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Answers to Your College Questions

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Posted by on in Choosing Colleges

how to narrow down your college listChoosing your list of colleges is one of the most important admissions decisions you will make. With thousands of schools to choose from, this decision can be a tough one! Check out these pointers from our experts to help you find the right college for you.

Consider the Cost

Frank Palmasani, Author of Right College, Right Price: The New System for Discovering the Best College Fit at the Best Price

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Posted by on in College Admissions
photo of harvard university

Photo of Harvard University

Do you have your sights set on attending an Ivy League school next fall? Have you thought about applying to an Ivy, but ruled it out because of selectivity or cost? Before you call your college list final and complete those applications, check out these lesser-known facts about the Ivy League. You just might reconsider a few of the schools you’ve put on—or taken off—your list.

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Posted by on in Paying for College

1. “How much can my family and I afford to pay for college each year?”

Unfortunately, many young people go about their college search as if financial aspects are a nonissue. These students are often disappointed in the end, when they learn that their number-one college choice is unaffordable. Determining the amount you and your family can afford before beginning your applications will prevent this and allow you to find a school within your budget.

2. “How can I use net price calculators to estimate the amount each college will cost me?”

Every college in the country has a net price calculator on its website. A college’s net price calculator helps you to estimate the amount you will have to pay, or your net price, at that school. Net price is defined as the sticker price minus any grants and/or scholarships provided. It is important to understand your net price because this price is what your family will actually have to pay. If it matches what you have determined you can afford, that school is a financial fit.

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Posted by on in Paying for College

Your interest rates for subsidized Direct student loans could increase this year. In 2008, a law was enacted to temporarily reduce interest rates on these loans from 6.8% to 3.4%. However, on July 1st, this bill is set to expire. Without further action from the government, increased interest rates could end up creating thousands of dollars in additional payments for students—particularly students in great financial need.

To understand the issue at hand, one needs to better understand how student loan interest rates function today. With the Direct loan (also commonly referred to as the Stafford loan), all dependent students in pursuit of an undergraduate degree may obtain $5,500 during their freshman year, $6,500 during their sophomore year, and $7,500 in each of their junior and senior years.

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Posted by on in In the News

The student debt crisis has been in the news a lot lately, but according to a recent article by USNews.com's Student Loan Ranger, student loans can place a heavy burden on parents as well. They state that, “In the first quarter of 2012, approximately 2.2 million people ages 60 years and older held student loans” and that “the Social Security checks of 115,000 retirees were being garnished to pay defaulted loans.”  Can you imagine having to give up a portion of your Social Security when you’re retired because of unpaid student loans?  While there are limits on the amount of government money families can borrow, there is no set limit on the amount of private loans, and that has gotten a lot of Americans into financial trouble.

In a recent College Countdown survey of parents of college-bound students, several respondents commented that they were still paying off their own student loans, making it difficult and stressful to decide how much they would contribute to their children’s educational goals. While most parents were willing to contribute to their kids’ education, others felt that paying for college was the student’s sole responsibility.

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