Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hurricane Michael & Your Financial Aid

If you are a college student receiving federal financial aid or a borrower in repayment on your federal loans and have been impacted by Hurricane Michael you may qualify for some relief. The student or the institution the student attends must be in a area designated as a disaster area.

The US Department if Education does provide students some relief with regards to documentation that is required for Verification.

If you feel you have been adversely impacted by a natural disaster, context your financial aid office. I would suggest you discuss this in relation to your FAFSA application for 2019/20, ad you could request a professional judgement review based on 2018 or 2019 income & expenses, instead of 2017.

If you are transferring to a new school, make sure to notify the school as soon as possible that you were impacted by the hurricane. The financial aid office is allowed to use professional judgement, if you were impacted by the storm.

Student loan borrowers may also qualify for relief if impacted by Hurricane Michael.

Borrowers in repayment can request forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making you monthly loan payments. You can request extensions of forbearance in 30 day increments. If you are currently in delinquent on you student loans due to a natural disaster , you may also request d forbearance. However, your forbearance will be limited to the past due amount and 30 days in the future.

Owe documents or paperwork to you loan services soon? Loan servicers are required to extend deadlines for 15 days for those impacted by Michael.

For those with Teach Grants, certification documentation deadlines and timelines for conversion of TEACH Grants to loans will be extended for 15 days.

Anyone with a Public Service Employment (PSLF), who submits payment more than 15 days after the payment due date, but within 20 days of the due date, your servicer will count that payment as an on-time payment for purposes of the PSLF program if the payment is made during the 30-day period following the date on which a federally declared major disaster was declared. 

Student loans in default or in rehabilitation should request relief. As the USED will suspend collections of a defaulted loan for 90 days. The suspension will include suspension of involuntary payments including administrative wage garnishment and Treasury offset. If you are making payments toward rehabilitation of a defaulted loan, you will be allowed to stop making payments for those 90 days. At the end of the 90 days you will either resume making your monthly payments or make a lump sum payment.

There is also relief given to colleges and universities, as a result of disaster you should know about.

The college may pay you for work study even though you are unable to perform your work study job. If you find it necessary to take a leave of absence, the request does not have to be in writing or be made prior to the beginning go of the leave of absence.

Be sure to stay in touch with your college financial aid office and refer to the USDE website for more information.

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Massachusetts’ MASSTRANSFER program Saves Families Money

College costs , even at state colleges and universities, are soaring and causing students and families to worry whether they can afford a college education. The state of Massachusetts offers several programs through the MASSTRANSFER program. MassTransfer program offers three options: Gen Foundation, MASSTRANSFER A2B and MASSTRANSFER A2B +COMCOM.

With the Gen Foundation option, students enroll and complete the 28 general education foundation courses, at any Massachusetts community college, state university or University of Massachusetts campus. There are a few exceptions such as Mass Maritime and Mass College of Art. Students can save 11% of the tuition costs of a public four year degree by transferring those credits to a Mass State University or UMASS. Because students are only taking the foundation courses, no Associates degree is awarded when participating in this program. Credits are guaranteed to be accepted as transfer credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Admission is not guaranteed to the state four year institution.

A 28% savings can be realized when students enroll in the MASSTRANSFER A2B degree program. Students in this program attend a Massachusetts community college for two years and receive an Associate degree, then transfer to a Mass. state university or UMASS campus to complete their Bachelor’s degree.

For an even greater savings — 40%, students may choose to participate in the MASSTRANSFER A2B + COMCOM. COMCOM stands for Commonwealth Commitment. The Commonwealth Commitment requires the student to start their college career at a Mass. Community college, then transfer to a Mass. state university or UMASS campus to complete the last two years of their Bachelor Degree. MASSTRANSFER Students must attend full time and complete their bachelor degree courses in two years, while maintaining a 3.0 GPA. In return the state guarantees a freeze on all tuition and mandatory fees, a 10% rebate on tuition and fees at the end of each completed semester.

With the MASSTRANSFER A2B and MASSTRANSFER A2B +COMCOM programs students are guaranteed that their credits will transfer from the community college to the state university and UMASS as long as students achieves a GPA of 2.0+. With a GPA of 2.5+ students are guaranteed state university or UMASS admission.

Students must apply for each of these programs and complete an application and MASSTRANSFER A2B +COMCOM applicants must complete a participation agreement.

Both of these are available on-line at

MASSTRANSFER

If you are considering transferring colleges and are unsure of your options, need help identifying colleges that fit your needs, or have a weak academic history, contact me at shashmc@gmail.com to schedule a private consultation.

Pamper Your Dorm Room or College Apartment

Setting up your college dorm room or apartment can be overwhelming. If you are sharing a dorm or apartment trying to decide what to bring and who brings what can be unruly. It is advisable to reach out to your roommate over the summer before school starts to make sure you are not duplicating items unnecessarily.

Of course you will also need to find out what is available in the dorms and what is not allowed in the dorms. Most colleges will provide you with information about dorm size fridge rentals. Certain appliances may be banned, such as toaster ovens or room heaters. Common areas on your dorm floor may have a stove, small refrigerator or microwave.

When creating your list of things to bring to college break down the list in to categories such as:

Bedding

Laundry

Personal care (including prescriptions and OTC medications)

Clothes for fall (for the climate you will be living in)

Study/school supplies

Room essentials (lamps, waste basket, storage containers, extension cords,flashlight, batteries, & shelving)

Food and snacks

Kitchen essentials

I have found some very comprehensive dorm checklists online that you will find helpful when compiling your list of things to take to college.

Teen Vogue has a list of 97 things to take to college. Link to it here:

http://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-every-freshman-should-bring-college-dorm-packing-checklist

Her Campus has a list also:

http://www.hercampus.com/life/campus-life/what-bring-college-best-college-packing-list-ever

To make sure you have what you need to prepare breakfast or a light meal or snack I recommend these Pampered Chef products, which I sell at Sharon’s Pampered Chef.

Cook breakfast
Breakfast Sandwich Maker & Ceramic Egg Cooker
Glass Storage Container & Small Batter Bowl
Snack Bar Maker & Microwave Popcorn Maker
Personal Pizza Stone & Toaster Oven Pan
Measure-All & Measuring Spoons Set
Micro Rice Cooker & MicroCooker
Utensils & Cutting Mats

SPECIAL OFFER FOR MY FOLLOWERS:

To help you get your dorm room or apartment set up, I am

offering FREE SHIPPING to my followers would order from Sharon’s Pampered Chef by September 15, 2018.

Offer valid in the US only. You must email me at shashmcl@gmail.com to claim your free shipping.1

Show’em What You Know: CLEP Exams

Getting College Credit For Your Knowledge And Experience

Adults considering college have the opportunity to receive credit for knowledge they  gained through work or study. CLEP exams are also a valuable option for home-schooled students to earn college credit and reduce the time and cost associated with a college degree. The CLEP exam is offered through the College Board just like the SAT and AP exams. This exam is offered in 33 subjects including:

 

  • American Literature
  • English Literature
  • French Language Level 1 and 2
  • German Language Level 1 and 2
  • Spanish Language Level 1 and 2
  • American Government
  • US History 1
  • US History 2
  • Biology
  • Calculus
  • Financial Accounting
  • Introduction to Business Law
  • Principles of Management

 

Registration  fee for each test is $85.  However, military personnel may take the test free of charge, if qualified for DANTES funding.  The score range is 20-80. A passing score on the CLEP tests, with the exception of the language tests, is 50. For the  French exam the recommended score is 59, while the recommended scores for German and Spanish are 60 and 63 respectively. CLEP testing centers regularly offer exams, unlike AP tests which are offered each spring. For information about the CLEP exams, test centers, practice tests and registration go to CLEP. 

Show’em What You Know: AP Exams

Getting College Credit For Your Knowledge And Experience

Whether you are a high school student or an adult considering a college degree, there are options for you to earn credit for courses and knowledge you have acquired.  The advantage to these are a shorter time in college and as a result reduced cost of your college degree.

High school students may be familiar with Advanced Placement or AP Courses. These are  advanced classes taken in high school that equate to introductory college level courses. Once students have completed the AP courses, they can then register for the individual subject matter tests. AP tests are scheduled in the spring. There are 38 subject matter tests offered by the College Board.

Here is a sample list:

  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • Chinese Language and Culture
  • French Language and Culture
  • German Language and Culture
  • Government and Politics (Comparative)
  • Government and Politics (US)
  • Psychology
  • Studio Art Drawing
  • US History
  • World History

Scoring on the AP tests range from 1-5 and colleges generally award college credit for students who score 3-5 on their individual tests. Colleges their own policies regarding the awarding of credit for AP tests. The fee per test is $94. However, if you have a financial hardship, you may qualify for a $32 Fee Reduction per test.  For more information about the AP exams, practice tests and registration go to APTEST.

Too Late to Change Fall Plans?

It’s late July and all your friends are busy prepping for their first semester at college, while you are still trying to find a job or working in a job you know you don’t want to spend years at. You are beginning to regret not applying to college and are wondering if it is too late.

If this is your situation, know that you still have options for attending college in the fall.

First be aware that many colleges public and private, have Rolling Admissions. Rolling Admissions means that the institution accepts applications generally through the first two weeks of the semester. However, if you are looking for on-campus housing, acceptance in to a highly competitive program, or need significant financial aid, you will probably be out of luck.

That being said, you should talk to an admission counselor, financial aid counselor, or your private college planner as soon as possible.

Here are some tips to help you get into college this fall.

Apply as soon as possible for admissions and financial aid. The sooner you complete the application process, the sooner they can review and accept your application.

Find out if you need SAT or ACT scores. You may not need either if applying to a community college.

If you can’t decide on a major, consider General Studies or Liberal Arts. This particularly true if you need financial aid, as you must be enrolled in a degree or certificate program to be eligible for financial aid.

If you can’t afford to attend full time, take a course or two (whatever you can afford). Then you can take your time and work with a college planner to outline a plan to start fulltime in the Spring term or the next academic year.

Even taking a course or two at a local two year or four state college, can be used to your advantage when applying to college or university you want to attend full time. It shows you are: 1) capable of college level work and 2) you can manage your time effectively, especially if you are balancing work and school.

So take heart, you still have options if you want to start college this fall. Now get moving!! And good luck.

2018-2019 FAFSA Available October 1st

For those of you with high school seniors, you should be aware that the 2018-2019 FAFSA is available October 1st. You can complete the form as early as that date, particularly if your child is applying for EARLY DECISION or EARLY ACTION. If for those students applying for college through REGULAR Admission, the FAFSA may be completed later. My suggestion would be to survey the colleges your child is likely to apply to for their FAFSA deadline for incoming freshmen. Remember that any student applying for federal or state financial aid, including student loans, must complete a FAFSA. There is no fee for submitting a FAFSA.

Note that when completing the 2018-19 you will need your 2016

Federal Tax Returns (parents’ and student’s) to complete the income section.

Also available October 1st is the College Board’s 2018-2019 CSS Profile. This is the additional form that many private colleges and universities use for determining eligibility for institutional grants and scholarships. There is a Registration fee, as well as, a fee

for each college you request be sent the results. Students applying to private colleges will fill out the FAFSA as well as the Profile.

To complete the FAFSA click this link FAFSA.

To register for the CSS Profile click this link CSS Profile.

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.