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Archive for the ‘financial aid’ Category

New Benefit of Stimulus Package: Free College for Needy Students

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Low income students who play their cards right may end up with a free college education.

The new stimulus package signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday includes a provision that boosts the Pell Grant maximum to limits that cover, or nearly cover, the tuition and fees charged by a number of public colleges.

Based upon figures provided by the College Board, the average tuition and fees at a 4-year public college for 2008-09 were $6,585 per year, with most schools falling between $3,000 and $6,000 a year.

The Pell Grant, which provides federal funding to students from families making less than $30,000 a year, has been raised to a maximum of $5,350 per year with the passing of this stimulus bill.

Needy students who attend junior colleges, inexpensive public colleges or low-cost online schools may graduate with little or no tuition debt.

Of course, the Pell Grant is just one part of a financial aid package. Most eligible students will also receive federal student loans and work study to allay the cost of books, transportation and housing. Online students may save gas and housing costs by living at home while they pursue their online degrees. Or they may be able to work a full-time job and study when it is convenient.

Low-income students who are interested in applying for a Pell Grant should file an online FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and fill out the information accurately and completely. Based upon the information provided, eligibility for the Pell Grant and other financial aid will be determined.

And some students will save enough money on their college education to savor a free ride — compliments of Uncle Sam.

online school, college, FAFSA, financial aid, free college, free ride, low income, needy, online degrees, online students, Pell Grant, stimulus, tuition, college for free

Popularity: 9% [?]

Posted by vida

Six Ways to Fill the Financial Gaps of Heading Back to College

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

As adult learners contemplate the positives and negatives of whether to pursue a college degree, the potential for higher earnings often tips the scales in favor of returning to school.

But the final decision about college often hinges on one important issue: cost.

As tuition rates rise along with the price of gas, food, utilities and housing, these potential students are forced to consider their budget when choosing an online school, traditional college or on-campus university.

Among the financial issues are a few additional items to consider when making this decision:

  1. Even with rising tuition at most schools, there are still incredible higher education bargains out there. Check local junior colleges, which generally charge a much lower tuition than private colleges, but only to state residents. Also, look into low-tuition online schools, like Western Governors University. Both options offer excellence without putting you in the poorhouse.
  2. Instead of throwing out a college or university because the tuition rate is too high, first check with its financial aid office to discover whether you qualify for special scholarships, grants or tuition discounts. Many accredited online schools and traditional degree programs offer additional financial consideration to veterans and their wives, teachers in rural areas, disabled students, racial minorities, economically disadvantaged students, nursing students and other select groups. You may be surprised to find a tuition break that pays a significant part of tuition at the school of your choice. 
  3. Consider distance learning as a strategy for working and taking classes at the same time. By choosing an online degree program, you may be able to get a head start on job experience and earn money to pay tuition bills. 
  4. Ask your employer whether a tuition assistance program exists for employees. If available, this little-known benefit may take care of all or a portion of your tuition and book costs. And even if there is no such formal benefit, employers often assist hard-working, loyal employees in upgrading their skills and qualifications.
  5. Consider e-learning as an option to save gas and erase transportation costs from the education financial picture. Thousands of online degree programs are available from online schools, traditional schools and junior colleges.
  6. Stay away from diploma mills; they are a waste of money. In an increasing number of states, fake degrees are illegal when they are used to secure employment, gain a pay raise or garner a promotion. Blatant degree mills simply want you to pay a fee, choose your grade point average and select the type of degree you want them to send you. Rather than risking jail time or exposure down the road, choose a reputable education clearinghouse – like Directory of Schools. They have already researched the colleges and universities for you. You may also check with the U.S. Department of Education website to find out whether a specific school is accredited by a reputable accrediting body.

With a little exploration, it is possible to return to school and earn a college diploma while maintaining financial stability. So do not assume that a specific degree program is out of reach until all financial avenues have been exhausted.

And don’t be discouraged. There is a college out there that fits both your interests and your budget.

online schools, e-learning, distance learning, online degree programs, adult learners, colleges and universities, save gas, higher education, diploma mills, fake degrees, Directory of Schools 

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Foreclosures, Bankruptcies Shut Parents Out of Student Loans

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

According to Bloomberg News, parents who have a bankruptcy or foreclosure on their credit history may find closed doors when they apply for certain types of financial aid for their child. 

Since these adverse credit items usually remain on a credit report for 7 or more years, children who are now 11 years of age and older may face difficulty obtaining federal and private student loans when they are ready to attend a college or university. Financial aid decisions for new freshmen are routinely based upon the parents’ income and credit worthiness.

The current banking crisis, coupled with new laws that limit the compensation received by student loan lenders, has created a tighter situation for those without stellar credit. Although the federal government is scrambling to fix the situation, some college students will find a less-than-friendly borrowing climate when they apply for the smaller pool of available student loan monies.

Both Stafford and PLUS loans are affected; since a third of student loan banking institutions fled the scene when recent legislation placed tighter restrictions on profitable, but questionable, lending practices. Excessive government subsidies to lenders were cut by approximately $20 billion. Some banks that once made out like bandits at the expense of college students were unwilling to continue their services when profits fell.

A new program provided by the federal government, called Direct Loan Servicing, may make it easier for students and their parents to apply for college loans without going through banks.  The borrowing is done directly through the federal government and has four repayment options; but the loan must be offered through the student’s college as part of a financial aid package.  Repayment can be easily managed on the Direct Loan Servicing page that is part of the US Department of Education’s website.

However, parents should remember that the repercussions of today’s financial decisions may impact them and their children tomorrow. It is important to plan ahead and strengthen, not weaken, one’s credit history by:

  • paying all bills on time,
  • avoiding bankruptcies and foreclosures,
  • checking personal credit reports regularly for discrepancies,
  • paying down credit cards to below 30% of the card limit,
  • taking additional measures to improve credit scores.

Also, parents and students should begin saving for college and consider a Plan B if financial aid for college falls short of the required amount. Attending junior college for two years may become a necessity, rather than an option.

With careful planning, parents and students can avoid the disappointment of being denied the necessary funds to achieve their college goals.

financial aid, student loans, student loans, colleges and universities, credit score, credit report, foreclosures, bankruptcies, credit history, parents, college students 

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Congress Rushes Legislation to Aid Troubled Federal Student Loans

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

As the U.S. economy continues to spiral downward with a rash of foreclosures, bankruptcies, failing businesses and lost jobs, an unlikely casualty has surfaced — the federally guaranteed student loan program. 

In order to stave off a crisis for millions of students who depend on the loans to attend colleges and universities, Congress proposed legislation that would allow the U. S. Department of Education to purchase student loans that lenders are unable to sell to investors. The measure was approved by the House of Representatives; and similar legislation will be considered in the Senate.

The same subprime mortgage crisis that shifted economic troubles into high gear also encouraged lenders to make a hasty exit from the business of providing federally guaranteed student loans. Of course, the elimination of hefty subsidies was the real kicker for the 50 or more banking agencies that bolted, leaving a void of loan options for parents and college-bound students.

Even Sallie Mae, a heavy hitter in student loan circles, stopped its consolidation of student loans and has all but ended its reign in this arena. Sallie Mae backed off when incentives for student loan lending were cut drastically in recently-passed education legislation, transforming student loans from a cash cow into a ball-and-chain of losses.

However, once this new legislation makes its way successfully up the approval chain, it is expected to quell any concerns about a shortage of students loan funds. And hopefully, traditional and accredited online schools will be able to continue to offer necessary financial aid to all who are eligible.

Read More . . .

financial aid, student_loans, accredited online schools, colleges and universities, college students, lenders, Sallie Mae, education, subprime mortgage crisis

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Strayer University Offers Scholarship Supplements for Military

Monday, November 5th, 2007

It is rare to register for classes at a private university and find that the total due on the tuition bill is zero.

But that is what is happening to a group of students at Strayer University.

Strayer University offers generous financial aid benefits to military personnel through its Military Scholarship Supplements program, its partnership with GoArmyEd and its membership in the Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC). Eligible students may be able to attend college with no out-of-pocket tuition expenses.

Scholarships are offered by Strayer to aid active-duty and other military personnel.  Those who are eligible will be offered enough scholarship money to cover what is not paid by military assistance programs or other resources.  Undergraduate tuition may be paid up to 100%.

Strayer is both an accredited online school and a traditional college with 53 campus locations. It has been around since 1892.

online school, accredited online school, university, college tuition, financial aid, military personnel, GoArmyEd, Servicemembers Opportunity College, active-duty_military, traditional college

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Barack Obama Champions Federal Funding for College Students

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, H.R. 2669, has passed the Senate and is headed for President Bush’s desk.

It will increase financial aid to college students and decrease monetary incentives to the banks that handle student loans.

Included in this multifaceted education bill is a little-known boost for black colleges, compliments of presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, and Representative Danny Davis, both  from Illinois. More than 250, 000 students are expected to benefit from this portion of the legislation.

Senator Obama is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and has introduced previous legislation to increase Pell Grants to all needy students.

The Predominantly Black Institutions Act will, if approved by the President, provide $15 million to approximately 75 colleges and technical schools that primarily serve African American students.

College Cost Reduction Act, Barack Obama, African American, black colleges, black institutions, education, college, students, technical schools

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Another Senate Bill: More Good News for College Students

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Within a week, the Senate has passed a second piece of legislation aimed at making life easier for students. This new bill targets low and middle-income students who wish to apply for federal financial aid. It passed unanimously, according to the Washington Post, and contains the following provisions:

  • The current FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Financial Aid, would be simplified from its current lengthy, redundant and confusing form.
  • It would become illegal for banking institutions to provide gifts or expense-paid trips to colleges and financial aid officials in order to secure a spot on the preferred lender list.
  • The government would be required to publish a list detailing the colleges whose costs are increasing at a rate higher than those of comparable schools.

Both the Senate and House still have some compromise work to do on the first and second bills. But if they are passed into law, students - including those who attend accredited online schools - will receive more financial aid, they will be able to trust that colleges are not being paid to push specific student loan lenders, the FAFSA will take less time to fill out, and valuable information will become available concerning college costs.

Things are looking up for students. So Congress, keep that ball rolling!

financial aid, online schools, education, Senate, Congress, FAFSA, legislation, students, student aid, student loan, student loan lender, new student aid bill, college

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Financial Aid Bill Passes Senate

Friday, July 20th, 2007

The Senate has just passed a bill to provide the largest increase in financial aid to college students since the G.I. bill of 1944. The House recently passed the Cost Reduction Act of 2007; and a compromise of the two bills will be formulated for passage into law.

President Bush has threatened to veto the bill in its current form, emphasizing that the majority of aid in its proposal benefits students who are out of school, rather than targeting low and middle-income students who need additional financial aid to complete their college education.

Highlights of the current bill are as follows:

  • an increase in aid to Pell Grant recipients
  • student loan repayment to be capped at a percentage of the student’s income
  • loan forgiveness for public service professionals after making 10 years of payments
  • a repayment of $700 million toward the federal deficit

Rather than raising taxes, the provisions of the bill would be funded by cutting approximately $18 billion in government subsidies from banks that issue federally-backed student loans. The Senate bill does not include a lowering of student loan interest rates for low and middle-income students.

Senator Edward Kennedy indicated that the fine-tuning of the bill between the Senate and House is expected to be seamless. It is possible that the bill will become law by the beginning of the fall semester 2007 if it meets with White House approval.

financial aid, Senate, House, college, Pell Grant, student loan, student loan repayment, White House, President Bush, Edward Kennedy, fall semester, federal deficit, student loan, G.I. Bill of 1944, public service professionals

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Student Loan Shake-Up Leads to New Senate Bill

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

The shake up is still not over for student loan providers, according to a news report today by CNN.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has discovered that many banking institutions charge significantly higher student loan interest rates to those attending lower-ranked colleges and universities. While students at elite colleges may pay 8% or 9% interest on their loans, less fortunate students at other schools may pay up to 14%.

Does this scenario sound familiar? It should. Banks pulled similar shenanigans in a now-illegal practice known as ‘redlining’, involving home mortgage loans. In this discriminatory practice, lenders utilized maps that outlined and rated neighborhoods based upon racial and economic factors. As a result, minorities – especially African Americans — were often either denied mortgage loans or were charged significantly higher mortgage interest rates.

Now, traditional and online degree students are being judged based upon the college or university they attend, rather than by individual credit ratings. Wealthier students appear to pay less for their loans than the middle income students who populate the mid-range to lower-ranked schools.

However, the efforts of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo have been fruitful, as his investigations have uncovered enough evidence to spur Congress to consider passing a new bill to outlaw this practice, which should encourage a fair system of determining interest rates in the $85 billion student loan industry. The House has already passed the bill; and it is expected to pass the Senate.

In the meantime, students should be careful to shop around and choose a student loan that does not unfairly cost them extra interest payments.

The new congressional bill is appropriately called the Student Loan Sunshine Act. And I say, “Let the sunshine in”.

student loan, financial aid, banks, African Americans, online education, distance learning, education, college, university, Senate, House of Representative, New York, Andrew Cuomo, discrimination, redlining, Senate, mortgage loan, interest rate

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Financial Aid is not Rocket Science

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Before you write off going to college because you cannot afford it, consider applying for financial aid.

You may be eligible for free money to go to school; but how will you know until you fill out a financial aid application? The process is pretty simple.

As you think about earning a traditional or online degree, professional certificate or vocational school diploma,you may be surprised to find that not one dime of the tuition payments will come out of your pocket, depending on your financial profile. So move forward and think of the possibilities ahead.

For federal grants, loans, and work study, there is one form to fill out — the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). It is the financial aid application that most colleges require you to file; and it can be filled out online in as little as 45 minutes, but more likely 1-2 hours. It is generally pretty easy, not rocket science.

These are a few things you should know about financial aid:

  • The FAFSA involves answering fill-in-the-blank questions and taking information directly from your federal income tax form. Most questions involve little thought, just a transfer of information.
  • Colleges and universities usually offer help in filling out financial aid forms. Accredited, for-profit online schools often provide extensive support to students; and it may be easier to access a qualified, live person on the telephone instead of phone prompts and recordings.
  • Even if you are not eligible for a grant, you may be offered a subsidized student loan, which pays the interest on the loan while you are in school. And most federal loans do not have to be repaid until several months after you have completed school, as long as you remain enrolled in the required number of units each quarter or semester.
  • Directory of Schools offers valuable financial aid information on its website, along with links to additional resources. This is a great start for those who need easy-to-digest financial aid information.
  • Millions of dollars in private scholarship money remain untouched each year; because eligible students do not apply for the funds. These applications may require essays or additional information; and deadlines must be met. But the rewards can be in the thousands of dollars. Check out your church, lodge, credit union, women’s auxiliary, employer, etc. for scholarships specifying graduating high school seniors, older adults, minorities, women, the disabled, athletes, music students and others.
  • Bookstores and libraries are great resources for private scholarships. But be careful of advertisements for ‘free college money’, especially if they want you to pay them for their services. There is enough free financial aid support in local junior colleges, online schools, on-campus schools and reputable websites.

If you want to go to college, give it a shot. Choose a college and apply for financial aid. You may be surprised at what happens for you.

financial aid, online schools, distance learning, online education, e-learning, education, career, college, online degree, student loans, FAFSA, disabled, online bachelor’s degree, free money for college, scholarships, grants, Directoryof Schools, professional certificate, university, junior college, library

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by admin