ServiceCorps: Unique  Program Helps Career-bound Grads Do Good

Today’s Boston Globe reported on ServiceCorps, a new service program that has partnered with GE and Citigroup. ServiceCorps allows corporate-bound college grads to defer for-profit careers for a year to work full-time at non-profits.  

The  college grads receive a salary between $35,000 and $40,000, health benefits and a 401k. Another great feature is that any student loan payments are also covered during the service year.

Read the full article on ServiceCorps.

Big FAFSA Changes Effective October 1st

There are two big changes coming to the FAFSA, Free Application For Student Aid, on October 1st. The FAFSA will now be available 3 months earlier than it traditionally has been. No longer will you have to wait until January 1st to complete the form. Now you can apply as early as October 1st. In addition, the federal tax return you will use to complete the form will be the “Prior-Prior” Year (PPY) return, as the Department of Education is calling it.  For the 2017-2018 FAFSA you will use your 2015 return. (If you applied for aid during 2016-2017, you also used your 2015 return.)

What is the significance of the changes? The earlier FAFSA availability assists students applying for Early Decision and Early Action Admissions. Currently families have to use the CSS Profile for ED and EA. There fees associated with the CSS Profile (registration and for each college/university the results are sent to in your behalf). The FAFSA is a free application. 

In addition, because the tax return used is the PPY, you will not have to wait until you complete your federal return or estimated your income. Also, business owners, will not be disadvantaged if they typically file tax returns later in the year. They would have their completed PPY return by October.

This chart from the USDepartment of Education shows the changes for 2017-2018  and 2018-2019 FAFSA.

  

Healthcare Questions for Students Planning to Study Abroad

Many college students are in the midst of planning their summer and fall study abroad  activities including making their final choice of study abroad location, calculating the costs, determining what travel documents are needed, flight reservations, etc. One area that should not be overlooked is healthcare. In addition, to the obvious question regarding the need for vaccinations, several other questions need to be answered. Do you need health insurance? Are you able to bring your prescription? Are there over- the-counter drugs that you should carry?

US NEWS has an explanation of these issues in Questions Students Should Ask About Healthcare Abroad. Be  sure to check it out.

 

 

 

 

FAFSA 2016-2017 IS NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE

The holidays have ended and high school students are back at school. Seniors are awaiting their acceptance letters or finishing up last minute admissions applications. But that does not mean that the college planning workload is over. In fact the second phase of the process has just gotten underway. The FAFSA became available January 1st.

These tips will make he process smoother for students and parents.

1. Know the deadlines for filing for financial aid for es h college you apply to for admissions. Generally they are anywhere from February 1st to March 1st.

2. The student AND one parent must apply for a FAFSSA ID at FAFSA.ed.gov before you can complete the inline application.

3. If you do not have you W-2s or your federal tax teturn completed for 2015, estimate with your last pay stub for 2015. If your income is fairly consistent estimate based on your 2014 federal tax returns. You WILL need to update the application once your 2015 tax returns are filed.

4. Keep a file with all documents and correspondence from the financial aid offices you are dealing with.

5. Be sure to print the students’s name and social security number on any documents submitted, especially if the student’s last name is different then the parent’s.

6. If you have an usual family situation —loss of a job, foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce/separation or death of a parent, contact each individual college AFTER the FAFSA is submitted to ask what their Professional Judgement or Appeal Process is.

7. Read your Award Letter carefully. Know what action you must take. Do you need to accept and return a copy of the award letter? Do you need to complete a Federal Student Loan Promissory Note online? Do you need to complete a Student Loan Entrance Interview?

Follow these tips and you should have a little trouble with applying and receiving financial aid for which you are eligible.

“Grandparents tell the best stories”: Get ready for the Great Thanksgiving Listen

Grandparents do tell the best stories. The holidays are a great time to learn about your family’s history, what inspired them, what struggles they overcame. Encourage your children, teens and young adults to engage with their elders. It can be a wonderful bonding and learning experience! Check out this wonderful piece by StoryCorps.

 

Source: “Grandparents tell the best stories”: Get ready for the Great Thanksgiving Listen

Top Engineering US Colleges for 2015

If you are considering a degree in engineering the. You have to take a look at the USAToday article reporting on the top engineering colleges in the US. When looking at a potential engineering program, though, you need to go further than the highlights given on a y of these lists.

Questions to consider:

1. What courses and grades will I need to take in high school to be competitive in the college’s admissions process? Think sciences and math.

2. What opportunities are there for internships?

3. What is the job placement in my field at the colllege and at what companies /organizations are graduates hired?

4. Does the career I aspire to require a graduate degree? If so,  I should put this college on my graduate school list and see what undergraduate colleges their grad students graduate from? This could save you money if you attend state college or university for your ungrad degree and receive your graduate degree from a top ranked college or university.

REMEMBER where you receive your graduate degree will carry more weight than your undergraduate degree, as it will be focused on your profession/career field.

http://college.usatoday.com/2015/08/28/top-engineering-colleges/

Direct Loan Rates for Academic Year 2015-16 Set

The latest Federal Direct Student Loan rates have been set. For the 2015-16 school year the rates are as follows:

Undergraduate Subsidized & Unsubsidized  Direct Loan —  4.29% (down from 4.66%)

GradPlus Direct Loan — 5.84% (down from 6.21%)

Parent Plus Direct Loan — 6.84% (down from 7.21%)

When borrowing through the  Federal Direct Student Loan Program keep your borrowing as low as possible. Exhaust all funding options prior to borrowing.  Check with the college’s Bursar’s Office regarding monthly payment plans which tend to be interest free.