Stay On Track This Summer: 4 Tips for Incoming College Freshmen

4 Ways to Stay Productive During Summer Break

A recent post, covers the concern of “summer melt,” where up to one-third of the students who graduate high school with plans to go to college never make it to a college campus. The post discussed how educators  can help keep someone on track—but there’s also plenty that a student can do to make sure their college plans don’t get derailed during a summer break.

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The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool

Step by step guide to public service loan forgiveness

Chances are that you’ve at least heard of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, but do you know if your loans qualify? How to apply? If not, we’re here to help!

First, what is PSLF? PSLF is a program that forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. However, your loan will only be forgiven if you meet all the PSLF Program eligibility conditions.

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PLUS Loan Basics for Parents

Your child is going to college or career school—that’s great! But you may have questions about how to pay for it. If your child hasn’t completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), ask your child to complete it today. Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and quick, and it gives your child access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school, including loans YOU can receive.

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The Value of Financial Literacy and Self-Advocacy

In my senior year of high school, as college decisions were released, opening the financial aid award letters was scarier than the decisions themselves: the final number, or net cost, could make or break my ability to attend university. To confuse matters, without an understanding of financial aid terms, award letters can be hard to read; each school’s letter can look different and are full of ambiguous terms and unexplained costs. No matter how well a particular award letter was laid out, I was unsure what exactly I would have to pay. If you are a senior in high school planning to go to college, becoming financially literate is incredibly important.

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Redesigning the Financial Aid Offer Letter at the University of Pennsylvania

Every year, incoming and current college students have to file a FAFSA in order to determine their potential and continued eligibility for federal financial aid. Students may also have to file institution-based financial aid applications every year, along with institution-based or outside scholarships. Offer letters are key tools used by colleges and universities to notify students of their eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid. Students and families use these letters to determine what the cost of attending that particular institution will be.

Recent research such as the “Decoding the Cost of College” joint research report by New America and uAspire, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Issue Brief on Financial Aid Award Notifications have determined that offer letters are often hard to understand, and can lead students and families to misinterpret financial aid packages. Consequently, students and families end up borrowing more loans than they should, the students decide not to attend a particular institution, or the greatest consequence is that many students do not realize the true cost of attendance, which can lead to negative outcomes like not being able to afford to finish.

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Keeping the Cost of College Down

A small, black paper graduation cap and tassel sits on top of paper dollar bills.

Between the high costs of tuition, living expenses, meal plans and textbooks, it is easy to see why college students are increasingly stressed about their finances. A 2015 survey  found that around 70% of college students feel stressed about their personal finances in general. As a current student at UCLA, I too have felt the financial strain of an undergraduate education. Luckily, I have found that there are many simple actions college students can take to reduce the cost of postsecondary education. Here are 5 tips from a current college student on how to make college more affordable:

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Student Loan Forgiveness (and Other Ways the Government Can Help You Repay Your Loans)

Here’s a question a lot of people may be wondering… Is it really possible to have my federal student loans forgiven or to get help repaying them?

The answer is: Yes!

However, there are very specific eligibility requirements for each situation in which you can apply for loan forgiveness or receive help with repayment. Loan forgiveness means that you don’t have to pay back some or all of your loan. You never know what you may be eligible for, so take a look at the options we have listed below. The first three options focus on loan forgiveness programs. The next two options are government programs based on your service.

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How to Deduct Student Loan Interest on your Taxes (1098-E)

Student loans, interest payments, and taxes: three things that have scared many people for years now. Read on to learn how these things can benefit you.

If you made federal student loan payments in 2018, you may be eligible to deduct a portion of the interest paid on your 2018 federal tax return. This is known as a student loan interest deduction. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make the money you’ve paid work for you! Below are some questions and answers to help you learn more about reporting student loan interest payments from IRS Form 1098-E on your 2018 taxes and potentially get this deduction.

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3 Ways to Spot a Scam

You Don’t Have to Pay for Help with Your Student Loans!

You’re at home about to start cooking (or microwaving, no judgment here) dinner when you get a phone call from an unknown number. The person on the other end of the line is promising to help you pay off all of your student loans. All they’re asking for is some of your personal information and an upfront fee. It sounds too good to be true, right? It probably is.

Even if you haven’t gotten a phone call exactly like that, you have probably seen the countless ads on social media offering to help you manage your student loan debt. While the U.S. Department of Education (ED) does offer some legitimate student loan forgiveness programs and ways to lower your student loan payments, they are all free to apply for through your official loan servicer. Don’t pay for help when you can get help for free!

Here are some signs that you’re talking to a student loan debt relief company instead of ED:

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