Posts Tagged ‘Financial Aid’
Attention high school students: your guidance counselor can be a great resource in your college application process. As a large part of a guidance counselor’s job is helping seniors get into college, they can usually give you answers to every question you might have, or have the connections to find the information you need to know. When you do meet with your counselor, it is important to be prepared with questions to help the appointment run smoothly and ensure you cover all the bases to make yourself an ideal applicant.
1. What core classes do I need to take?
College admissions offices like to see a certain number of years of core classes on your high school transcript. When starting your college search, it will be very helpful to know what the admissions team may be looking for. Some colleges only consider applicants who have studied a foreign language, have four years of English classes, or have an array of AP classes on their transcript, among other requirements. Knowing what you need will influence what classes you register for in your senior year and help you pick your reach, target and safety schools.
2. Where can I look for financial aid?
Your guidance counselor will have very valuable information on the different financial aid options including FAFSA grants and other scholarships you may qualify for. Cappex is also a great resource for researching college scholarships.
3. What information do you need for my recommendation?
Many universities require one or two recommendations from teachers or guidance counselors, and if you go to a big high school, you may not know your guidance counselor on a more personal level. To make sure you get the best recommendations possible, ask your guidance counselor what would be helpful to know about you that they can’t find on your transcript, including clubs, sports teams or other organizations you may be affiliated with, community service projects you’ve completed, awards you’ve won, or your future education goals.
4. How does our school compare to others with test scores and reputation?
Depending on where your high school ranks with test scores, AP classes offered and other indicators, you may have a better or average chance of getting accepted to a certain college. Knowing more about your school’s reputation will help you get a more accurate feel of how this affects your admissions chances.
5. Are there any college fairs nearby?
Your guidance counselor will have important information on local college fairs and which ones you should attend to meet with representatives from your prospective colleges. Some high schools also host their own college fairs and invite university representatives to come from colleges that have historically been popular with your school’s students.
Up-to-date college news from this week:
College Student Pleads Guilty to POTUS Threats
A 20-year-old student at Miami-Dade College pleaded guilty this week to posting threating messages about President Obama to Facebook. Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr. might end up getting 5 years in prison for the threats. According to the AP:
“In the first post on Feb. 21, Serrapio said: “Who wants to help me assassinate Obummer while hes at UM this week?”
Then on Feb. 23, the day of Obama’s visit, the Secret Service said Serappio posted a second threat.
“If anyones going to UM to see Obama today, get ur phones out and record. Cause at any moment im gonna put a bullet through his head and u don’t wanna miss that! Youtube!” the message said.
Someone who saw the posts contacted the Coral Gables Police Department and the Secret Service dispatched two agents to Serrapio’s home, where Serrapio and his mother agreed to allow a search. There they found an iPad with one of the Facebook postings on it and a cell phone with a text message from one of Serrapio’s friends who had seen the messages.
“LOL you can get in trouble for sayin’ that,” the text said.
Serrapio replied that he was “challenging” the Secret Service and also issued threats against any agents who came looking for him.
“I wanna kill at least two of them when they get here,” Serrapio said in that text.
Investigators said the only weapons Serrapio possessed were two pellet guns. He was originally charged with threatening the agents as well, but prosecutor Seth Schlessinger said that charge will be dropped.
Serrapio said during the hearing he had just completed his second year of college. He declined through Ross to comment outside court.
Senator Franken Introduces Standard College-Aid Letters Bill
Senator (and former SNL star) Al Franken (D-MN) and eight co-sponsors are introducing a bill to simplify the financial aid process. Under this bill, Colleges would have to send all students their financial aid information in a standard letter so that families would be able to evaluate their options in a simple and understandable way. According to Bloomberg:
“Colleges send letters to students they’ve accepted outlining costs, scholarships as well as loan information. The letters are often confusing and fail to differentiate clearly between awards and the money a student might need to borrow to cover tuition and other expenses. There is no federal requirement to disclose interest rates or total loan payments as there are for other types of loans such as mortgages.
The bill would establish information that must be included such as the cost of attendance, the net amount a student is responsible for paying after subtracting grant aid, expected federal loan monthly repayment amounts and disclosures related to private loans, according to the statement.”
Any news going on your college campus? Share in the comment field below!
As a high school junior or senior, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about “financial aid” and “student loans.” Your counselor is on your back about filling out a FAFSA, your parents are asking about interest rates, and all the fancy paperwork with charts and numbers about loans and grants and whatnot makes no sense to you.
It’s no surprise that you aren’t familiar with a lot of the terms being thrown around. As a high school student, you probably don’t have any loans yet. You likely don’t have a credit card yet. You may not even have a checking account or bills to pay. To save you from having to smile and nod through conversations about paying for college, here is a cheat sheet of the most common financial aid terms you need to know.
Financial Aid: Money the government lets you borrow for college if it’s determined your family is unable to afford it on their own. Need is based on your family’s income.
Interest Rate: The cost of borrowing money, expressed as a percentage of the total amount owed. This amount is paid back, on top of your total loan amount. The more money you borrow, and the longer you take to pay it off, the most interest you’ll be paying.
Loan: Money you borrow and will pay back with interest.
Stafford Loan: The most common form of student loan.
Subsidized Loan: A loan the government pays interest on while you’re in school. You’ll be responsible for the rest of the interest once you’ve left school.
Unsubsidized Loan: A loan you’ll pay the accumulated interest on once you’ve left school. You’re responsible for all of the interest.
FAFSA: An acronym that stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Think of it as a long job application you and your parents will fill out together, only instead of applying for a job, you’re applying to borrow money from the government to pay for school.
Academic Year: The school year, usually two semesters (Fall and Spring) or three trimesters.
Borrower: This is you. If you’re borrowing the money, you’re the borrower.
Master Promissory Note: A contract that states you’ll pay back the money you borrow.
Award Letter/Award Package: Documents your college will use to outline how much money you’ll receive for that school in loans and scholarships.
Grace Period: A six month period between when you leave college and when your first student loan bill is due. It’s a time to get your living situation and a job in order before you have to start paying money back.
Work Study Program: A program that helps students earn financial funding through a part-time work program at their college.
Default: Defaulting is officially defined as 270 days without making loan payments when you haven’t qualified for deferment.
Deferment: Pausing your student loans for a six month period when you’re incapable of making payments.
Last Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched the next phase of its Know Before You Owe student loan project with the beta version of the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper, an interactive, online tool designed to help families plan for the costs of college.
With student loan debt crossing the $1 trillion barrier, the folks at the CFPB believe that students and families need to fully understand all the moving parts of borrowing money to pay for college before they wind up thousands of dollars in debt and without a plan for their financial future. The new online comparison tool helps students compare college costs so that they can find the one that works the best for their fiscal future.
The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper has been released to the world at the height of the college decision making process. As students sift through their acceptance letters, for a majority of them, it comes down to how they will actually pay for school; however, unfortunately, financial aid information is often filled with hard-to-understand industry terms and unique guidelines to the institution sending it. How can a family make an educated decision on college costs if it’s too complicated to understand the source material?
CFPB’s Know Before You Owe student loan project began in October by collaborating with the Department of Education on a draft Financial Aid Shopping Sheet that higher education institutions could use to present families with a uniform, easy-to-understand explanation of the total cost of post-secondary education and their options for financing it. The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper builds on that by helping students to compare the information across schools.
The beta version of the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper has more than 7,500 schools and institutions in its database, including vocational schools and community, state, and private colleges. It draws information from publicly available data provided by government statistical agencies. With the new tool, students and their families can compare the following across multiple financial aid offers:
- Estimated monthly student loan payment after graduation;
- Grant and scholarship offers;
- School-specific metrics such as graduation, retention, and federal student loan default rates; and
- Estimated debt level at graduation in relationship to the average starting salary
The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper also includes a “Military Benefit Calculator” that can estimate education benefits for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. The calculator includes military tuition assistance and Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
And, of course, ease the cost of college with scholarships. Find your matches today at Cappex.com
The Stafford Loan is the most popular student loan, and possibly the first loan you’ll have. For that reason, you might want to become acquainted with the seemingly invisible green that allows for most Americans to receive higher education.
Do I want a Stafford Loan?
Unless you privately have the funds to pay for college, you want a Stafford Loan. Stafford Loans are government loans with low interest rates. You don’t have to make payments on them until six months after you’ve left college and the payment plans are flexible.
Do I want subsidized or unsubsidized loans?
You want to take subsidized loans first because the government pays the interest on those while you’re in school. You are required to pay all interest on unsubsidized loans.
How do I apply for a Stafford Loan?
By filling out a FAFSA online at www.studentaid.ed.gov., your college will create an “award package” that may include Stafford Loans as well as other loans and scholarships you may be eligible for. You do not have to take all that is awarded to you in your award package; however, you will be responsible for what you do take.
How much money will I get?
There are a variety of factors that determine how much money you will be eligible for, including whether you are a dependent or independent student, your parents’ or your income, the school you’ve applied to, the date you’ve submitted your FAFSA, the amount of student loans you’ve taken out previously, and many more. Your college will determine the amount you’ll receive. While there is a maximum amount of money you can borrow from student loans, certain health professionals such as those pursuing a medical degree, can borrow more.
What do I have to sign?
Before you take out a Stafford Loan, you will be required to sign an MPN- Master Promissory Note. This is essentially a contract that outlines your loan and the amount you’ll be required to pay back with interest. By signing this document, you’re agreeing to pay your student loans, even if you drop out of college, can’t find a job in your field, or were unsatisfied with the education you received.
How do I use the loan?
Your school will use the loan money to pay for your tuition, your dorm room, and your meal plan. You may also ask the school to use it to pay for your textbooks. After several weeks, usually the second or third week of classes, you will be refunded with any amount leftover to use for school supplies and other school-related costs.
When do I pay up?
You will be given a grace period (six months after leaving college) before you’re required to make any payments on a Stafford Loan. You won’t be surprised by this bill, as you will receive in the mail several notices counting down when your first payment will be due. If you’re unable to make payments, you may have the option to defer the loan temporarily (which will accumulate interest) or adjust your payment plan.
For more ideas on how to pay for college, make your profile at www.cappex.com today!
Student loan debt has been in the news lately. According to the Consumer Finance Protection Burea’s student loan ombudsman Rohit Chopra, the student loan debt market is “too big to fail.” It was disclosed recently that student loans now top over $1 trillion.
According to Chopra, “Students borrowed $117 billion in federal student loans just last year. And students continue to borrow private student loans, which lack the income-based repayment and deferment options of federal student loans. If current trends continue, there will be consequences not just for young people, but for all of us.”
Another student loan issue in the news right now is the federal Stafford Loans. These subsidized student loans are set to expire this summer. If they are not renewed by congress, interest rates on those student loans will double to 6.8 percent.
Lots of schools are responding to this issue and the tough worldwide economy in different ways. Schools like Burlington College in Vermont and Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts are freezing their tuitions. Burlington College has stated they will not raise tuition for four year and Mount Holyoke is enacting their first tuition freeze since the 1960s.
Some schools are thinking about out-of-the-box methods to entice students to attend. Ashland University in Ohio will begin to offer bachelor degrees next year that will only take 3 years to complete. Also in Ohio, Baldwin-Wallace College is starting a “Four-Year Graduation Guarantee” program. If a student who maintains a 2.0 GPA at Baldwin does not graduate in 4 years, the college will pick up the tab for the remaining tuition costs.
Schools are also finding ways to create programs that offer a combination of Bachelor and Masters degrees in only 4 years. Simmons College in Boston and Wilson College in Pennsylvania are a couple schools that are going in this direction.
Some schools are lowering credit hours required to graduate. Lipscomb University in Texas is lowering their graduation requirement from 132 credits to 126. This is the equivalent of 2 classes on average.
The student loan landscape is constantly evolving. Make sure to utilize Cappex to stay up to date on all things college.
Financial Aid Definitions:
According to the dictionary: Money to support a worthy person or cause.
According to a high school council: Government loans you’ll be expected to pay back with interest upon graduation.
According to a recent college graduate: The reason I can’t sleep.
According to a high school senior: The topic of that boring presentation I was texting the entire way through…
Perspectives on financial aid are about as plentiful as college majors. They can range from knowing nothing on the subject at all, to consuming your brain like that continual nightmare where you show up to class stark naked.
The topic may seem intimidating, coming from serious-looking people in suits, armed with paperwork and a no-nonsense powerpoint. Or, it may seem daunting coming from your high school social studies teacher who announced to the class that he’s just finished paying off his loans. (OMG…what is he, 30?) Even the term “financial aid” sounds heavy with importance. But, if you arm yourself with a full understanding of what financial aid is and how it works, you’ll find it less scary, and you won’t be surprised six months after graduation when you receive your first bill. Here’s a quick overview to set you on the path of becoming a Master of Financial Aid.
What is Financial Aid, Really? The term financial aid in the college setting typically refers to government programs such as federal loans, grants, and work-study positions, but it can also refer to private loans and scholarships. Eligibility for financial aid often depends on financial need. This money can be used for tuition and other school related expenses such as textbooks.
Stafford Loans: Stafford loans are the most common type of federal loan. They have lower interest rates than private loans, and don’t require payments to be made until students drop below half-time, or have been out of school for six months. Stafford loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized.
Subsidized: The government pays the interest while you’re in school, and for the six month grace period after you’ve left school or graduated.
Unsubsidized: You’re responsible for the interest you’ve accumulated during school and your grace period.
How to Apply: The first step in the financial aid process is applying by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. This assessment will determine your need for government assistance. It is advised that this form be completed upon its availability for the upcoming academic semesters, as government funds are issued on a first come, first serve, basis.
Next Steps: If you qualify for financial aid, it is up to you to determine if you want to borrow all that is offered. Remember, everything you borrow must be paid back, and then some. While “after I graduate” might seem like lightyears away from now, the time will come quicker than you think. Keep track of how much you’re borrowing.
If you don’t qualify for financial aid, but still need assistance, don’t be discouraged. You can still look into private loans and scholarships!
US News reported this list of colleges and universities that claim (that’s the operative word here) to meet 100% of their students’ financial need. That doesn’t mean that these schools will bestow upon you the grants you need to pay 100% of your tuition simply because you enroll. They claim to meet 100% of what you need. Your financial need is the difference between what tuition is and what your expected family contribution (EFC) is. In order for schools to know what your need is, they need you to complete the FAFSA.
Still, even with the FAFSA, different schools have their own definition of “need”. That’s what might make this list a bit confusing. For example, one school’s calculation of your EFC can produce an EFC higher than the one calculated using the FAFSA. Schools use grants and subsidized loans to help fill the void between your expected family contribution and the cost of attending. So, don’t allow yourself to be caught off guard if a school winds up offering a smaller amount of financial aid than you expected.
Don’t get us wrong, this list is a good start. But students may find that other schools could end up leaving them with smaller tuition bills. And as always, try not to assume anything.
Bryn Mawr College
California Institute of Technology
Claremont McKenna College
Franklin W. Olin College Engineering
Harvey Mudd College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mount Holyoke College
St. Olaf College
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Thomas Aquinas College
University of Chicago
University of Dayton
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
University of Northern Colorado
University of Pennsylvania
University of Richmond
University of Virginia
Washington University in St. Louis
Have you completed the FAFSA yet? If not, hurry!
Instead of stressing out over how you’re going to pay for college, put your energy in these scholarship applications. And when you’re finished with that, you can go back to stressing out.
We give you six private scholarships below, but remember that there’s also federal aid you can get your hands on. To be eligible for federal aid you have to complete the Free Application for Student Aid, aka, the FAFSA. It just became available this week, as it does every year January 1. It’s pretty complicated, so sit down with your parents to go over it. We can’t stress enough how important is.
And then, when you’re done with that, you can apply to these scholarships:
1. Ronald McDonald House Scholarship
Deadline – Jan 27
Amount – $1,000 – $5,000
Quick fact – One thousand students will be awarded scholarships from this program.
2. Olive Garden Pasta Tales Scholarship
Deadline – Jan 29
Amount – $500 – $2,500
Quick fact – This scholarship is open to students from first grade to twelfth grade!
3. Davidson Fellows Scholarship
Deadline – Feb 1
Amount – $10,000 – $50,000
Quick fact – This scholarship is for high school students who have completed a significant piece of work that falls into one of the following categories: math, science, literature, music, technology, philosophy, or outside the box. Fifteen awards will be granted.
4. National Peace Essay Contest
Deadline – Feb 1
Amount – $1,000 – $10,000
Quick fact – Open to all high school students, 56 students will be awarded scholarships.
5. Courageous Persuaders Scholarship
Deadline – Feb 9
Amount – $250 – $3,000
Quick fact – To apply for this scholarship, applicants must create a TV commercial targeted to middle school students to warn them about the dangers of underage drinking.
6. Keep the Drive High School Journalism Scholarship
Deadline – Mar 1
Amount – $720 – $2,000
Quick fact – Similar to Courageous Persuaders, to apply for this scholarship, applicants must create and submit a print or broadcast/video entry that promotes safe driving habits among teens.
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