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.
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:
April is National Financial Capability Month and understanding the terms of your financial aid offer and making smart decisions about paying for college can be a good indicator of your financial capability.
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.
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.
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:
There’s so much information available about financial aid for college or career school that it can be hard to tell the facts from fiction. We’ve got you covered! Here are some common myths—and the real scoop—about financial aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.
Not attending the FSA conference this week? Learn from home using these resources.
With Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) Annual Conference in full swing in Atlanta, we understand that not everyone is able to attend and learn from financial aid experts. However, you don’t have to be a financial aid professional to become a FAFSA expert.
Here are the Top 5 FSA blog posts to help students and parents become FAFSA ‘pros’:
Secretary DeVos delivered the opening remarks at this year’s Federal Student Aid Training Conference, raising “a warning flag with American students and American taxpayers.” While noting that “our higher ed system is the envy of the world,” she also cautioned, “if we, as a country, do not make important policy changes in the way we distribute, administer, and manage federal student loans, the program on which so many students rely will be in serious jeopardy.”
In addition to her warnings about the looming student debt crisis, the Secretary also recognized administrators for their valuable work and shared some of the ways the administration is rethinking financial aid.
If you missed the Secretary’s speech, here are the three greatest takeaways for financial aid administrators.
Having one child who is heading to college can be stressful, but having to help multiple children at the same time can feel like too much to manage. While I can’t save you from a forgotten application deadline or the “how to do your own laundry” lessons, hopefully, I can help make the financial aid part of the process run more smoothly with these tips: