financial aid http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9192/all en-US CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can't Afford to Overlook http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student_graduation_cap_72466853.jpg" alt="Student learning about CSS for college financial aid" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to applying for financial aid for college, most families know about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is important for all college-bound individuals to apply for FAFSA, but there is also another important financial aid program to apply for alongside the FAFSA &mdash; the College Scholarship Service Profile, a.k.a the CSS PROFILE.</p> <p>The CSS PROFILE application is created by the College Board, the same people who create the SAT, and used by over 300 colleges and universities nationwide. Where FAFSA is an application for federal aid, PROFILE is for nonfederal financial aid, usually money that the school has control over doling out. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college?ref=seealso">What to Do if You Didn't Save for Your Child's College</a>)</p> <h2>When to Apply to CSS?</h2> <p>Individuals can apply for CSS as early as October 1st. The College Board encourages applicants to fill out their PROFILE no later than two weeks before their school's priority filing period.</p> <h2>Does the CSS Cost Money?</h2> <p>Yes, the CSS PROFILE application costs $25 for the initial application, and $16 for each additional report. However, there is a fee waiver available for low-income students, as well as individuals who have received a fee waiver for the SAT. Typically families who make less than $40,000 a year or individuals under 24 years of age who are orphans and wards of the court will qualify for a fee waiver. (See also: <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> <h2>Should You Apply for the CSS or FAFSA?</h2> <p>It is very important to note that the CSS does not replace the FAFSA. Instead, it is an additional application required for some colleges. You should apply for both financial aid programs if your school is one of the 300 <a href="https://profileonline.collegeboard.org/prf/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet/PXRemotePartInstitutionServlet.srv">listed by College Board</a>. If your school is not on the list, then you will not have to fill out the CSS. The list is made up of mostly private schools, and the only state college on the list is Colorado State University.</p> <h2>What Are the Differences Between CSS and FAFSA?</h2> <p>The two applications have quite a few differences that families should be aware of. First off, the CSS calculates family assets and income a little differently than the FAFSA does. This can potentially hurt applicants, causing them to receive less aid.</p> <p>For example, the FAFSA considers gifts made to the parents, including monetary gifts grandparents give to parents for the use of college, as assets. This allows the student to remain eligible for aid. However, CSS considers the same type of gift as income, which would reflect in the aid package.</p> <p>On the plus side, CSS does collect a more in-depth look at your family's finances. For example, the FAFSA does not take into account if you are paying medical expenses or tuition for younger children's schooling. CSS looks at a wide range of circumstances in order to determine what your family can afford.</p> <p>Another important difference to remember is that some schools require divorced families to fill out an additional form. The list of the 300 schools will also inform you if your school wants the details of the noncustodial parent's financial information. If so, you will need to fill out an additional Noncustodial PROFILE.</p> <h2>How Does the CSS Benefit Families?</h2> <p>In many cases, the CSS PROFILE will allow families to receive a financial aid package for 90% to 100 percent of the money they need to attend college. However, it is important to note that this aid package is not always free money. For most families, the financial aid package will also include loans, most likely a mix of private loans and Parent PLUS loans.</p> <p>Families considered high needs, usually those who make less than $40,000 per year, are more likely to receive aid packages that do not have loans in them.</p> <p>Financial aid packages might be presented to families as one lump sum. It is important to sit down with an adviser and know the break down for the aid given. Know what is free aid (aid that never has to be repaid), and know how much of the aid is in the form of loans. It is also important to know what types of loans they are offering to you. You don't want to accept loans at a higher interest than you can get on your own.</p> <p>For more information on the CSS PROFILE, visit the&nbsp;<a href="http://css.collegeboard.org/">College Board</a> website for an interactive tutorial, as well as a list of recently asked questions. You can also talk with your child's college adviser for more information and resources.</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/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">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/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</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/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</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/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</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/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime">Should You Borrow Student Loan Money From Amazon Prime?</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training college College Board css profile FAFSA federal student aid financial aid student loans students Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:30:12 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1801998 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Signs It’s Time to See a Credit Counselor http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-it-s-time-to-see-a-credit-counselor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-signs-it-s-time-to-see-a-credit-counselor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_stressed_money_80048959.jpg" alt="Man wondering if it&#039;s time to see a credit counselor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>About 62% of Americans have <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/most-americans-have-less-than-1000-in-savings-2015-10-06">less than $1,000</a> in their savings accounts, and one in every three Americans has <a href="http://time.com/money/4258451/retirement-savings-survey/">saved $0 for retirement</a>. One of the main culprits behind our inability to save is debt. Whether it's in the form of student loans, credit card balances, or home lines of equity, debt can snowball into a problem too big to handle on your own. Fortunately, credit counselors can be of help when you have trouble navigating the depths of debt yourself. Here are five warning signs that you might need a credit counselor, what will a counselor do for you, and how to choose one.</p> <h2>5 Warning Signs That You Need a Credit Counselor</h2> <p>Here are the telltale signs that you have taken on more debt than you can handle.</p> <h3>1. Living Paycheck to Paycheck</h3> <p>This is a big one. It's one thing to take on a loan, but another entirely for the loan to take on you! If you're consistently spending more than you make &mdash; month after month &mdash; to pay back debt, then an unexpected emergency expense could wreak havoc on your personal finances. Imagine if right now your water heater were to break, or your car suddenly needed a new transmission. Could you come up with the necessary hundreds of dollars to meet these expenses when you're living paycheck to paycheck? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-turn-for-help-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso">Where to Turn for Help When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h3>2. Making Too Many Late Payments</h3> <p>Paying a high APR on your credit card debt is bad. Paying a higher APR and a penalty fee many times out of the year is even worse. When you make a late payment in 2016, credit card issuers can charge you $27 for the first late payment and up to $37 for subsequent lapses within six months of the first one. Falling 60 days behind a payment would worsen your chances of paying back your credit card debt: A survey of 100 major U.S. credit cards found that the average APR for those falling 60 days behind payments was over 28% in recent years. Assuming that you have a card with a balance of $3,000 and a regular APR of 14.99%, you would pay an extra $403.80 in interest in a year with the higher 28.45% APR.</p> <p>Not too mention that making too many late payments also wreaks havoc on your credit rating as your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score.</p> <h3>3. Fearing Debt Collectors</h3> <p>Of course, you have to work to make money. However, you'll have a hard time concentrating when you're constantly afraid to pick up the phone or check your mailbox fearing that debt collectors are trying to contact you. While the <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/fair-debt-collection-practices-act-text">Fair Debt Collection Practices Act</a> limits the times and places that a debt collector can reach you, don't be surprised if unscrupulous ones still try to reach you at work or call you before 8 a.m. in your local time! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-annoying-things-bill-collectors-cant-do-and-how-to-stop-them?ref=seealso">4 Annoying Things Bill Collectors Can't Do &mdash; And How to Stop Them</a>)</p> <h3>4. Not Contributing to Retirement Accounts</h3> <p>Consider this example: If you were to put away $400 every single month for 35 years in your retirement account with a 7% rate of annual return, you would have a total of $709,985 at the end of the 35-year period. If you were to start 20 years later saving on the same account, you would need to amp your savings to the tune of $2,200 per month to end up with a similar total balance ($709,985) at the end of the same 35-year period.</p> <h3>5. Having No Budget</h3> <p>Last but not least, having no clue about where your money is going is a clear signal that you need help with your finances. Whether you're intentionally or unintentionally refusing to map out your cash flow, you are just hoping that your debt monster will somehow go away. The harsh reality is that it won't and you need a credit counselor to help you figure out the damage &mdash; and the solution.</p> <h2>What Will a Credit Counselor Do for You?</h2> <p>The main objective of a credit counselor is to help you avoid bankruptcy by advising you on a series of financial issues, including money management, debt management, and budgeting. Even in the event that you were planning to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you're legally required to obtain credit counseling before filing bankruptcy.</p> <p>A reputable credit counseling agency offers a wide range of services, including budget counseling, savings and debt management education, and debt management plan development. In a DMP, you deposit money every month into an account from a credit counseling agency, which will use the funds to pay your unsecured debts according to an agreed schedule between your creditors and the agency.</p> <p>The U.S. Trustee Program maintains a list of <a href="https://www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111">approved credit counseling agencies</a>, providing nonprofit budget and credit counseling services to individuals eligible to file for bankruptcy protection. Depending on the services that you require, the agency may provide them in-person, online, or over the phone. While a credit counseling agency may qualify for nonprofit status, be aware that services may not be free.</p> <h2>How to Choose a Credit Counselor</h2> <p>Here is a useful checklist on how to find the right credit counselor for your unique financial situation.</p> <h3>Look for Additional Lists</h3> <p>Besides the list from the U.S. Trustee Program, look for additional local candidates with credit counseling agencies affiliated with the <a href="http://www.nfcc.org">National Foundation for Credit Counseling</a> (NFCC) or the <a href="http://www.aiccca.org">Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies</a> (AICCCA). Make sure that the agency is licensed to offer services in your state.</p> <h3>Check for Consumer Complaints</h3> <p>To vet agencies for potential consumer complaints, check each one of your choices with the office of your <a href="http://www.naag.org/naag/attorneys-general/whos-my-ag.php">state Attorney Genera</a>l and <a href="https://www.usa.gov/state-consumer">state consumer protection agency</a>. Also, check for the rating, list of filed complaints, and list of customer reviews of any credit counseling agency with the <a href="http://www.bbb.org">Better Business Bureau</a>.</p> <h3>Request Initial Information</h3> <p>Requiring a fee for providing information or requesting details about your financial information at this point are two red flags. Also, you should be the one first requesting information, not receiving any unsolicited mailers, calls, or, even worse, spammy emails.</p> <h3>Inquire About Fees and Financial Aid</h3> <p>Credit counseling should be free or cost nearly nothing. Ask about setup fees and recurring monthly fees. Avoid companies that aren't willing to provide a quote in writing or refuse to help you if you can't pay those fees in full. Reputable credit counseling agencies offer at least some debt and money management workshops or educational materials at no cost. And if you can't afford a credit counselor &mdash; meaning, if it isn't basically free &mdash; avoid them altogether. Plenty offer free or extremely low-cost services, and the last thing you need is more expenses when you're trying to get out of debt.</p> <h3>Verify Credentials and Remuneration of Counselors</h3> <p>Look for certifications through external organizations, such as the NFCC or the AICCCA. Credit counselors receiving kickbacks for you signing up for additional services or making contributions to the agency are indications that the counselors won't put your interest before theirs.</p> <h3>Look Beyond DMP</h3> <p>A DMP is just one of the many services offered by a credit counselor and should only be presented after an extensive review of your financial situation. Avoid agencies that push a DMP from the start. Even when evaluating a DMP, a serious credit counselor would still help you develop better budgeting and money management skills.</p> <h3>Request a Formal Written Agreement</h3> <p>Any verbal promises that aren't captured on paper are just empty promises. For example, promises from a counselor to lower or eliminate interest, finance, or late fees should be in writing. This will help you in case your creditors indicate that none of those promises actually happened.</p> <p>Also, be wary of agencies pressuring you to sign a contractual agreement right away, particularly when it's a DMP. Take your time to review the document and seek additional help in case you can't understand some of the clauses. Don't sign anything unless you fully understand the contract and are satisfied with its terms.</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-signs-it-s-time-to-see-a-credit-counselor">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/retirement-on-the-installment-plan">Retirement on the installment plan</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/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt">6 Ways to Invest When You&#039;re In Debt</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-credit-repair-mistakes-that-will-cost-you">8 Credit Repair Mistakes That Will Cost You</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/beware-of-these-common-debt-consolidation-traps">Beware of These Common Debt Consolidation Traps</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-things-debt-collectors-dont-want-you-to-know">5 Things Debt Collectors Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management Retirement credit counselor debt collectors dmp fees financial aid professional help warnings signs Fri, 16 Sep 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Damian Davila 1793877 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves Students Should Make During a Gap Year http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_travel_selfie_58375086.jpg" alt="Man making money moves during his gap year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Parents and soon-to-be college students are giving the gap year a second look after the White House announced that Malia Obama will be taking one <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/us/politics/malia-obama-to-attend-harvard-but-not-until-2017.html?_r=1">before attending Harvard in 2017</a>. Also popularized by England's Prince Harry, who famously took time out for ranching in Australia and volunteer work in Africa in 2004, the gap year is a break between high school and the start of a person's higher education (or between college and graduate school).</p> <p>Most often, the gap year is used by young people as an opportunity to see the world, explore new cultures, immerse themselves in a nonacademic pursuit, work a job or internship, or volunteer for a cause. The goal is to gain valuable life experience before delving deeper into academics, trade school, military service &mdash; wherever your next step in life takes you.</p> <p>Of course, a year of self-exploration doesn't come free. Read on for our student guide to prepping finances for a gap year.</p> <h2>1. Start Saving a Year Out</h2> <p>How much a gap year will cost depends on how you plan to use it. So, map out your yearlong plan, estimating how much money you'll need. Of course, plans change. And that's okay. All you really need is a good estimate to get you motivated to start saving.</p> <h2>2. Open a Gap Year Bank Account</h2> <p>Now that you've got a savings goal, open up a separate bank account to house your gap year fund drive. To make your big funding goal seem more achievable, break it down into smaller, more manageable monthly and weekly goals. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Next, devise a plan for reaching these mini-fundraising goals. Will you cut down on weekend spending? Will you get a part-time job or pick up extra hours at your existing gig? Whatever you decide, be sure to hold yourself accountable.</p> <h2>3. Apply for a Grant or Scholarship</h2> <p>There are plenty of grants and scholarships out there created specifically to ease the financial burden of enrichment programming and travel during the gap year. If you have interest in visiting the Middle East, for example, a grant from Unofficial Ambassadors' <a href="http://unofficialambassadors.com/our-programs/aua-mosaic-scholarship/">Mosaic Grants Program</a> can make the experience more affordable. If you have demonstrated leadership in tackling issues aimed at protecting the environment, the <a href="http://www.broweryouthawards.org/">Brower Youth Awards</a>, which is an initiative by Earth Island Institute, divvies out $3,000 scholarships to young people each year.</p> <p>Be sure to also check out any opportunities offered by your prospective university or college as well as local organizations in your area. In Humboldt County, California, for example, there's a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.americangap.org/humboldtscholarship.php">generous annual scholarship</a> that offers up to $6,000 to gap year students who are seeking participation in a program accredited by the American Gap Association. Schools including Tufts University and the University of North Carolina have financial aid programs for gap year students, as well.</p> <h2>4. Give Creative Fundraising a Shot</h2> <p>There are so many ways to rake in extra cash. Just ask the twin teens from England who used their gap year to cultivate a loyal following on a YouTube channel that has earned them <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/9544479/YouTube-videos-funded-our-gap-year-travels.html">tons of money in advertising</a>, which funded their year of travel. Other ideas: Launch a crowdfunding campaign or host an event &mdash; battle of the bands, pool party, theatrical performance &mdash; to which you sell tickets that will cover your expenses.</p> <h2>5. Invest in Traveler's Insurance</h2> <p>If you plan to travel abroad during your gap year, organizations such as <a href="https://www.internationalsos.com/">International SOS</a> offer top-notch insurance policies that can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars should something go wrong. Let's hope you never need it. Truth be told, most of the time traveler's insurance does end up being a waste of money. But should you ever need to cover the cost of inconveniences such as a last-minute trip cancellation, emergency medical evacuation, or lost luggage, you'll be more than glad that you have it.</p> <p>Of all the expenses to skimp on while traveling abroad, don't let insurance be one of them. After you choose a plan, be sure to do your research so that you know exactly what it covers &mdash; and what it doesn't.</p> <h2>6. Learn the Ins and Outs of Your Bank's ATM Fees</h2> <p>Commit to memory the occasions on which your bank will hit you with an ATM fee. Then be sure to avoid them. While a few dollars here and there might not seem like much, over time they can really add up. Just as there's no reason to throw money out the window, there's no reason to not educate yourself on your bank's ATM fee policies.</p> <h2>7. Devise a Strategy for Accessing Day-to-Day Funds Abroad</h2> <p>Despite fees, ATMs are still the best bet for accessing money abroad. If your travels are set to land you in a major international airport, you'll likely get the best rate by withdrawing cash in the local currency from an ATM upon arrival to your destination city. While it can be comforting to travel with some local currency already in your pocket, having that convenience will cost you. You'll have to fork over a commission fee to exchange money at a bank or ATM in the U.S.</p> <p>However, if you'll be flying into a smaller airport, there may not be any ATMs &mdash; or at least not any properly functioning ones &mdash; when you get there. In this case, it's best to travel with about $100 in the local currency so that you can pay for immediate expenses, such as food and transportation, without hassle. Once you journey outside the airport, you can find an ATM and withdraw more local money at a better rate.</p> <h2>8. Reapply for FAFSA</h2> <p>Students who qualify for federal financial aid before deferring college for a year must reapply the next year by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. So long as the finances of the student's family don't change in a major way, the student will likely receive the same financial aid package. Also, students who have secured a scholarship from their university can sometimes negotiate to have the aid held for them until their delayed matriculation. So if you have a university or college-funded scholarship, be sure to inquire about how you can go about receiving the award after your gap year.</p> <p><em>Did you &mdash; or will you &mdash; take a gap year? What'd you do? How did you prepare your finances before you left?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%20Money%20Moves%20Students%20Should%20Make%20During%20a%20Gap%20Year.jpg&amp;description=8%20Money%20Moves%20Students%20Should%20Make%20During%20a%20Gap%20Year" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Money%20Moves%20Students%20Should%20Make%20During%20a%20Gap%20Year.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year">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/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</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/6-ways-to-get-college-kids-home-for-the-holidays-for-cheap">6 Ways to Get College Kids Home for the Holidays for Cheap</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/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</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-money-saving-hacks-every-college-student-should-try">8 Money-Saving Hacks Every College Student Should Try</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/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students">Don&#039;t Skip These 8 Tax Breaks for Students</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Travel atm fees bank accounts college financial aid gap year scholarships self exploration students traveling abroad Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1735468 at http://www.wisebread.com The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them" 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_000080203665.jpg" alt="Learning how to avoid common financial aid mistakes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many students, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is crucial to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">making college affordable</a>. While the application process can be greatly rewarding, that doesn't mean it's easy. FAFSA is riddled with confusing acronyms and financial lingo. And getting any money out of it is contingent on meeting deadlines and reporting dollar amounts precisely. Errors can greatly reduce or eliminate your financial aid award. Read on for our roundup of the most common FAFSA flubs &mdash; and our tips for avoiding them.</p> <h2>1. Missing Deadlines</h2> <p>The price of missing the FAFSA application deadline can be steep. So don't fall victim to this time management failure. Stay on top of deadlines by creating a due date calendar. Vow to review it daily. For each deadline item, create a list of tasks you'll need to complete to meet the due date. Estimate how much time each of these tasks will take you to finish. Add this information to your deadline calendar and hold yourself accountable.</p> <h2>2. Procrastinating</h2> <p>This year the FAFSA form will be made available on October 1. That's a full <em>three months earlier than usual</em>. Despite the early bird form availability, it will serve you best to fill out the FAFSA and submit it as soon as possible. Many folks wait until after they file their taxes to fill out and submit the FAFSA, and in some cases that can be too late. At least nine states award financial aid on a <a href="https://www.edvisors.com/blog/switch-to-prior-prior-tax-data-for-fafsa-09-2015/">first come, first served</a> basis &mdash; until the money runs out. Even if you beat the official deadline, waiting to file could potentially cost you everything.</p> <h2>3. Messing Up Numbers</h2> <p>While it's important to fill out the FAFSA in a timely manner, it's equally important that you fill it out correctly. Double-check to make sure the numbers you enter onto the FAFSA form are correct and in the right field. One faulty keyboard stroke could cost you thousands of dollars.</p> <h2>3. Leaving a Field Blank</h2> <p>If the answer is zero, write zero. Leaving a field blank can prompt the processor of your application to assume that you failed to answer the question. It can also lead to grave miscalculations and processing delays. So before you submit your application, double-check that all fields are filled in.</p> <h2>4. Not Including Stepparents</h2> <p>The FAFSA can be filed by just one parent. But if this parent is remarried, the financial information for that spouse &mdash; the student's stepparent &mdash; must also be reported. Depending on that stepparent's income and assets, a student's eligibility for need-based financial aid can fluctuate greatly.</p> <h2>5. Not Including Stepchildren on an Application</h2> <p>To soften the blow of a well-off stepparent, stepchildren may be included on the FAFSA application, as well. By including stepchildren, you'll make adjustments to the household size and expected family contribution portions of the form, thereby creating opportunity for greater need-based aid.</p> <h2>6. Filing the Wrong Form</h2> <p>At any given time, there are two versions of the FAFSA that could be filed: The FAFSA for the <em>current </em>academic year, and the FAFSA for the <em>upcoming </em>academic year. The majority of applicants &mdash; those seeking to attend school in the upcoming school year &mdash; will want to file the latter. Be sure that you've got the right form for your desired college enrollment date.</p> <h2>7. Not Using the Right Website</h2> <p>The FAFSA is free to fill out and submit on <a href="https://fafsa.ed.gov/">fafsa.ed.gov</a>. But beware: There are imposter sites out there. If you are asked for your credit card information, you're not on the official government site.</p> <h2>8. Including Retirement Info</h2> <p>Retirement info, such as your 401K or IRA assets, should never be included on the FAFSA. Only non-retirement financial data is required. Mistakenly including retirement funds on the form could reduce your chances of winning need-based aid, so be sure to avoid this mistake.</p> <h2>9. Entering the Wrong SSN</h2> <p>Most of us are rarely called upon to state our Social Security numbers, which could be why so many folks misstate these numbers on the FAFSA. Double-check SSN numbers before submitting the form, and make sure you have the correct number matched to the right family member.</p> <h2>10. Failing to Seek Help</h2> <p>Successful completion of the FAFSA form is no easy task. If you're flustered, seek help. There's a <a href="https://studentaidhelp.ed.gov/app/home/site/fafsa">FAFSA hotline</a> available to help you navigate the process as well as free online resources, such as the <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/estimate">FAFSA calculator</a>.</p> <p><em>Did you find the FAFSA process confusing?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">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/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</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/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</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/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</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/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training applications college FAFSA federal student aid financial aid Mistakes student loans Mon, 23 May 2016 09:30:26 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1714480 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/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</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/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</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/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your 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/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt</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 College Guide http://www.wisebread.com/college <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/college" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college-iStock_000027621000_Small.jpg" alt="college campus" title="college campus" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="184" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying for a college education is an expensive but important part of personal finance planning. This guide offers tips for saving for and getting financial aid for college, plus additional advice for students to save while in school and tips for recent graduates. Also check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/college-resources">40+ Resources for Parents and Students</a> for even more information. Use the links below to jump to any section.</p> <ul> <li><a href="#saving">Saving for College</a></li> <li><a href="#paying">Paying for College</a></li> <li><a href="#students">Student Savings</a></li> <li><a href="#graduates">Tips for Recent Graduates</a></li> </ul> <p><a name="saving"></a></p> <h2>Saving for College</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/cost-of-college"><strong>Calculating the Cost of College</strong></a><br /> One of the hardest parts of saving for your child's college expenses is calculating just what those expenses will total. Here are some ideas to get a better financial picture of the actual cost of college.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/saving-for-college"><strong>How to Save Money for College</strong></a><br /> There are several different options for building a college fund that will cover part or all of a student's college expenses.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/section-529-plans"><strong>Section 529 Plans</strong></a><br /> A Section 529 plan offers an opportunity to invest money for your child's college tuition tax free. A Section 529 plan also offers the alternative of prepaying your child's tuition at today's prices, rather than the higher costs you can expect when your child is ready to enroll.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/coverdell-education-savings-account"><strong>Coverdell Education Savings Accounts</strong></a><br /> The Coverdell Education Savings Account (also known as the Coverdell ESA) is a college savings option that allows you to save money towards your child's college expenses with tax advantages.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/utma-ugma-custodial-accounts"><strong>UTMA/UGMA Custodial Accounts</strong></a><br /> Over the years, Uniform Transfers to Minors and Uniform Gifts to Minors custodial accounts (also known as UGMA and UTMA accounts) have become less popular than college savings options.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/college-savings-bonds"><strong>Series I and Series EE U.S. Savings Bonds</strong></a><br /> Rather than setting up an account for your child under one of the many college savings plans (like a Section 529 Plans, Coverdell ESAs, or UTMA/UGMA Accounts), you can simply buy Series I and Series EE savings bonds.</p> <p><a name="paying"></a></p> <h2>Paying for College</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/college-resources"><strong>40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</strong></a><br /> 40+ resources that help you pay for college and save money while in school.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/financial-aid"><strong>College Financial Aid Options</strong></a><br /> There is so much aid out there including grants, federal student loans, private loans, federal tax credits, and even federal work study programs for students seeking federal financial aid for college.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/federal-student-loans"><strong>Federal Student Loan Options</strong></a><br /> The U.S. government has created a number of different federal student loan programs in order to address the needs of different groups of students.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-pay-less-money-for-a-college-degree"><strong>6 Ways to Pay Less Money For a College Degree</strong></a><br /> A four-year college degree can be one of the most expensive purchases in a person's lifetime. Here are six ways you can expect to pay less money for a traditional four-year college degree.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-small-scholarships-for-a-big-payoff"><strong>How to Get a Big Payoff From College Scholarships</strong></a><br /> Depending on your financial circumstances, scholarships can help you save on tuition now, and reduce the interest and principal on student loans later. Here are some tips on managing the business of applying for scholarships</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stopping-the-student-loan-debt-stress"><strong>Stopping the Student-Loan Debt Stress</strong></a><br /> Is your student-loan debt causing stress, influencing you to make financial decisions that are not necessarily in your best long-term interests, and delaying your entry into what your parents may perceive as adulthood? If so, you aren't alone.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-fafsa-or-not-to-fafsa-a-former-students-view-of-student-loans"><strong>A Former Student's View of Student Loans</strong></a><br /> To FAFSA or not to FAFSA? Wise Bread blogger Sarah Winfrey discusses, in retrospect, her experience with student loans.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-private-schools-worth-the-money-they-demand"><strong>Are Private Schools Worth the Money They Demand?</strong></a><br /> Here are some points that argue yes, private schools are worth the money.</p> <p><a name="students"></a></p> <h2>Student Savings</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/timeless-tips-for-college-students"><strong>Timeless Tips for College Students</strong></a><br /> Want to get good grades in college or help your favorite student thrive? Here are some timeless tips for college students.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/school-bookstores-cant-afford-cheap-textbooks"><strong>School Bookstores Can't Afford Cheap Textbooks</strong></a><br /> Ever wondered why textbooks at campus bookstores are so expensive? Find out here. Plus: other textbook-purchasing options.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-cheapest-college-textbooks"><strong>How to Find the Cheapest College Textbooks</strong></a><br /> The campus book store won't give you the bargains you want &mdash; neither will the usual book stores. If you want your textbooks at the lowest possible price, online is the way to go.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/united-world-college-study-abroad-for-way-less-than-you-think"><strong>Study Abroad for Way Less Than You Think At United World College</strong></a><br /> Does your high-school aged child want to study abroad? If so, United World College could be a good fit. And for a school abroad, you may be surprised at the sticker price &mdash; or lack thereof.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-savvy-strategies-to-ward-away-college-hunger-and-avoid-overspending"><strong>6 Savvy Strategies to Ward Away College Hunger and Avoid Overspending</strong></a><br /> With these strategies in mind, the hungry college student will never go hungry again!</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college-student-eating-survival-guide-until-spring-break"><strong>College Student Eating Survival Guide (Until Spring Break)</strong></a><br /> Eating seems to be a major expense for college students not on some sort of meal plan. And even students that are on meal plans often find they underestimated. Lucky for you, there are other ways to eat.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-as-an-online-student"><strong>How to Succeed as an Online Student</strong></a><br /> If you're considering online studies, don't underestimate the workload, discipline, and communication skills needed to succeed. Here are tips on excelling as an online student.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sit-in-on-a-class-at-mit-for-free"><strong>Sit in on a Class at MIT for Free!</strong></a><br /> Many colleges offer free access to their online instruction. Assuming that you just want the knowledge and could care less about the official college credit, you might enjoy this resource to get some of the best online instruction for absolutely no money.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-frugal-resource-the-community-college"><strong>A Frugal Resource: The Community College</strong></a><br /> The community college offers a depth of resources available not only to enrolled students but also to community members. Here are ideas on getting value from your tuition and tax money.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-go-to-college-to-learn"><strong>Don't Go to College to Learn</strong></a><br /> There are good reasons to go to college. And, if you do go to college, you will no doubt learn a lot. But you can learn anywhere &mdash; and probably learn more, better, and faster if you do so on your own. If you choose to go to college, make sure you know what you're paying for.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/back-to-school-the-case-for-majoring-in-english"><strong>The Case for Majoring in English</strong></a><br /> It's the one with the most job options, the cheapest on books, and the most frugal on investment. Here are more reasons to consider the English major.</p> <p><a name="graduates"></a></p> <h2>Tips for Recent Graduates</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-income-based-federal-student-loans-repayment-plan-can-you-benefit"><strong>Income Based Federal Student Loans Repayment Plan &mdash; Can You Benefit?</strong></a><br /> This month a new repayment plan for federal student loans is going into effect that allows borrowers to base their monthly payments on their income after graduation. Here are some details on how the new Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR) affects loan payments for borrowers, and some pros and cons of participating in the plan.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-great-jobs-that-offer-college-loan-forgiveness"><strong>7 Great Jobs that Offer College Loan Forgiveness</strong></a><br /> These seven careers are not only growing in opportunity, but they can sometimes offer partial to complete loan forgiveness!</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-the-real-world-my-best-advice-for-new-graduates"><strong>Advice for New Graduates</strong></a><br /> Here is some advice for new graduates who are transitioning from the safe structured environment of school to a seemingly infinitely larger world.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/resumes-for-recent-college-graduates"><strong>Resumes for Recent Grads</strong></a><br /> Are you wondering what to include in your resume and what to leave out? Here are ways to translate class projects, volunteer activities, and campus involvement into real-life skills valuable in the workplace.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/translating-volunteer-experiences-and-skills-to-workplace-credentials"><strong>Translating Volunteer Experiences to Workplace Credentials</strong></a><br /> Need ideas for parlaying volunteer hours into skills and experiences valued by employers? Here are a few ways to present your volunteer experience on your résumé, as an integral part or valuable addition to your professional credentials.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-pays-to-be-true-to-your-school-5-ways-your-alma-mater-can-save-you-money"><strong>5 Ways Your Alma Mater Can Save You Money</strong></a><br /> Alumni associations are doing everything they can to make things better for graduates of their college during this difficult time. Amazingly enough, some of the savings are pretty substantial.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college">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/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</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-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</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-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year">8 Money Moves Students Should Make During a Gap 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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-college-can-you-and-your-kid-afford">How Much College Can You (and Your Kid) Afford?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training college financial aid Thu, 21 May 2015 23:32:26 +0000 Amy Lu 1432745 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Great Sources of Financial Aid for Switching Careers http://www.wisebread.com/7-great-sources-of-financial-aid-for-switching-careers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-great-sources-of-financial-aid-for-switching-careers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coworkers_at_computer_000014305206.jpg" alt="Students participating in fellowships and grants for adult career training" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With ever-growing competition in the job market, it's imperative to improve and develop our professional skill sets. Although higher education and career training can be an expensive investment, there are many sources of financial aid in the form of adult <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-extra-scholarship-money-for-college">career scholarships</a>, fellowships, and grants. Consider these seven.</p> <h2>1. Government Opportunities</h2> <p>Federal, state, and local governments often have money set aside to award grants and scholarships for adult learning. These opportunities are not very well advertised, but they are easily found if you know where to look. The best source of information on these is your State Education Bureau and the <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/">Federal Student Financial Aid Center</a>.</p> <h2>2. Scholarships for Women</h2> <p><a href="http://www.scholarshipsforwomen.net/">Scholarships for Women</a> is an excellent site that lists little-known financial aid opportunities for women. Many of them are expressly dedicated to specific demographics, including race, religion, family structure, field of study, sexual orientation, and education level.</p> <h2>3. Scholarships for Working Parents and Those Who Want to Work Abroad</h2> <p>If you are returning to college to finish a degree or start a new one as an adult student, <a href="https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-type/scholarships-for-adult-students/">Scholarships.com</a> has a number of links for adult learners. Some are specialized for working parents who are returning to the workforce after some time away. If you're adventurous and looking to have a second act abroad, the <a href="http://www.peacecorps.gov/50plus/">Peace Corps</a> has a special initiative to entice experienced professionals 50 years of age and older to join its ranks.</p> <h2>4. Vocational Training</h2> <p>There have been a number of recent news stories about the lack of well-trained tradespeople, since these jobs remain very much in demand. If trade school interests you, there's money available to help you make that career transition. Check out the link for trade school scholarships at <a href="http://www.collegescholarships.org/scholarships/vocational-school.htm">CollegeScholarships.org</a>.</p> <h2>5. Financial Aid for Senior Citizens<strong> </strong></h2> <p>You're never too old to learn, and many senior citizens are returning to school as a professional second act, or to pursue a long-held educational dream. Many schools (especially state schools) offer scholarships and grants specifically for senior citizens. Contact a college near you to learn about specific financial programs for seniors.</p> <h2>6. Career-Specific Opportunities</h2> <p>If you know exactly what field you want to study and need the funding to make it possible, <a href="https://www.scholarshipexperts.com/scholarships/by-major">ScholarshipExperts</a> gives you a way to search by topic of study. And the topics vary widely &mdash; from the liberal arts to science to business to trade school.</p> <h2>7. Culinary School</h2> <p>In recent years, our national palate has gotten more sophisticated thanks to the craft food and beverage movement, as well as the popularity of media properties like the Food Network. More people than ever are pursuing further culinary training, and happily, there are a number of educational funding opportunities available. The <a href="http://www.jamesbeard.org/education/scholarships-and-grants">James Beard Foundation</a> and cooking schools such as <a href="http://www.chefs.edu/tuition-and-financial-aid/scholarship-opportunities">Le Cordon Bleu</a> offer financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants.</p> <p><em>Are you considering returning to school or switching careers? How will you pay for it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-great-sources-of-financial-aid-for-switching-careers">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/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-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year">8 Money Moves Students Should Make During a Gap Year</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-signs-your-college-is-a-scam">6 Signs Your College Is a Scam</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/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</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/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training fellowships financial aid grants higher education scholarships Fri, 08 May 2015 13:00:08 +0000 Christa Avampato 1410186 at http://www.wisebread.com How Much College Can You (and Your Kid) Afford? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-college-can-you-and-your-kid-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-college-can-you-and-your-kid-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college-5272776-small.jpg" alt="college student" title="college student" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I first noticed headlines spreading the distressing news that <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/08/14/finances-affect-college-major/2649665/">money might influence college choices in this post-recession era</a>, I was surprised to learn of the possibility that college-bound students and their parents might <em>not </em>consider the cost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-to-dos-for-college-freshmen">Financial To-Do's for College Freshmen</a>)</p> <p>Comparing options for <a href="http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/collegecost/collegecost.html">such an enormous purchase</a> seems to be a sensible approach. College tuition, fees, books, and other expenses can consume tens of thousands of dollars if not well over $100,000. While <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=77">college graduates as a group enjoy greater incomes than those with less education</a>, they may not reap more from an investment in a pricey college than one with a much lower price tag. How to decide how much to spend?</p> <h2>Start by Assessing Educational and Career Goals</h2> <p>Start the decision-making process by examining the reasons for attending college, which may include the opportunities to:</p> <ul> <li>Prepare for the workforce through specialized studies as well as hone skills in communications, critical thinking, and problem solving<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Garner a higher starting salary and/or greater considerations for advancement in the workforce<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Prepare for graduate-level studies<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Get the college experience, which could range from living with peers in a residence hall on campus, forming bonds with people of different backgrounds, and studying abroad<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Develop a professional and social network that extends beyond your local area</li> </ul> <h2>Financial Aid, Loans, and Work-Study Aren't Free</h2> <p>Getting a financial aid package can make college seem affordable, at least in the short term. But if you have to incur loads of debt, then a choice made in your teens could have long-term, lifelong consequences. In fact, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/05/22/student-loan-problems-one-third-of-millennials-regret-going-to-college/">many recent grads are delaying milestone moves</a> such as getting married, buying a house, and having children because of the burden of student loans. Higher income after graduation may not offset the costs associated with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/21/class-of-2013-student-debt_n_3313617.html">paying off balances on student loans</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster">Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <p>Opting for work-study programs or simply getting a job may also help pay the bills, but it can detract from the college experience. According to a <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130807005644/en">survey by Citi and Seventeen magazine</a>, nearly 4 out of 5 students are working during college and the average student is working 19 hours per week during the school year. For many, going to a more expensive college may not make as much sense if you don't have time to study, collaborate with peers on projects, and develop your network.</p> <p>And, if there is a slight change in your financial situation, then you may not be able to afford to continue. An abrupt move can be difficult if you must restart studies at another university, losing the momentum in earning your degree especially if certain course credits don't transfer.</p> <h2>So, a Cheaper College Is Better?</h2> <p>Still, choosing a less expensive college over a more expensive one may not be as simple as it looks. Sure, if you have to pay full sticker price, then the comparison is relatively easy. However, many colleges and universities use published costs as a starting point for offering financial aid, which may include grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and loans.</p> <h2>Matching Budget and College</h2> <p>Based on my experiences with a college-age son and a conversation with the folks at Citi's Financial Education-Personal Wealth Management group, here is what many students do to get the best deal:</p> <ul> <li>Determine which colleges and universities are most likely to fit your professional and personal aspirations.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Before applying to schools, show interest in desired colleges and universities by communicating with admissions officers, taking campus tours, etc. as schools tend to be more interested in admitting students who are likely to accept offers (and you must be admitted before you can get school-based scholarships).<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Complete applications to multiple colleges and universities.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Apply by deadlines for regular admission or early action, but don't choose the early-decision option because if you are bound to attend a particular college, you can't compare and negotiate aid packages. Note that you might consider applying for early action to be eligible for all school-specific scholarships.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Apply for scholarships and financial aid at all colleges and universities after being admitted.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Compare financial aid packages, paying attention to the mix of loans, scholarships, and other assistance.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li>Consider <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/04/tips-for-negotiating-financial-aid-for-college/">making an appeal</a> if you think the financial aid office could make a better offer based on your unique circumstances.</li> </ul> <p>At this point, use the package deal (not sticker prices or published costs) to make an informed decision about your actual cost and the debt you'll incur (if any) to get a degree at each institution. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-on-college-tuition">6 Ways to Save on Tuition</a>)</p> <h2>Manage Non-Tuition Expenses, Too</h2> <p>Don't forget to calculate extra expenses that often surprise students and their parents.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.citigroup.com/citi/about/leaders/jonathan-clements-bio.html">Jonathan Clements, Director of Financial Education at Citi's Personal Wealth Management</a>, parents and their college-bound students can easily predict certain expenses (such as tuition, fees, housing, and dining plans) but become blindsided by other costs, such as travel to and from the university, sorority and fraternity fees, books, and entertainment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-free-or-almost-free-college-textbooks">How to Score Free Textbooks</a>)</p> <p>To control these costs, plan travel ahead of time to get the best deals, take advantage of cheap entertainment, and find frugal friends who can give you tips on controlling expenses. In addition, you might take odd jobs on campus that don't require an ongoing commitment. For example, you could enter essay contests with cash prizes, work at ballgames, or become a test subject in psychology experiments.</p> <p>When my youngest son started to contemplate colleges, he was perplexed and frustrated that I was encouraging him to apply to in-state institutions, although I have since agreed to work with him to pursue other affordable possibilities. He began to understand my concerns when he started comparing costs among colleges and universities on <a href="https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search">CollegeBoard.org</a>.</p> <p>My high school student determined that a high-priced school was unlikely to provide an advantage worth $100,000 more than a moderately-priced one. Certainly, there may be situations when the extra money would be worth the cost. For this decision, though, my husband, my son, and I would rather pay less now. Differences in the quality of education, networking, etc. could be overcome through internships and other types of experiences.</p> <p><em>Did money influence your college choice? How did you make your decision?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-college-can-you-and-your-kid-afford">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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-your-child-can-earn-college-credits-in-high-school-for-cheap">How Your Child Can Earn College Credits in High School (For Cheap)</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/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</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 college financial aid tuition Fri, 04 Oct 2013 09:48:03 +0000 Julie Rains 994554 at http://www.wisebread.com A Better Way to Rank America's Colleges http://www.wisebread.com/a-better-way-to-rank-americas-colleges <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-better-way-to-rank-americas-colleges" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college-4277002-small.jpg" alt="college student" title="college student" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <h2>Update: A Better Way to Rank America's Colleges</h2> <p>Following up on its ranking of &quot;America's Best Bang for the Buck Colleges&quot; (see below), Washington Monthly has released its much broader &quot;National University Rankings.&quot; In addition to the cost and affordability factors of the previous list, this list adds such criteria as &quot;Research&quot; and &quot;Service,&quot; with the goal of identifying institutions that best serve the public interest.</p> <blockquote><p>We rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u943/National%20University%20Rankings%202013%20%20%20Washington%20Monthly.png" width="605" height="278" alt="" /></p> <p>University of California, San Diego tops the list, for the fourth year running.</p> <p>Visit Washington Monthly for <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/rankings_2013/national_university_rank.php">the complete, sortable list</a> and <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/september_october_2013/features/introduction_a_different_kind046446.php">more details on ranking criteria</a>.</p> <p><em>How much good does your school do?</em></p> <h2>Previously:&nbsp;A New Way to Rank Higher Ed: America's Best Value Colleges</h2> <p>While many students will be launching their college careers in the coming days (and struggling to pay for those educations), their younger siblings are just now making decisions about the colleges and universities they'll attend <em>next </em>fall. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-on-college-tuition">6 Ways to Save on College Tuition</a>)</p> <p>There are a number of rankings and lists to help sort through all the choices, based on a variety of criteria (<a href="http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges">US News' ranking</a> comes to mind). Now political journal Washington Monthly steps in with a ranking that's relevant to most of us:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/september_october_2013/features/americas_bestbangforthebuck_co_1046447.php#">America&rsquo;s Best-Bang-for-the-Buck Colleges</a>.</p> <p>To make the list, schools had to meet four criteria:</p> <ol> <li>To ensure that the university does not serve only the wealthy, 20% of the college's students must be recipients of Pell Grants, which go to students from families earning less than $50k per year.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Colleges must have a graduation rate of at least 50%, which is an indicator of institutional effectiveness.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Graduation rates must exceed the <em>statistically predicted graduatuion rate</em> based on the number of admitted lower-income students.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Student loan default rates must be below 10%, a measure of the ability of students to find employment post-college.&nbsp;</li> </ol> <p>Once colleges cleared those hurdles, Washington Monthly &quot;applied the 'buck' part of the measure&quot; by sorting the schools based on the average cost of tuition a family making less than $75k would pay, net of need-based support. In other words, what it costs out of pocket to attend.</p> <h2>The Top Ten Best Bang for the Buck Colleges</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u943/Best%20Bang%20for%20the%20Buck%20Rankings%202013.png" width="566" height="408" alt="" /></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/rankings_2013/bangforthebuck_all_rank.php">complete list</a>, which can be sorted several ways, is available at the Washington Monthly.</p> <p>(How about a shout out for your correspondent's alma mater, climbing all the way to Number 6!)</p> <p><em>Is Bang for the Buck a good measure of a school's value? Is it something you might use in deciding on a college for you or your children?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-better-way-to-rank-americas-colleges">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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</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/how-much-college-can-you-and-your-kid-afford">How Much College Can You (and Your Kid) Afford?</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-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Education & Training college financial aid student loans tuition university Wed, 28 Aug 2013 00:21:31 +0000 Lars Peterson 981493 at http://www.wisebread.com College Without Loans: Where to Find Scholarships http://www.wisebread.com/college-without-loans-where-to-find-scholarships <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/college-without-loans-where-to-find-scholarships" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student-1866361-small.jpg" alt="students" title="students" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We hear a lot of &ldquo;gloom and doom&rdquo; reporting about the student loan crisis, but there&rsquo;s a positive side to paying for college&nbsp;&mdash; scholarships. Each year, there are millions of dollars in scholarships available to students, and unlike loans, you don&rsquo;t need to pay them back. Some scholarships require completed applications, essays, letters of recommendation, high GPAs, athletic ability, or financial need. Other scholarships simply ask you to fill out a form.</p> <p>Whether you just want some spare cash for books and living expenses or you need to pay for your entire tuition, the following resources can help you on your scholarship quest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/college-resources">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</a>)</p> <h2>Your University&rsquo;s Financial Aid Office</h2> <p>The first place you should check for available scholarships is the financial aid office at your university. Some scholarships are open to all students (those with academic achievements and/or significant financial need are generally given preference), while other scholarships may be limited to certain majors (among other perquisites). If you submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, you may be automatically considered for various scholarships or encouraged to apply for ones based on your financial need.</p> <h2>Local Clubs and Organizations</h2> <p>Other sources of potential scholarships are the clubs and organizations in your area. They might not show up online, but don&rsquo;t limit your scholarship search to the internet. Instead, scout out potential scholarships from:</p> <ul> <li>Local sports or activity-centric clubs you&rsquo;ve participated in</li> <li>Political groups (in order to qualify for a scholarship, you&rsquo;ll likely have to be registered with the given political party)</li> <li>A religious organization you may be affiliated with</li> <li>Your (or your parent's) employer</li> <li>Local branches of recognized organizations, such as the Rotary Club</li> </ul> <h2>Online Scholarship Websites</h2> <p>There are hundreds of different websites with scholarship databases, but before you feel overwhelmed, start off your search with these popular sites.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Scholarships.com</b></p> <p>One of the easiest to find, easiest to use websites for scholarship searches is <a href="http://www.scholarships.com/">Scholarships.com</a>. After taking a couple minutes to fill in the required information (email address, school year, birth date, etc.) plus some general information on your background (athletics, ethnicity, academics, disabilities, etc.), Scholarships.com&rsquo;s search engine presents you with a list of scholarships you could qualify for based on the information you provided. If you don&rsquo;t want to register right away, go to the bottom of the homepage to find scholarships based on majors, schools, gender, minority status, &ldquo;unusual&rdquo; scholarships, and more. (Note: You have to be a member of Scholarships.com to view the full details for each scholarship.<i>)</i></p> <p>In addition to the scholarship search, Scholarships.com offers several informative articles about financial aid and other important aspects of college. For students who haven&rsquo;t chosen a university yet, the <a href="http://www.scholarships.com/Research-Colleges.aspx">College Matchmaker</a> search tool is also quite useful.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>FastWeb</b></p> <p><a href="http://www.fastweb.com/college-scholarships">FastWeb</a> not only offers a comprehensive scholarship search tool, but it also has plenty of information on planning for the financial side of college, getting internships, and applying for jobs. Members of FastWeb (membership is free, by the way) receive personalized scholarship matches based on their personal background, academic history, and extracurricular interests. The site navigational toolbar makes searching for scholarships a breeze, and there are thousands of potential scholarships in its database (which is updated daily).</p> <p>Note that when you sign up for FastWeb, you may want to opt out of email updates, since they tend to email members frequently. &nbsp;</p> <p><b>Big Future</b></p> <p>The College Board is arguably one of the best resources for incoming college students and their scholarship search tool, <a href="https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarship-search">Big Future</a>, is useful for anyone looking for ways to pay for college. According to the website, Big Future has up to six billion in potential scholarships and other financial aid opportunities listed in its database.</p> <p>Unlike other scholarship search sites, Big Future doesn&rsquo;t require users to register in order to see the details for each scholarship. Simply fill out the information and see which scholarships you might want to apply for from the results list. In terms of ease of navigation and access, Big Future&rsquo;s scholarship finder is one of the best available to students.</p> <p><b>Zinch</b></p> <p>A subsidiary of the online bookseller Chegg, <a href="http://www.zinch.com/scholarships">Zinch</a> has a simple search feature that allows you to find scholarship matches based on your student status, zip code, college location, GPA, and interests. When you input new information, the scholarship selection is automatically filtered and the amount of funds you could qualify for is immediately displayed. Like other scholarship sites, Zinch requires you to register to get the full details of how to apply for scholarships. However, Zinch has a unique bonus for its members&nbsp;&mdash; the Chegg for Good program allows Zinch members to double the money they win from their first scholarship found through Zinch (up to $1,000).</p> <p><b>Department of Labor Scholarship Search</b></p> <p>America&rsquo;s Career InfoNet has a limited offering compared to its competitors, with approximately 7,000 financial aid opportunities within its <a href="http://www.careerinfonet.org/scholarshipsearch/ScholarshipCategory.asp?searchtype=category&amp;nodeid=22">scholarship database</a>. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration and allows you to search for financial aid based on award type (scholarship, fellowship, grant, etc.), residency, study level, and affiliation restrictions (ethnicity, disability, etc.). Your search results may include: the funds available for the award, qualifications, number of awards available, and the deadline to apply.</p> <p><i>Where else have you found scholarships? Is it worth the time and effort (filling out applications, writing essays) to scout out scholarships? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.</i></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college-without-loans-where-to-find-scholarships">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/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</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-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</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/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</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/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-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 college scholarships financial aid student loans Mon, 24 Jun 2013 15:39:38 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 980118 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Save Money on Preschool Enrollment http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-money-on-preschool-enrollment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-save-money-on-preschool-enrollment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4119293402_73610cce35_z.jpg" alt="preschool kid" title="preschool kid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have a preschool-aged child, you know that paying for preschool can be expensive. While there are a wide variety of prices and preschool philosophies out there, looking at the bill almost always feels like a shock to the system. There are, however, a few ways to save some money and still get your child the jump start on their education that you&rsquo;ve been hoping for. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-lessons-frugal-parents-teach-their-children">7 Important Lessons Frugal Parents Teach Their Children</a>)</p> <h2>1. Shop Around</h2> <p>Look at more than one preschool before you sign up.</p> <p>In our area, some preschools are five to six times more expensive than others. Are they better? That&rsquo;s up to each parent to decide. The point is, you need to know what is available how schools differ from each other.</p> <p>Remember that sometimes it&rsquo;s worthwhile to spend more to send your child to a school that fits their personality. But if the schools are mostly the same, you don&rsquo;t need to break the bank on the most expensive one. You won&rsquo;t know which one that is, though, unless you look at several of them.</p> <h2>2. Talk to Parents</h2> <p>Other parents are your best resource for finding a good deal on a preschool. They&rsquo;ve been where you are, and they may be able to tell you where you&rsquo;ll get the best deal, where you&rsquo;ll spend more but it will be worth every penny, or where your money will be wasted.</p> <p>If you belong to any sort of parents&rsquo; group, ask everyone you can. Sure, some people will insist you go one place and others will send you another direction, but at least you&rsquo;ll have more information. If you&rsquo;re looking for something specific in a preschool, ask questions that will help you narrow your choices to those that will serve your child&rsquo;s needs well.</p> <h2>3. Volunteer</h2> <p>Many preschools will allow you to volunteer and reduce your bill. While you&rsquo;ll still have to pay (and sometimes the reduction isn&rsquo;t very much), you&rsquo;ll offset at least a bit of your child&rsquo;s education. As an added bonus, you&rsquo;ll get to be in and around the environment of the preschool, so you&rsquo;ll have a better feel for what goes on there and what your child is learning.</p> <h2>4. Look for Aid</h2> <p>Some preschools offer financial aid. While these can be few and far between, it&rsquo;s worth at least asking about, especially if you want to send your child somewhere you can&rsquo;t afford.</p> <p>You can also look into state and federal aid, although with the economy in its current state, these offers have gotten pretty sparse over the last few years. If you&rsquo;re truly working on a low income, there should be some sort of free or subsidized preschool available for your child. If you make a bit more money, you may be out of luck.</p> <h2>5. Do It Yourself (or Join a Co-op)</h2> <p>If paying for preschool really grates on you or just isn&rsquo;t in the budget, you can always choose to do it yourself.</p> <p>There are a million different resources available online, from <a href="http://www.tlsbooks.com/preschoolworksheets.htm" target="_blank">free, printable worksheets</a> to <a href="http://www.preschoolpalace.org/" target="_blank">entire curriculums</a>. You&rsquo;ll want to evaluate everything based on what you know about your child&rsquo;s needs, strengths, and weaknesses, but most adults feel competent enough to teach things like shapes, sounds, colors, numbers, etc.</p> <p>Some children don&rsquo;t do well with preschool at home, either because they want to get out or because they don&rsquo;t like to work with their parents that way. In that case, some areas have co-operative preschools. You&rsquo;re still likely to pay a fee, but most of the classes are parent-led, and you&rsquo;ll take your turn every so often. Or, you can get together with some parents of like-aged kids and make your own co-op.</p> <h2>6. Supplement With Freebies</h2> <p>Whether your child is in preschool or <a href="http://parentingsquad.com/at-home-preschool-tips">you&rsquo;re doing it at home</a>, take advantage of free options around your city. Many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-visit-museums-for-free">museums offer free days</a> and, while it will be busy, it&rsquo;s a great chance to expose your child to something they wouldn&rsquo;t have seen otherwise.</p> <p>While there are certain skills that kids need to learn before kindergarten, they&rsquo;ll be in a better position to learn if they&rsquo;ve used their brains in a lot of different ways. Giving them the opportunity to see many different things will help them develop the ability to learn. And there&rsquo;s no need to pay for this exposure if you&rsquo;re willing to do your homework and battle a few crowds.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s no need to feel overwhelmed at the cost of preschool. Instead, take your time, look at the options available to you, and then choose what&rsquo;s best for your child and your budget. Give yourself as much time as you need to make the decision, so you can be sure it is one both you and your child will be happy with.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Were you able to save money on your child's preschool? Please share your experience in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-money-on-preschool-enrollment">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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</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/how-to-keep-your-kids-rich-friends-from-ruining-your-budget">How to Keep Your Kid&#039;s Rich Friends From Ruining Your Budget</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</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/11-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-from-thrift-stores">11 Ways to Earn Extra Cash From Thrift Stores</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-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle children's education financial aid preschool Thu, 31 Jan 2013 10:48:35 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 967422 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-things-you-need-to-know-about-financial-aid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-things-you-need-to-know-about-financial-aid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5628821867_db38690d5f_z-1.jpg" alt="Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid" title="Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on things you need to know about financial aid, must-have millionaire habits, and getting financially fit.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2012/09/20/15-things-you-need-to-know-about-financial-aid/">15 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid</a> &mdash; Did you know that you should apply for financial aid even if you don't think you are eligible? [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Good-Habits-Millionaires-5477536">6 Must-Have Millionaire Habits</a> &mdash; Learn a lesson from millionaires and be in control of your money. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.creditkarma.com/personal-finance/4-steps-to-getting-financially-fit/">4 Steps to Getting Financially Fit</a> &mdash; When getting financially fit, establish an easy plan that you will stick to. [Credit Karma Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://amateurassetallocator.com/2012/09/17/3-reasons-i-prefer-traditional-index-mutual-funds-to-etfs/">3 Reasons Traditional Index Mutual Funds Are Better Than ETFs</a> &mdash; Traditional index mutual funds are easier to rebalance than ETFs. [Amateur Asset Allocator]</p> <p><a href="http://andthenshesaved.com/surprise-unemployment/#more-1516">Surprise Unemployment? Make The Most of It</a> &mdash; If you suddenly find yourself unemployed, make the most of it by claiming unemployement benefits and using a budgeting tool. [And Then She Saved]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://blog.themillionairenurse.com/2012/09/20/8-ridiculously-simple-ways-to-save-time/">8 Ridiculously Simple Ways to Save Time</a> &mdash; To save time, identify tasks you can replace with automation, then automate those tasks! [The Millionaire Nurse Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.1099mom.com/2012/09/3-big-mistakes-small-business-sites.html">3 Big Mistakes Small Business Sites Commonly Make</a> &mdash; Do you have a website for your small business? Don't make the mistake of not having a real way for customers to contact you. [1099 Mom]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2012/09/what-are-you-doing-to-make-millions-more.html">What Are You Doing to Make Millions More?</a> &mdash; If you want to make more money, take the time to grow professionally. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/timeshare-rentals/">Timeshare Rentals: A Surprising Money-Saving Alternative</a> &mdash; Next time you go on vacation, consider renting a timeshare. It will help you eat healthier! [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-host-a-fall-harvest-birthday-party">How to Host a Fall Harvest Birthday Party</a> &mdash; Looking for a good snack to serve at a fall birthday party? Try pumpking peanut butter dip. [Parenting Squad]</p> <h2>News &amp; Events</h2> <p>Be sure to check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/calendar">News &amp; Events Calendar</a> to see all the awesome upcoming events in the personal finance world!</p> <p>Also, PopSugar is doing a special series with First Lady Michelle Obama! Readers can submit questions to the First Lady about any range of topics &ndash; from fashion and healthy living, to the tough important issues facing voters today. Head on over to the <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/Michelle-Obama-Video-PopSugar-24934435">announcement post</a> to submit your questions!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-things-you-need-to-know-about-financial-aid">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/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</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-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year">8 Money Moves Students Should Make During a Gap Year</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/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</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/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students">Don&#039;t Skip These 8 Tax Breaks for Students</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training best money tips college financial aid students Fri, 21 Sep 2012 10:00:43 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 954632 at http://www.wisebread.com The College Freshman Budget http://www.wisebread.com/the-college-freshman-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-college-freshman-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college_classroom.jpg" alt="Students working in a classroom" title="Students working in a classroom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="146" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to the fall semester! Whether you are on financial aid, are paying for college yourself, or have parents paying the brunt of it, your money can easily be gone long before your statistics or world civilization class will be. A little planning and corner cutting can help stretch those dollars. As a former student and current professor, here's my low-down on what you and your family might want to consider.<o:p> (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college">Wise Bread's College Guide</a>)</o:p></p> <h3>Textbooks</h3> <p>Every semester the sticker shock of books and materials seems to take both parents and students by surprise. The cost of textbooks is rising &mdash; that's not going to change for the better, but there are ways around this. For those on financial aid, know this &mdash; since the 1994 Congress changed laws governing student financial aid, America&rsquo;s students have not received their financial aid checks in advance of the first day of class. This often means students are well into the first month of school before their checks arrive. The cheaper, used textbooks have since been bought out by those, ironically, not on financial aid! You need to plan for this.</p> <p>Ask your instructors whether it&rsquo;s okay for you to use a slightly older edition of the books you need for class. Most of the time the difference in an edition is as little as its introduction. Sometimes the instructors aren't aware that there is a new edition or older edition, or what the differences are. Using last year's edition can drop the price tag by more than $60.</p> <p>Ask your instructors whether there&rsquo;s a copy of the text on reserve in the library, and then go and make time to read it there. Many professors do have books on reserve.</p> <p>Texts for three of the books I use for a class are entirely online available for free. Make sure you look up your texts just in case this applies. You never know! This is especially true of older textbooks, novels, etc.</p> <p>Weigh all your options in buying the books: <a href="http://www.amazon.com">Amazon</a>, <a href="http://www.bkstr.com/">eFollett</a>, <a href="http://www.ebay.com">eBay</a>, and your student bookstore. Sometimes an item can be high priced from one online company and totally cheap from another. Sometimes a nearby town book store can order books for you as well. If you are taking a literature class, check thrift stores near where students live, as odds are good that someone just moved and didn&rsquo;t have time to take their old textbooks with them. I scored four books that I then gave away to students because other students just dropped them off at the thrift store.</p> <h3>Food</h3> <p>Now is an excellent time to go on a diet &mdash; less food, less money! All teasing aside, see if your campus has a meal card for its cafeterias. Meal plans generally can be bought in incremental amounts depending on the school and how much a student will be eating on campus. If you are on campus for three meals a day, get the bigger plan. This is one way to really strictly budget food.</p> <p>If your college does have a meal card and your aunts and grandparents keep asking what you need, tell them to put money on your card. Nothing makes a student feel like he or she is more broke than not having money to eat. Eating on campus might not provide the best variety of food and can certainly be boring, but it can be economical. You don't want to be thinking about what to cook or where the cheapest meal might be when you've got midterms you should be studying for anyway. I've seen students with money left on their cards at the end of the semester barter with other students without any money left on theirs. Other meal suggestions can be found in my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college-student-eating-survival-guide-until-spring-break">college student eating survival guide</a>.</p> <h3>Transportation</h3> <p>First of all, don&rsquo;t go home. I mean it. You are in college. Go home at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but not two weeks into school. You&rsquo;re a big kid now, and you can manage. Those frequent trips home to do free laundry are going to cost you in gas and time. Most colleges have some deal worked out with local bus lines for free or discounted bus passes. Opt for this rather than having your car with you, or just use your own car as a last resort. Cars lead to parking tickets around campus anyhow. If you do have your car, gas cards usually don&rsquo;t expire and are another great gift from the grandparents if you can convince them to send you this rather than a sweater.</p> <h3>College Resource Centers, Computer Labs, and Libraries</h3> <p>The most expensive part of being a student can be the technology, and sadly, most students do not use the resource centers, student services, and computer labs available to them for free on campus. Your tuition and fees go to pay for such services and equipment. Use them. Odds are you have your own laptop, but you can print on campus for free or low cost. Some student centers have counseling and therapy available for students &mdash; again, your tuition and fees paid for this, so why not use the services rather than pay for the same thing off campus?</p> <h3>Regular Bills: Frivolities and Utilities</h3> <p>You don&rsquo;t need the mega data plan on your phone; you&rsquo;re supposed to be reading, remember? Do you need 500 channels of TV? Look at your existing bills like cable and data plans on your phone, and see if you can downgrade them a little. You don&rsquo;t need the distractions, and you could use the $40. Also, never talk to your professors about not being able to afford the book with a smartphone in your hand or $200 sneakers on your feet. It just won't fly.</p> <p>Most utility companies have basic plans for students and low-income households. I had Lifeline on my phone through college &mdash; just the basics. Some electric companies offer a reduced energy bill program. In California, my home state, we have the CARE (California Alternate Rates for Energy) program through Pacific Gas and Electric that can mean $10 to $15 off your utility bills. A local community resource center or student center might have brochures for what applies to your area.</p> <h3>The Student ID Card</h3> <p>Not all schools require students to have them, but all produce some sort of ID card. Make sure to get one. This really is your ticket to all sorts of discounts around town. Look for entrance fee discounts for museums, specials in restaurants, bookstores, etc. If you are in a college town, odds are the local merchants will give you a break provided you can prove you are a student at that local college.</p> <h3>Financial Aid and Student Services</h3> <p>Whether you are on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/financial-aid">financial aid</a> or homegrown parent aid, the trick with budgeting is to plan for the worse case scenario. Checks can be late and rules can change in the middle of the semester. Parents get divorced while young adult children are in college, and that great step parent might leave you high and dry afterwards (happened to me). Make that first check last as long as possible. I used to try and put half of it away in a savings account that I could withdraw from in a few months. It was never long enough to draw interest, but the money didn&rsquo;t tempt me in my checking account. This is the best time in your life to learn how to stretch it.</p> <p>This might be the first time mom and dad aren't there with you to fight your bureaucratic battles. Don't be shy! You need to be your own advocate. Go through your college handbook and familiarize yourself with where to go for health concerns, housing, utilities, financial aid, tutoring, and other students services. One of the biggest learning experiences in college is learning to navigate the system itself.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maggie-wells">Maggie Wells</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-college-freshman-budget">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/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students">The 5 Best Credit Cards for College 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/college/college-resources">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</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-great-jobs-for-college-students">10 Great Jobs for College 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/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> Budgeting Education & Training cheap things on campus college students financial aid Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:00:15 +0000 Maggie Wells 688899 at http://www.wisebread.com College Financial Aid Options http://www.wisebread.com/college/financial-aid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/college/financial-aid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006052290XSmall.jpg" alt="College graduation" title="College graduation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>College financial aid is money that students can use to pay for their college tuition, books and supplies, and living costs. With millions of parents and college students being financially unable to pay for college &mdash; especially in these difficult economic times &mdash; financial aid can be the only way to a college education.According to <em>The College Board</em>, more than $140 billion was given to students in financial aid between 2007 and 2008.It&rsquo;s important for parents and students alike to be familiar with the kinds of financial aid available.</p> <h2>FAFSA</h2> <p>The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, can be found in the high school guidance counselor&rsquo;s office or online. This application is the first step toward finding federal financial aid to attend college. The government, as well as the student&rsquo;s prospective college, will review the application and determine the student&rsquo;s eligibility.</p> <h2>Borrowing Money for College</h2> <p>There are a lot of resources available for parents who need to borrow money for college. Certain types of loans created specifically for this type of need can be applied for, and are easier to repay than personal loans.</p> <h3>Perkins Loans</h3> <p>The <a title="Perkins Loan Program" href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/perkins-loans">Perkins Loan</a> is available for low-income families and students with no other option for attending college. A 5% fixed interest rate is applied, and students don&rsquo;t have to start repaying for nine months after completing college. Students who enroll in certain teaching, military, or public service jobs may be able to have their loans canceled completely, thus obtaining their college education for free.</p> <h3>Stafford Loans</h3> <p>The <a title="Stafford Loan Program" href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/stafford-loans">Stafford Loan</a> comes with a fixed interest rate as low as 5.6%. Low-income students can receive subsidized loans that do not accrue interest until six months after graduation, or the student leaves school. Students can also receive unsubsidized Stafford loans, but interest on the loan accrues immediatelyt. As with the Perkins loan, the FAFSA determines eligibility for low-income students.</p> <h3>Parent PLUS Loan</h3> <p>The <a title="Guide to PLUS Student Loan" href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/parent-plus-loans">Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students</a> (PLUS) is available to families who are not considered low-income, but must have good or excellent credit. The loans pack a fixed 8.5% interest and repayment must start within 60 days of receiving the loan. Some parents may be able to defer the loan until after the student completes college.</p> <h2>Scholarships</h2> <p>Many different types of scholarships are available for students who wish to attend college, but it&rsquo;s important to find the ones you're eligible for. Certain organizations have scholarship money available, such as churches, unions, employers, high school clubs, government organizations and even corporations.</p> <p>Consider scholarships that require minimal effort to apply for, and provide larger amounts of money. Some scholarships will decrease the amount of financial aid students are available to receive, so it&rsquo;s important to choose wisely. If certain prestigious scholarships are within reach of a student, it may be more important to apply for these as opposed to any type of scholarship.</p> <h2>Grants</h2> <p>Grants are sometimes available to certain students, such as minorities, Native Americans, women, and exceptionally talented students. Grants may be available through government organizations or private organizations and citizens. <a href="http://grants.gov/">Grants.gov</a> is a great place to find available grants and apply for them.</p> <h2>Tax Credits</h2> <p>There are two important tax credits parents and students should know about if their adjusted gross income is less than $58,000 a year for single individuals and $119,000 a year for married individuals.</p> <h3>The Hope Credit</h3> <p>This credit can allow individuals to deduct $1,800 from taxes owed, and the credit can be used against student loans that are being paid on. Individuals must have at least $2,400 in college tuition expenses in order to use this credit.</p> <h3>The Lifetime Learning Credit</h3> <p>This credit allows parents to deduct $2,000 for each student attending college and $4,000 for students in midwestern disaster areas. This credit cannot be used if the Hope Credit is being used for the student already.</p> <p>Tax credits are different from deductions in that deductions reduce the amount of taxable income one owes the IRS while tax credits reduce the taxes owed &mdash; dollar for dollar.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s important that parents or students fill out the FAFSA and any financial applications as early as possible. While some deadlines may be in the middle of the year, many types of financial aid are highly competitive and if the applications are not filled out quickly enough, the money can be lost to other students. By understanding the different types of financial aid available to college students, parents and students can determine the best types of aid for their situation.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/staff">Staff</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/financial-aid">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/college/saving-for-college">How to Save Money for College</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/federal-student-loans">Federal 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/college/stafford-loans">Federal Stafford 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/college/perkins-loans">Federal Perkins 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/college/parent-plus-loans">Parent PLUS Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income college education financial aid How-To Guide student loans Tue, 24 Nov 2009 23:32:48 +0000 Staff 6309 at http://www.wisebread.com Book Review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Financial Aid for College (Second Edition) http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-complete-idiot-s-guide-to-financial-aid-for-college-second-edition <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-the-complete-idiot-s-guide-to-financial-aid-for-college-second-edition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/financial aid idiot.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don’t have to be a complete idiot to need a little guidance in matters of finding and securing money for college.<span> </span>But just in case you are, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592577466?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;link_code=as3&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=1592577466">The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Financial Aid for College</a> is the perfect roadmap to the financial aid process.<span> </span>(And it works pretty well for the rest of us, too!) </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What it is.</strong><span> </span>This book is the second (and newest) edition from David Rye, M.B.A. and a great resource for parents, high school students, or anyone wanting to be sure they have all their college money bases covered.<span> </span>Like most “Idiot” books, the layout is simple, the info relevant, and the value adequate.<span> </span>Even if you’ve been around the college block a time or two, there is probably something new you could take away from this read. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>How it reads.</strong><span> </span>Written in language you can understand, the guide starts from scratch with defining college aid and lets you know there is plenty out there – if you qualify.<span> </span>In addition to the basics and not-so-basics of getting college money, there is a super foundation for determining where and how to go to college (as these choices can keep the initial costs down.)<span> </span>Cool little side notes, action plans, and FYI’s make this a candidate for “skimming” for just what you need.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What it covers.</strong><span> </span>There’s more to this book than the FAFSA, and it can sit as a handy shelf-reference long after that first-year application process.<span> </span>Topics include: </p> <ul> <li><strong>What is financial aid?</strong></li> <li><strong>What is the best college for me?</strong></li> <li><strong>How do I use a college savings plan?</strong></li> <li><strong>What’s a grant?<span> </span>What’s a loan?</strong></li> <li><strong>What special minority, ethnic, field-related, and associative funds are available to me?</strong></li> <li><strong>What’s a financial aid package?</strong></li> <li><strong>Can I negotiate a better offer?</strong></li> <li><strong>What are some cost-cutting strategies?</strong> </li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>All the extras.</strong><span> </span>In addition to going into detail on the above questions, there is a up-to-date appendix that provides a glossary for terms, current financial aid resources, and a state-by-state listing of aid.<span> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">You don’t have to be clueless or just starting out to benefit from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592577466?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;link_code=as3&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=1592577466">The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Financial Aid for College</a>.<span>  </span>Some valid and unique discussions had me really thinking ahead to plans for my own children’s college funding.<span>  </span>If you’re not completely up on junior fellowships, cooperative educations, merit-based scholarship myths, 529 plans, or why more expensive may actually be cheaper, this may be a great read for you or a prospective college student.<span>  </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&#160;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-complete-idiot-s-guide-to-financial-aid-for-college-second-edition">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-5"> <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-federal-minimum-wage-increases-this-week-are-you-getting-a-pay-raise">The Federal Minimum Wage Increases This Week - Are You Getting a Pay Raise?</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/css-is-one-source-of-college-financial-aid-you-cant-afford-to-overlook">CSS Is One Source of College Financial Aid You Can&#039;t Afford to Overlook</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/what-should-you-do-when-you-are-asked-to-repay-an-overpayment-of-severance">What should you do when you are asked to repay an overpayment of severance?</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/welcome-to-the-real-world-my-best-advice-for-new-graduates">Welcome to the Real World - My Best Advice for New Graduates</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/book-review-reinventing-collapse">Book review: Reinventing Collapse</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career and Income Consumer Affairs book review college complete idiot's guide financial aid Thu, 08 May 2008 15:11:18 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2074 at http://www.wisebread.com