Tag: financial aid

It’s that time of year again, when frenzied students can be found scrambling to turn in college applications across the country. But while most students are worried about crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s, many forget that, in addition to being stressful, college applications can be costly.

1 in 4 Students Submits 7 or More College Applications

According to a 2010 survey conducted by College Board, 90% of four-year, not-for-profit colleges have an average application fee around $40. A recent NACAC Admissions Trends survey found that 1 in 4 students now submits 7 or more college applications. Those application fees can certainly put a dent in your wallet!

Enter to Win $250 Toward Your College Application Fees

Sound scary? Don’t worry – StudentAdvisor and Kaplan Test Prep have got you covered. We’ve teamed up to give away $250 to help one lucky student pay their application fees this Fall.

Win $250 to Help Pay Your College Application

Win $250 to Help Pay Your College Application

Want to win $250 toward your college application fees? Enter now before November 17th!

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Free money for college? Absolutely! StudentAdvisor.com, is announcing the first ever $24,000 Scholarships All-Nighter to be awarded on April 26th – 27th as part of College Decision Month 2011. Every college student is eligible for one of twenty-four $1000 Scholarships simply by visiting StudentAdvisor.com and writing a review of their college.

StudentAdvisor.com Scholarship

StudentAdvisor.com Scholarship

“College is incredibly expensive so it is thrilling to be able to offer $24,000 in scholarships to students currently in college as well as alumni,” said Dean Tsouvalas, Editor-in-Chief of StudentAdvisor.com. “It’s a rare opportunity to help change someone’s life for the better and also pay your student bills.”

Tsouvalas continued, “April is a critical month as students decide which school is the right fit because many deposits are due at schools May 1st. By writing an honest review of your college experience you are helping students and their families not only make the right choice but help them find the place where they will thrive.”

IT’S AS EASY AS 1-2-3!
Simply –
1. Visit StudentAdvisor.com
2. Next, write a review of your college
3. Post your review to enter to win one of the Decision Month Scholarships

Quality counts and the most helpful reviews will win!

WRITE A REVIEW OF YOUR COLLEGE – YOU COULD WIN A $1000 SCHOLARSHIP!
The Decision Month Scholarships are open to current college students and alumni and you must be at least 18 years old to enter. Visit StudentAdvisor.com between now and April 26, 2011 to submit your college review.

One $1000 Scholarship will be announced each hour during the $24,000 Scholarships All-Nighter that will be live on the web from the StudentAdvisor.com offices in Boston, MA. The announcements begin at NOON on Tuesday, April 26 and last for 24 hours.

Even parents and faculty are eligible. Entering is easy and you could win one of twenty-four $1,000 scholarships to use as you want for tuition, books, and other expenses – you decide!

Also, if you haven’t visited our just released ranking of the Top 100 Social Media Colleges by all means check out how colleges around the country are leveraging social media for their online communities.  We will be updating the rankings approximately once each month.

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Are more expensive colleges worth it?Nowadays, the total cost of elite Ivy League schools like MIT, Rice, Duke, and Amherst are approximately $50,000 a year, but luckily many students pay less due to their financial aid packages. Public state universities cost less, and may be just as good as the private ones. The question that comes up often with students and families is: will going to a $50,000 school mean that you will make more money over time (and therefore justify the cost?)

Many people assume that students who go to elite colleges will make more money than those who don’t. Payscale.com asked graduates to report their earnings, and it was no surprise that students from schools like Dartmouth, MIT, Harvard, and Stanford reported the highest mid-career median earnings.

A 1998 study by economists Alan Kreuger and Stacey Dale looked at more than 14,000 people who started at elite colleges (as defined by SAT scores) in 1976, and compared their earnings 19 years later to students who applied to elite schools but went somewhere else. Basically their findings showed that it didn’t matter where the students went, as long as they were capable of going to the elite schools. Their research showed that earnings were unrelated to the selectivity of the college that students attended among those who had comparable options.

However, one thing worth noting was that the earning power of students from lower-income families definitely improved by attending elite schools. Caroline Hoxby, a respected educational economist, found that graduates of more selective colleges earned more than those who went to schools that were easier to get into. “If we compared two men with the same measured aptitude, the one who graduates from a more selective college still tends to earn more over his career”, Hoxby said.

The study did not take into account parents’ income, or the student’s choice of profession. If you attend an elite school but don’t go for the right degree program, it is not going to boost your earnings that much. And remember, a student’s character, ability, career choice, and fate are important factors when figuring out which school to attend.

Regardless of where you get it, earning an accredited and quality degree is important and will help you earn more. Answer a few simple questions and get matched to a degree program today!

Source: BNET, http://blogs.bnet.com/career-advice/?p=751

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Usually students in their senior year of high school apply for financial aid, by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). At this time, most students have already decided which colleges they are applying to, and are making final choices about their academic future.

The U.S. Department of Education developed FAFSA4caster as an early estimator tool, because students should be researching and aware of their financial aid eligibility BEFORE their senior year of high school.

FAFSA4caster is not the financial aid application. High school juniors or seniors (in their first months of their senior year) should use this tool, as it provides them with more specific financial aid information. They can enter their information, and FAFSA4caster will estimate their financial aid eligibility. By doing so, they will already have this financial aid estimate when they start to look at potential colleges. It helps relieve some of the stress about whether or not they will be able to afford a particular school or not while they are conducting their college search.

FAFSA4caster also provides general information on financial aid, as well as helpful tips. You can also easily transfer your information from FAFSA4caster to FAFSA on the Web, once you are ready to officially apply for aid. It is meant to be a helpful resource to prepare students for their financial aid application process.

Applying for financial aid doesn’t have to be stressful! Start preparing today!

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State deadlines for the FAFSA  may be different than the federal deadline. State forms do not replace filling out the federal FAFSA form.

If you want federal financial aid, you must fill out the FAFSA! Don’t miss your state’s deadlines, as they will vary state to state, and may require additional forms or letters of recommendation, etc.

fafsa deadlines

KEY:
* Additional form may be required. Contact your financial aid administrator or your state agency.
^ Applicants encouraged to obtain proof of mailing.
# For priority consideration, submit application by date specified.
@ Deadline by midnight, Central Daylight Time.
& Deadline by midnight, Central Standard Time.

Source: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/before003a.htm

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The U.S. Department of Education said it’s received approximately 5,000 FAFSA forms that were wrongfully filled out. Students who were trying to fill out the 2010-2011 FAFSA form mistakenly filled out the 2009-2010 form.

Affected students will be notified by mail with this statement.

The problem with the forms was caused by a technical error that began after an update to the website on February 23, 2010. Apparently some 2010-2011 applicants that were trying to access the FAFSA form with an unsupported Internet browser were misdirected to the 2009-2010 form, after receiving a warning message indicating that their Internet browser was not supported.

This website error has affected less than 5,000 students, which is approximately 0.2 percent of the more than 2.8 million applications received during the relevant period. Any information shared in the FAFSA continues to remain safe and secure.

You will be contacted if you have been affected by this error. If you wish you speak to someone, feel free to call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at #1-800-4-FED-AID.

Source: USA Today

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With our current economy, it is hard to pay for college and frustrating to search for affordable schools. U.S. News provided these factors for low-to-middle income students to consider when researching schools.college search

1. Low sticker price colleges. Community colleges and public universities in your community are usually priced less than private colleges and universities.

2. Meet full needs colleges.  These types of schools promise to provide enough scholarships and grants to all regularly admitted students, to help them avoid debt. These colleges do not carry over this promise to international students or wait-listed students. Each school defines a students need differently. Schools may expect students to borrow a certain amount of money each year, or make a certain amount of money each year from summer or part-time jobs.

3. Need-blind colleges. These types of schools, like public colleges and universities,  accept students based on their academic qualifications and not their need for financial aid. However, most public schools can’t afford to cover all the financial aid that their students need.

4. Colleges with high percentages of low-income students. Colleges who accept a majority of students receiving Pell Grants (usually meaning students coming from families earning below $45K a year) provide extra financial counseling and support.

5. No loan colleges. Some colleges promise no-loan packages, which offer bigger scholarships and earnings opportunities to students from low-and middle-income families. However, many students find they still may need to borrow to meet their expected family contributions which are determined by the FAFSA and schools.  

6. Merit aid colleges. These schools will give out merit scholarships to students who raise the student body’s grade point or test score average, raise the competitiveness of an athletic team, or find a spot in the school band, for example.

7. Military academies. Students interested in the military won’t have to pay for school – but in return they are required to pay for their education by serving their country in the armed forces.

For more information on Financial Aid:

Financial Aid

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Many parents fill out the FAFSA for their children. According to The College Solution blog, here are some common mistakes that parents make when filling it out:common fafsa mistakes

1. Don’t leave answers blank. Leaving blanks on your form can cause miscalculations, and the application could possibly be rejected. If your intended answer is zero, write “0”.

2. Double check your Social Security and driver’s license numbers. Make sure you have written the correct numbers – even one wrong digit can mess up the entire application.

3. Don’t enter the wrong income tax information. Make sure you enter the federal income tax you paid (or will pay) based on the 2009 federal tax return. Do not enter the tax withholdings on your (or your spouse’s) W-2 forms.

4. List your current marital status. You need to state what your marital status is on the day you fill out the FAFSA – whether you are married, separated, or divorced.

5. Don’t include retirement assets. The FAFSA asks about how much money you have in cash, checking, and savings accounts. It does not ask about your 401 (k), IRA, or other retirement accounts you have – so don’t include this information!

6. List colleges your child has applied to. You are able to include up to 10 colleges that your child has applied to – but you will need each college’s Federal School Code. The federal processors will send the relevant FAFSA information to the schools you have listed.

7. Don’t exaggerate your education. If both parents didn’t graduate from college, don’t list “college” as the highest level of education – even if they did attend some college courses over the years. There are many schools that favor applicants who are considered first-generation college-students.

8. Home equity is irrelevant. The FAFSA doesn’t ask if you own a house (or second home, or real estate investments…), so the value of your house does not matter.

9. Retirement accounts are irrelevant. The FAFSA doesn’t ask about your retirement accounts – so your chances for financial aid help aren’t affected by how much money you have saved up in these accounts.

For more helpful information regarding the FAFSA visit:

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Here are some of today’s financial aid news stories:financial aid in the news

Students in race for state’s college financial aid funds

The Chicago Sun Times reports that financial aid applications are being filled out quickly, since students are afraid of  being shut out from state aid. More than 180,000 Illinois students filled out financial aid forms in January and February, which is 21 percent more than those two months last year. Last year, Illinois ended up denying financial aid applications that were submitted after May 15, which was the earliest cutoff date in history. Because of this, more than120,000 eligible students didn’t get a dime of financial aid for the fall semester.

College acts to disregard fiscal needs in admissions

The New York Times reports that Hamilton College (a small liberal arts college in Clinton, NY) is adopting a need-blind admissions policy. This means that they will consider applicants regardless of their ability to pay. Previously, some students were admitted to Hamilton College partly because they required no financial aid, and others were rejected from the college because they did. Over the next four years, Hamilton expects to add about $2 million to its annual financial aid budget. Full tuition, room and board, and other fees to attend Hamilton total nearly $50,000 per year, where the average financial aid award is about $32,500.

Don’t put off applying for college financial aid

Buffalo News reports that financial aid will be in high demand again this year, so students need to fill out their financial aid applications quickly. Financial aid applications for the The University of Maryland-College Park are up 12 percent from last year, although federal funding for work-study and certain education grants has been cut down.

Don’t wait till the last minute to fill out your FAFSA! Fore more financial aid information, check out:

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Do you need help filling out the FAFSA, or have questions regarding the financial aid application process? Here are 4 financial aid resources which should help make filling out the FAFSA easier for you!help with fafsa

FAFSA on the Web

  • The U.S. Department of Education’s FAFSA on the Web site has live online representatives who are available to help when you’re filling out the FAFSA, by hitting the “Live Help” button. Also, you have the option of speaking to a customer service representative by calling the FAFSA phone number: (800)-433-3243.

FAFSA on the Web Worksheet

  • By downloading the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet, you will be able to gather all the required financial and tax documents ahead of time. It allows you to take a practice run at filling out the FAFSA, before you sign online to officially fill it out and apply. Also, by filling out the practice worksheet beforehand, you’ll have less of a chance of making errors on the real FAFSA.

College Goal Sunday

  • College Goal Sunday is a non-profit program (sponsored in part by the YMCA) that offers personal FAFSA counseling at certain events throughout the country. Representatives are available at these functions to speak with you in person about your FAFSA or financial aid questions. Check out College Goal Sunday’s website to find a financial aid event near you.

TuitionCoach

  • This financial aid website offers free financial aid webinars, and has step-by-step instructions on how to complete the FAFSA, as well as a Q&A session.

Source:  CBS MoneyWatch.com

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