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Archive | May, 2010

After The Acceptance Letter

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13 Colleges That Guarantee No Tuition Increases

13 Colleges That Guarantee No Tuition Increases

collegemoney1If you are an incoming freshman (or the parent of that student) one of the main concerns you should have is how much your tuition is going to increase over the course of your educational career. There is no perfect science to forecasting what the tuition increases will be but a good starting place is to ask your school what their percentage increases have been over the course of the past 5 to 10 years.  They may not be able to readily answer that question but they can always get back to you.

Based upon a study by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) the following colleges and universities have made promises of no tuition increases to their incoming students. My guess is that room & board expenses are still up for grabs when it comes to fee hikes but a tuition guarantee is certainly something to appreciate.

If you know of any other colleges or universities that are implementing a fixed tuition rate for incoming students, please be sure to share in the comment section below. The more we all know the better! 😉

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One Two Financial Punch (in the gut) for Illinois Students

One Two Financial Punch (in the gut) for Illinois Students

ISACYesterday, I wrote an article about how the University of Illinois was increasing their tuition by 9.5% for the upcoming academic year.  While this is sometimes hard to stomach, most families and students are somewhat expecting an increase in fees over the years.  Unfortunately though, thousands of students anticipating to receive financial aid from the state of Illinois just recently found out that the money has run out and many students will go without funding this year.  Certainly not a good time for students in the great state of Illinois.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is estimating that it will have $400 million dollars to award to needy students this coming year, which is a pretty typical dollar amount based upon prior years. However, as you can imagine, the number of eligible needy students has increased and the group just does not have enough money set aside to meet the demand. They have already turned down approximately 27,000 students and they anticipate the number of rejections to increase to 200,000 once all is said and done..

ISAC administrators state that rejections are nothing new and that they have been increasing in number for the past couple of years. In 2008-2009 they rejected almost 60,000 students and in 2009-2010 they turned down 120,000 eligible student applications for funding. The feeling that I am getting is that they don’t necessarily want to turn students away, they just don’t have a choice once the money is no longer available.

Recommendation

It appears that students are awarded on a first come first serve basis and your “number” in line is going to be based upon when you complete your FAFSA for the upcoming academic year. ISAC states that funding ran out this year by April 19th. So, I would recommend students next year to make sure that they complete their FAFSA on-time and ahead of schedule to insure receipt of the limited financial aid available from the state of Illinois. Here is a link to all the grant applications provided by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Enjoy!

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University of Illinois Approves a 9.5 Percent Tuition Increase

University of Illinois Approves a 9.5 Percent Tuition Increase

uofiThe University of Illinois has long since been known as having one of the most complicated tuition structures in the country. Tuition rates for each of their programs varies greatly and even if you know the tuition rate, you also better be sure of which areas of study include surcharges. For example, if you are an art student, you need to budget an additional $1500 in college costs over and above your tuition expenses.

This last Thursday, the trustees for U of I voted in favor of raising tuition by 9.5 percent for the 2010-2011 academic year. At the same meeting, they approved a $170,000 salary increase ($620,000) for the role of University President.

As you can imagine, this decision did not come without opposition. Students and faculty voiced their concern over the tuition rate increase and stated that “it was ridiculous” and that “the school is just not affordable”.

Undergrad tuition rates for the upcoming academic year are slated to be $10,386 at the Urbana-Champaign campus, $9,134 at the Chicago campus and $8,108 at the Springfield campus. If you would like more detailed information about the fees at the University of Illinois, you can check out their fee schedule here.

If you are a student (or parent of a student) and you are looking for ways to help absorb this additional tuition expense, please don’t hesitate to take a look at my article for approaches to paying for college. Hopefully it can provide you with some possible solutions.

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Solution For Budget Stricken State College Systems

Solution For Budget Stricken State College Systems

statebudgetI came across an informative article the other day that detailed how the country of Zimbabwe is overcoming their funding issues for higher education. They have put into law a decree that states that any student who received state funded educational grants is required to pay Zimbabwe a third of their wages if upon graduation they decide to work in a foreign country. From what I can tell, you have to pay one-third of your salary for each year that you were in attendance at the University and make the decision to work outside of the country.  It reminds me of the time period when we used to have indentured servants…

The impetus of this legislation is to help Zimbabwe reduce a consistent “brain drain” that they have been experiencing but more importantly it is hopeful that they will be able to originate some additional funding to help support it’s current student population. Based upon their recent financial crisis the local universities have sent out memorandums to all students stating that financial aid is no longer available to students experiencing financial distress.

I am not really sure how Zimbabwe is going to enforce this mandate amongst it’s student population but the approach certainly gets an “A” for creativity.  Can you imagine if our country (or states) started implementing a similar policy for students that receive federal or state aid to help subsidize their educational expenses? I don’t think it would work at the federal level but I could see the state college systems seriously considering this approach.

Let’s do a scenario.. What if you were a student at Georgia State University for four years. If you are a resident of Georgia your total tuition expense (sticker price) would be $28,280 ($3,535 a semester x 8 semesters). However, if you were an out-of-state student your tuition expense would be $101,120 ($12,640 a semester x 8 semesters). You have to keep in mind that these figures don’t include discounting (financial aid) or yearly percentage increases in fees… I am just trying to keep the math simple. 😉

The difference between the gross in-state rate and the out-of-state rate is $72,840. That means that if you are a Georgian resident you automatically receive a substantial discount. My guess is that the great state of Georgia is hoping that you will put this deeply discounted education to good use in their state but what happens if you decide to move to Ohio after graduation. That large discount you received is now money lost for the state of Georgia because you are taking your future earning potential (and tax dollars) to Ohio. So.. if they adopted Zimbabwe’s approach, they would make you pay a third of your wages back to them for the next four years as a form of restitution for the tuition discount you received. If you made $55,000 a year for the first four years in Ohio, the state of Georgia would break even with their “investment” in you because you would be paying back approximately $18,315 a year to them (based upon the Zimbabwe approach).

Now I can’t imagine that our state college systems would ever introduce something this radical. But as budget cuts are deeper and deeper and administrators and legislators are charged with the responsibility of reducing costs or increasing revenue within the state, you could see more “out of the box” proposals like Zimbabwe’s starting to surface.

So what do you think? Do you believe that your state college system or elected officials would really entertain something like this? I assume the answer is a resounding “NO” but goofier things have happened.

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Best Way To Save Money On College – Don’t Go!

Best Way To Save Money On College – Don’t Go!

GameofLifeThe New York Times recently released an article that suggests not going to college may actually be better than going to college (from a financial perspective). At first I thought their concept to be a little dated and not applicable to this generation of students. However, after reading some information from the not-for-profit group, the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, I am starting to think that they may be on to something… nothing earth shattering but something none-the-less.

They go on to cite labor statistics that support the notion that out of 30 top growing careers in the U.S., only 7 of them will “probably” require a bachelor’s degree. Some quick math tells you that only 23% of future job growth will require a bachelor’s degree and the other 77% would be satisfied with less.

The other support for this initiative (not going to college) is that most students can obtain vocational training and apprenticeships during high school and immediately following. This type of training would be available at little to no cost to the student and it would prepare them to walk right into a job upon completion of their program. I see the sense in this rational but I don’t think this approach is for everyone.

Maybe the economist at the New York Times have made a believer out of me. Who needs college? Who needs to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for an education? I am sure you can think of something better to do with 4 years of your life… I think I am going to change the mantra for CheapScholar.org from “Helping to Make College Affordable” to “Helping to Make College Affordable – just don’t go!”

Ok.. back to reality…  The “Plan B don’t go to college proposal” does have merit but at the end of the day, I think college means more than just getting a job and finding a career. Going to college is about growing as a person, growing as an intellectual, becoming a responsible citizen and steward in the nation and communities in which you live, and most importantly… going to college is about a rite of passage that acknowledges your commitment to education and the impact it has on the greater good.

Ultimately, the choice lies in each one of us whether the college experience is the best path for our lives. However, if you are trying to find a way to break the news to mom and dad that you didn’t make it into your top three college choices, you may want to get a copy of the New York Times and conveniently leave it on the coffee table with the pages folded to the “Plan B Don’t go to College Article”.  It is sure to break the ice for any college conversation you are about to encounter. 😉

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Sources of Financial Aid

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New Way To Pay For College – Selling Archived Letters

New Way To Pay For College – Selling Archived Letters

WesleyLetterA bright young student entrepreneur was satisfying his work study hours by working part-time at Drew University in the archives. During the course of about five months William John Scott stole letters from the university archives and pilfered them on the internet for thousands of dollars (which was well below their actual worth).

Most of the letters were historical documents that were written by John and Charles Wesley in the 1700’s. The Wesley brothers are best known as being the “fathers of Methodism” and leading a small reform group that eventually grew to become the second largest Protestant denomination in America.  Drew University housed 23 of these Wesley documents and the student had managed to steal 21 of them.

It was not until an antique dealer from England purchased ten of these documents and questioned the manner in which they were shipped to him (FedEx envelope with no sense of preservation for the letters) that the University was tipped off about the possible theft. The dealer, knowing that these letters had to be part of the Drew collection, contacted the University right away and they quickly confirmed ownership.

William John Scott is now being arraigned in court for theft and faces up to ten years in jail, if he is convicted.

Ok.. just to be clear.. I don’t recommend that anyone steal anything from their university and sell it on eBay just to cover your tuition expenses. As you can see from young Mr. Scott’s experience, the outcome can never be good. What you should take away from this article is that your college or university probably has a library archives and you should take an authorized tour to witness some cool pieces of history. Now… if you have old comic books, baseball cards, or other childhood collectibles that are gathering up dust in your parent’s basement, I would recommend listing those on Craigslist or eBay to help offset some of your educational expenses.

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