College – U. Got It?

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How to Escape Student Loan Debt

Robyn Tellefsen | July 11, 2013

More than 38 million Americans are saddled with over $1.1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, reports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and U.S. Department of Education. So it’s no surprise that today’s students will do anything to avoid being crushed by this mountain of debt. And when I say anything, I mean anything. [Read More]

College Costs and Financial Aid By the Numbers

Dawn Papandrea | April 10, 2013

Who can blame you for being neurotic when it comes to college cash concerns, when you consider the big numbers involved with borrowing for an education? For starters, last year was the first year that student loan debt was greater than credit card debt — yikes!

The good news is that scholarship and grant numbers can be equally as impressive too, if you’re lucky enough, or should we say, worked hard enough to be eligible.

Take a look at this infographic from VarsityTutors.com for a snapshot of what college costs today… [Read More]

Student Athletes Suffer Social Media Attacks

Robyn Tellefsen | January 9, 2013

How many of us have gone to a game and yelled at the players who weren’t doing what we thought they should? Angry shouts in the stadium may get drowned out in the din of the crowd, but blasts on social media are in black and white for all the world – including the athletes themselves – to see. [Read More]

‘Tis the Season for… Scholarships!

Robyn Tellefsen | December 14, 2012

Spending money on presents for the holidays is a bummer when the bill comes due, but you can turn a season of spending into a season of scholarships. Check out some of the cool scholarships you can apply for this month to offset buyer’s remorse… and college tuition. [Read More]

Scholarships for Online Students

The CollegeBound Network | November 9, 2012

Today’s guest post comes from Melissa Woodson, the community manager for @WashULaw.

With the increased enrollment in online degree programs over the last five years, one of the biggest concerns potential online students have is about the amount of scholarships or financial aid available, and if this amount differs greatly from more traditional programs. The good news is that scholarships abound for online classes and degree programs – the bad news is that (like scholarships for more traditional programs) they’re not always easy to find. Here are some online resources that you should utilize when looking for financial aid for your online education. [Read More]

If you’ve ever taken the time to fill out and mail in a rebate offer, you understand the somewhat perverse pleasure derived from receiving a $2.99 check in the mail six to eight weeks later. It feels like free money and, with the exception of the time you spent and the stamp you stuck on, it is.

Call me unenlightened, but I would have never imagined that rebates could do more than pay for your next coffee. For Jonathan Hood, 25, mail-in rebates paid almost the entire tuition bill for a semester of his Ph.D. program at Auburn University. Seriously. [Read More]

The next time you’re at the grocery store — or maybe you work there — stop and take a look at the folks bagging your groceries. Some of their bagging skills may be good enough to earn them scholarships for college. In fact, there are quite a few companies that allow their student workers to work in some time for scholarship scoring! Read on… [Read More]

If you’re in the market for a student loan (and what college student isn’t, these days?) you’ll be relieved to know that Congress has agreed to maintain the current low interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans. Rates were schedule to jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, which would tack on about $1,000 to the interest costs of the typical borrower over the life of the loan. Fortunately, the rate increase has been delayed for another year.

But if interest rates are allowed to double in 2013, student borrowers will take a big hit. Rather than “borrowing” tomorrow’s troubles, however, there are a few things you can do now to survive the college cost crunch.

Don’t overborrow. For your first year as a dependent undergraduate student, you may be eligible to borrow up to $5,500, including no more than $3,500 in subsidized Stafford loans. But that doesn’t mean you should borrow to the max. Keep in mind that in order to afford the standard 10-year repayment plan after graduation, your total debt should be less than your predicted annual starting salary.

Consider community college. Take a look at some dollar signs before you commit to private school. According to the latest College Board figures, average published annual tuition and fees are $2,690 for community colleges, $8,240 for state schools (for in-state students), and a whopping $28,500 for private colleges. If you have your heart set on a private school, at least consider spending your first two years at a public college to save some cash.

Apply for scholarships. It’s not easy to score the big-name, big-money scholarships, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. And don’t discount the little guys – many companies are offering $500 and $1,000 rewards based on a relatively simple application. With a few of those scholarships under your belt you could offset the effects of potentially skyrocketing student loan interest rates. Check out Fastweb and the College Board’s Scholarship Search to get started.

Earn college credit in high school. When you earn college credit before freshman year, you can usually do so at a major discount. Acing AP exams in high school is a great way to rack up college credits on the cheap. It also enables you to move through your degree program quicker. With my AP credits in English, French, and History, I was able to graduate a semester early and save thousands of tuition dollars.

Get a job. You probably can’t get a high-paying job at this point in life, but every little bit makes a difference when it comes to avoiding a mountain of debt. If you qualify for the Federal Work Study program, you can work part time on or off campus, and your wages won’t be counted toward next year’s student contribution for financial aid.

Hopefully, federal student loan interest rates will remain competitive for the foreseeable future. In any event, a conscientious approach to your finances can help you survive the college cost crunch.

 

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