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Analyzing your College Award Letters

College award letters are already fairly confusing. What's worse is that they can often be somewhat misleading. This is especially problematic considering you are likely making major decisions based on your first award letter. Even when the next one could be dramatically different. So beware! And before you accept a school’s award, there are a few steps you should take to better ensure you won't be left out in the cold later. Avoid the Bait and Switch What you see…

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Award Letters

Analyze Your Award Letter Before You Accept It!

Some colleges and universities are already sending out financial aid award letters for 2021/2022. That’s great news! After all, you’ve worked hard, and it’s time you reap the rewards of that hard work. But before you sign and return that award letter, it’s essential to look at it with a critical eye.  As we wrote in a previous blog, analyzing your award letters can be a complicated process, but it’s well worth your time. Is your offer clear and easy to…

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What is EFC (and Why Does it Matter)?

EFC stands for expected family contribution. It’s the amount that the government and colleges calculate you should be able to pay out of pocket toward college costs. It's also used to calculate the amount of need-based financial aid students qualify for. Many families don’t know that they have some control over their EFC. By understanding how your expected family contribution is calculated and used by colleges, you can learn EFC-reducing strategies that can increase your student’s financial aid eligibility and…

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Student Work

The Benefits of Student Work in College

« Learn more about financial aid One of the most productive things your student can do with all the newfound free time that college affords is to find gainful employment. Working as a college student is beneficial for everyone. For some students, it can be a great way to keep their lives structured while making some extra money. For others, student work is a necessity to stay in school at all. Student Income and EFC If you have any experience…

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Beware of Student Loan Scams!

Debt, despite how essential it is for many American families trying to afford college, can be in and of itself the cause for quite a bit of stress. When you factor in the further difficulty students are having finding employment after graduation, and loan management companies that can be less than forthcoming with information that could ease your repayment burdens, the tension only grows. Wouldn't it be great if there was a trick or a quick fix to help get…

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Income Sharing Agreements vs. Student Loans

The ever-growing costs of college are often characterized as “an investment in one's future.” In a cruel twist of fate, the price of that investment remains on the rise, while its security begins to wane. What if we treated students as investments instead of debtors? Imagine that the amount you owe is entirely contingent on what you make. This is a reality at Purdue University and could become a well-needed alternative for students all over the country. College is very expensive, so much…

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Student Loans

How Uncle Sam Handles Defaulted Student Loans

Student loans are big business. Collecting defaulted student loan money is becoming an even bigger business. « Learn more about student loans An Overview on Government Default Student Loans The federal government works with student loan servicing companies to collect on outstanding student loans. It’s these companies that deal with students once the student loan papers are signed and payments finally come due. When borrowers default, the U.S. Department of Education’s debt collectors come knocking. The federal government has given these…

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Education Budget

Budgeting for College

« Learn more about paying for college When planning for college costs, there’s quite a bit more to consider than just tuition. It’s the fact that most of the other expenses can vary so wildly that makes budgeting for college so tricky. Will your student live in the dorms? Will they go on a meal plan? As is the case with most other aspects of college, how you budget is largely dictated by your personal circumstances. Be that as it may, there are tips…

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