Financial Aid Roundup: Student Loan Repayment, College Savings and Scholarship Screwups

With the fall semester right around the corner (yikes!), many students and their families have got college financing on the brain. In this week’s financial aid news roundup, there’s something for everyone.

Wall Street Journal: Weighing Price and Value When Picking a College

As families continue to be more price-conscious and value-conscious, a rising trend in awareness is happening as parents & students evaluate the true value of a degree. This article discusses the struggles today’s students have with their financial future when determining where to go to college.

Frugal Dad: Best 529 College Savings Plans

Frugal Dad outlines his game plan for his children’s 529 college savings. He points out,

“Like most people, we went with our in-state option since it was a decent plan according to most rankings, and we could benefit from a state tax deduction on contributions. However, after reviewing performance of the limited fund options I’m not so sure it is the best place to park the kids’ college savings funds, tax deduction or not.”

Based on his research, he’s impressed by Utah and Virginia’s 529 plans, but stresses the need to do the math to ensure you’re planning the best course of action for yourself and your college student.

Give Me Scholarships! 10 Scholarship Screwups

Josh Barsch is a real scholarship judge, and offers some tough love for students writing scholarship essays. Among them, we wanted to point out the #1 scholarship mistake students make:

“Unless the scholarship you’re applying for is sponsored by an explicitly political or religious organization, you have almost no chance of winning if you write an essay ‘taking a side’ on controversial issues like abortion, affirmative action, the Iraq war or any other polarizing issues.”

It’s crucial to remember that these judges, while encouraged to be impartial, have personal and political beliefs of their own, and you’re taking a gamble by potentially offending them and sacrificing your chance of winning.

Forbes: Student Loan Repayment Options Explained

Dave Randall puts together a crash course in repaying your student loans. He outlines 5 different options, and while all of these options have their pros and cons, defaulting on your loans is never good.

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