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College Tuition on the Rise

dollar signIf you have been in college for a few years, I’m sure you have noticed that tuition keeps getting just a little bit more expensive every year. I know I sure have noticed it. It seems like colleges keep finding some reason to increase tuition and fees every year. I thought maybe I was just being unrealistic, but unfortunately, I wasn’t.

A report released by College Board on October 20, 2009 showed that college tuition and fees have indeed been increasing. This year, public universities have raised annual tuition and fees by 6.5 percent. That means that the average student is paying $7,020 per school year! That’s quite a hefty price, but not nearly as bad as what private school students are paying. Although the average annual tuition for private universities only increased by 4.4 percent since last year, these students are still paying $36,273 per year.

Why are college tuition and fees skyrocketing when we are in the middle of a national, economic recession?

Read the rest of this entry »

5 Back to School Tips for Adults

adult studentIf you’re one of the many adult Americans heading back in to the classroom, we want to help arm you with information you need to make that a successful transition.

The Today Show recently featured Kim Clark from U.S. News and World Reports, who explains some of the things adult students need to know.

1. Seek a federally accredited institution. Without this, you’ll likely miss out on financial aid, credits will not transfer (to or from), and employers may not recognize the degree/diploma. Learn more about college accreditation.

2. Consider an online college. There’s a reason more than four million students attend these institutions and why their enrollment is growing at double-digit rates. They offer convenience, flexibility and are often more affordable. They’ve really upped their game making it worth your while. Read the rest of this entry »

Michael Jackson Scholarship Fund at UNCF Reminds of His Generosity

michael jackson scholarship uncfIt’s been a week since the shockwave of Michael Jackson’s passing has rippled through the world. Thankfully for even the smallest fans, Jackson’s legacy lives on through his incredible music. While he’ll always be remembered as one of the most iconic singers and performers of all time, he’ll also be remembered as a generous humanitarian who shared much of his wealth with those who needed it most.

One remarkable contribution was made to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in 1986, a $1.5 million donation that went to establish a scholarship endowment in Jackson’s name. In 1988, Jackson made a subsequent donation, by giving all of the $600,000 proceeds from a Madison Square Garden benefit concert to the fund. Read the rest of this entry »

FAFSA Form to Receive a Much Needed Makeover

2009 fafsaI had to fill out the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, when I was a high school senior. It had 153 questions and took me several hours to complete. Many of my friends did not even bother filling it out just because it was too complex. It was a nightmare!

President Obama must also see the FAFSA as a monstrosity. President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are recreating the form to make it more “user-friendly.” By doing so, they hope to make it easier for more students to apply for and receive financial aid, therefore enabling more students to attend college. Duncan said the goal is to increase college enrollment levels among lower income students. Read the rest of this entry »

Families Paying for FAFSA Assistance, Obama Calls for Change

Most everyone agrees that something is very wrong with the six-page federal form (FAFSA) for families seeking help with college costs.

Created in 1992 to simplify applying for financial aid, it has become so intimidating — with more than 100 questions — that critics say it scares off the very families most in need, preventing some teenagers from going to college.

Then, too, some families have begun paying for professional help with the form, known as the Fafsa, a situation that experts say indicates just how far awry the whole process has gone. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Important Financial Aid Application Action Items

When trying to meet a college’s financial requirements, there are many things to keep in mind. But there are five things that really jump out that seem to be the most important.

1. Get everything turned in on time. And preferably all at once. Check websites for any extra forms (if the schools have their own forms to fill out) and be sure to send everything to the correct address. Sending everything in at once just makes it easier for the college to know what you have and have not turned in.

2. Fill out the forms correctly. Double-check all the forms once you have filled them out. You want to be sure everything is accurate so you can get the correct amount of aid and not miss out on any opportunity to receive financial assistance. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Get A Student Loan

According to a report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, college tuition and fees increased over 1,000 percent from 1982 to 2018, while median family income rose just 218 percent. You don’t have to be a math professor to see how that sort of trend puts amazing pressure on students and their families to find ways to pay for a college education. We want you to know how to get a student loan.

If you haven’t saved enough money to pay for your education, all is not lost. Financial aid has more than doubled in the last decade. And while the recent credit crunch has made it even more difficult on those in need of financial assistance, you still have options. We’ll show you how to tap into public and private sources of aid.

Loans for higher education come in three major categories: student loans, private student loans, and parent loans. Let’s take a look at each option. Read the rest of this entry »

2009 FAFSA Means it’s Financial Aid Season

For many students, or their parents, this is the time to start filing taxes and getting refunds from the government. For many seniors in high school and other college students, tax season also means financial aid season.

On January 1, FAFSA released their form for this year to be completed in order to be considered for governmental aid for college. Much like the CSS Profile, the FAFSA uses information based off of your parents’ and even your taxes. Although unlike the Profile, FAFSA uses last year’s tax information while the Profile used 2007, but this is probably because it was due so much earlier for many schools. Also, on the FAFSA, your family’s EFC is calculated. The EFC is the Expected Family Contribution and, as it says in the name, this amount of money is what your family is expected to pay towards your education. This is based on income, number of people in your household, whether or not your parents’ marital status, and many different aspects that could affect you and your family being able to afford college. Even if you believe your EFC will be high, or you think your parents make too much to award any aid, I highly advise filling out the FAFSA because you never know what could turn up!

As the time creeps closer to taxes being due, keep in mind financial aid is due for your colleges! Your application process isn’t complete until all necessary information is turned into your colleges, including financial information.

Obama Wants to Help College Students; McCain Says Students on Their Own

The two candidates couldn’t differ more on any hot-button issue you toss in front of them. Their positions on supporting American college students is also quite the contrast, as are their individual college experiences. Obama attended Columbia and Harvard, and only recently paid off his student loan debt; McCain attended the U.S. Naval Academy, which was free.

Amongst a crashing economy where college tuition support is harder to come by, and college tuition is skyrocketing faster than inflation, one candidate is in favor of the government lending support to college students, while the other thinks that you should cram in a night job between an 18-hour class schedule- plus labs and study groups. While they agree that college tuition isn’t affordable to most Americans and that the process to attain that aid is convuluted- the similarities part there.

McCain’s message when it comes to increased tuition is, ‘You’re on your own,’” says Michael Dannenberg, senior fellow with the New America Foundation and not a member of Obama’s campaign. “Obama’s message to families is, ‘We’ll give you more financial aid to help you with college costs, but your kids are going to have to help others.'”

Obama’s plan is more detailed than McCains, albeit with a larger price tag. His position is that it’s the government’s job to support college students persuing a degree. He’s not giving it away- in exchange for 100 hours of community service each year, the government will offer students a $4,000 tax break. McCain has put focus on making the financial aid system more efficient, but does not intend to increase its breadth. He wants parents to be more informed and says more money can be available if we eliminate wasteful spending. Read the rest of this entry »

Financial Aid Tip: Check Statistics on Average Percentage of Need Met

The price of private schools can be extremely daunting, and may frighten off potential students.  But before you dismiss a school as unrealistically expensive here’s an important statistic you need to check out: the average percentage of financial aid that the school is able to meet.

financial aidHere’s how his works.  The student and parents will out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines the student’s eligibility for financial aid.  Then the student is admitted to a school.  Based on the amount of financial need the student has, the school may be able to provide need based awards, work study, and other financial aid (which does not include outside aid such as loans and scholarships from other sources).

Private schools often are able to provide students with a large percentage of their estimated need — so when applying to schools, one of the first things you should ask about is the average percentage of financial need that the school is able to provide.  In some cases, the school is able to provide students with most of even all of their projected financial need!

Of course, this makes a difference in the price of college.  If one school costs $40,000 a year but is able to meet 98 percent of students’ need, and another school is only $30,000 a year but only provides an average of 80 percent of financial need, the more expensive school is a much better bargain.


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