Three Steps You Can Take to Fight Scholarship Award Displacement

what is scholarship award displacementThe financial aid letter might be one of the best pieces of news you get. After months of scraping and digging, you’ve managed to put together a patchwork of scholarships that, with the institutional aid you are already getting, will finally make college affordable. Imagine the rude surprise that awaits the poor students who open that letter only to see that their institutional aid has been reduced on account of those private scholarships they’ve worked so hard to earn! [Read more…]

The Pros and Cons of Online Colleges [Infographic]

pros and cons of online collegesStill weighing your college options for the fall?  Or getting a head-start on securing a spot for next year?  If so, you’ve got a big decision ahead of you.

On one hand, the value of a college degree has never been more important.  The pay gap between college graduates and workers with little or no post-high school education reached an all time high in 2014.  On average, Americans with a four-year college degree made 98% more per-hour than people without a degree.

On the other hand, more and more Americans are facing down a ton of student loan debt upon graduation.  In 2013, seven in ten graduating seniors had student loan debt.  Those grads owed an average of $28,400 in combined federal and private student loans. [Read more…]

Tax Advantages For Going Back To School

tax advantages for adult college studentsConsidering going back to school to advance your career?  That’s smart for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s likely to improve your future financial bottom-line.

And there are a number of tax credits and deductions you can claim for going back to school as an adult – especially if you are going to school to advance your existing career. The tax benefits are more limited, however, if you are going to school to get qualified in a different career field. [Read more…]

A Simple Guide to Navigating Financial Aid Paperwork

navigating student loan applicationsSummer is here.  And while that means warmer weather, vacations, and fun in the sun, for millions of freshman-to-be all across the country it also means dorm move-in and the beginning of classes is just weeks away.

Starting college can be an exciting time. But when you’re struggling with how you will pay for your education, it’s easy to get stressed-out. Fortunately, there are options in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans.

Unfortunately, if you’re applying for financial assistance, there can be many hoops to jump through. Here’s your simple guide to navigating your way through the paperwork. [Read more…]

How to Avoid Auto Defaulting on Your Student Loans

There are two certainties in life: death and taxes. If you’ve just finished your dealings with the second, you might find yourself wishing for the first. If a group of major lenders like Sallie Mae have their way, though, there may be a third: student loan repayment.

A report by the Consumer Financial Protection Board details a loss-prevention tactic called automatic default. As a result of this tactic, even good-paying borrowers suddenly find themselves in default when a co-signer on the loan (usually a parent or grandparent) dies or declares bankruptcy. [Read more…]

Four Ways To Compare Online Colleges To Offline Alternatives

Comparing online and traditional collegesThe New Year is a time for change. For many people, change means education, and that means going back to school. About 20 million people enroll in colleges and universities annually. Whether you’re thinking about finishing a program you started years ago, earning an advanced degree to move up in your field, or learning a new skill to try to branch out, this can be the year you don your mortarboard and get back to the books.

If you’ve been online or near a television, you’ve no doubt seen ads for online colleges. These programs offer it all: convenience, flexibility, and low prices. But are they really a good deal? Let’s look at four ways to compare online colleges to their brick and mortar counterparts. [Read more…]

Paying Off Student Loan Debt

Paying off student loan debtStudent loan debt can be terrifying. You left for school with the best of intentions. You worked your tail off for four years and got a degree. You throw your cap into the air in celebration, and by the time it lands, you have a bill for $29,400.

When dollar amounts are that high, it’s difficult to make them seem real. As a recent grad, you have all kinds of financial obligations. It’s easy to let those student loan notices pile up and focus on furnishing a household, buying a fancy car or starting your adult life.

That’s the path many young adults are taking. According to the Department of Education, only 56% of student loan borrowers are repaying their loans. This is a problem that’s going to get worse before it gets better. A study in the Wall Street Journal estimates that the debt load is going to increase by 6% per year. [Read more…]

Predatory Student Loan Relief Organizations: How They Work And How You Can Avoid Them

Tips to Avoid Predatory Student LoansStudent loan debt is not just financially draining. It can also be emotionally damaging. The tens of thousands of dollars of debt can feel like an anchor hanging around your neck, weighing you down and preventing you from achieving prosperity. You were told to go to college and study hard, so you did. You were told there would be jobs waiting on the other side. There were not. Now what?

There’s usually a 6-month grace period after graduation before you have to start repaying your student loan(s). That started the minute you received your diploma. If, like most of the class of 2014, you don’t have a job lined up immediately, that ticking clock can be pretty panic-inducing. [Read more…]