increase from year to year, with many college students getting deeper in debt before they're able to purchase their first home.</p> <h2>2. Student Loan Repayment Can Take Longer Than Expected</h2> <p>The standard repayment plan with a federal student loan is 10 years for a bachelor's degree. But unfortunately, many graduates are unable to pay off their student debt in just one decade. On average, it takes about 20 years to <a href="http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2014/10/07/student-loan-expectations-myth-vs-reality">repay student loan debt</a> for a bachelor's degree. And if you're on a income-sensitive federal loan repayment plan, such as Income Based Repayment or Pay As You Earn, you could also be paying for up to 25 years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <h2>3. There Is a High Default Rate</h2> <p>Perhaps you see yourself finding a job shortly after graduating and paying down your debt in no time. But life doesn't always go according to plan, and keeping up with student loan payments can be more difficult than expected. In 2012, about 35% of student loan borrowers were 90 or more days behind on their student loan payments.</p> <p>Different reasons play a role in student loan default. Some graduates are unable to find work, or they end up earning less than anticipated. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 260,000 people with a college or professional degree made at or below the <a href="http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2013.pdf">federal minimum wage</a> of $7.25 per hour in 2013. This undoubtedly is frustrating for graduates who spend tens of thousands of dollars for the opportunity to get ahead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big?ref=seealso">4 Times Student Loan Refinancing Can Save You Big</a>)</p> <h2>4. Student Debt Can Keep You at Home Longer</h2> <p>Because of high student loan debt, moving into their own apartment or buying a home after graduation is out of reach for some grads. One survey found that 27% of those with student debt&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2012-09-06/student-loans-debt-for-life">move back in with their parents</a> after graduation. If that wasn't bad enough, another survey found that the median net worth of young households without student debt is <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/05/14/young-adults-student-debt-and-economic-well-being/">approximately seven times higher</a> than the net worth of those with student debt. This could explain why 40% of young borrowers delay major purchases like a house, and why approximately 14% of young borrowers delay marriage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan?ref=seealso">The Definitive Guide to the Pay As You Earn Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan</a>)</p> <h2>5. You Can't Run or Hide From Student Loan Debt</h2> <p>Student loan debt can haunt you forever. You might qualify for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">federal student loan forgiveness</a> after 10 years if you work in public service, but typically this is one type of debt you can't escape.</p> <p>Federal loans can be discharged or canceled if you become permanently disabled or die. Some private lenders offer this provision, but not all. And if you think bankruptcy can remove the burden of student debt, you're in for a rude awakening.</p> <p>It doesn't matter if you didn't complete your education or if you can't find a job, private and federal lenders eventually want their money. You can apply for a deferment or forbearance, which temporarily lowers or suspends monthly payments in the event of hardship &mdash; but payments eventually resume.</p> <p>Student loans &mdash; like getting an education &mdash; are serious business. Avoid compromising your financial future by borrowing wisely.</p> <p><em>How heavy is your student loan burden?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-better-way-to-rank-americas-colleges">A Better Way to Rank America&#039;s Colleges</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/student-loans-how-to-make-post-college-decisions">Student Loans: How to Make Post-College Decisions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/share-your-thoughts-consolidating-student-loans">Share Your Thoughts: Consolidating Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training college financial aid higher education repayment student loans Mon, 30 Nov 2015 18:00:46 +0000 Mikey Rox 1616761 at http://www.wisebread.com