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Archive | July, 2015

How Parents Can Help Graduates Manage Student Loans

How Parents Can Help Graduates Manage Student Loans

ParentsGradOnce your kids have their diploma in hand, it may seem like they’re officially adults – but they could probably still use your help when it comes to navigating student loan repayment. Here are some tips to help you and your recent grad enter student loan repayment successfully.

Know the basics on student loans

There are generally two categories of student loans – federal and private. Federal loans are made by the U.S. Department of Education, have fixed interest rates, and generally have a number of repayment options to choose from. Private loans are made by banks, credit unions, and financial institutions. Interest rates may be fixed or variable, and they offer flexible repayment terms. These loan options are selected when the loan is taken out. Each type of loan has a loan servicer who sends information about repayment. Advise your grad to always read the correspondence from servicers – it’s sent to make sure that loan repayment goes as smoothly as possible.

Make sure the right repayment plan is in place

Make sure your child talks to their loan servicer to understand their options and determine the best fit for them. With federal loans, there are plans based on income and also forgiveness programs for borrowers meeting eligibility criteria, such as working in certain public service jobs or teaching in certain schools or educational service agencies serving low-income families. Consolidating federal loans or taking out a private refinance loan to combine or lower payments are also options depending upon your grad’s situation.

Stay current on student loan payments.

Federal loans, and many private loans, offer an interest rate reduction if the borrower signs up for automatically withdrawn monthly payments. This can save hundreds of dollars over the life of the student loan repayment – and it’s also a great way to ensure monthly payments are made on time. Missing a monthly payment can lead to late fees and affect the borrower’s credit, depending on how late the payment is.

Remember: Loan servicers are there to help

If it looks like your child is unable to make their monthly payments, whether they encountered job loss or an unexpected hardship – make sure they contact their loan servicer right away. Things don’t always go as planned, but their servicer can review your grad’s account and help determine if deferment or forbearance are possibilities. Servicers also provide access to training programs on topics such as budgeting, managing credit, and other financial literacy tips to help borrowers learn more about how to handle their newfound financial responsibilities.

Lastly, if you cosigned a loan, be sure to monitor your child’s payments

It’s important to remember that cosigned loans are your responsibility as well. If payments are late or missing, they could reflect negatively on your credit score too. You can request access to view the loans you have cosigned online, which allows you to monitor the loan activity. With this access, you can ensure your child is making payments on time, and you can make payments yourself if you choose. You should also review the cosigner release option that many lenders offer. These are generally tied to a number of on-time payments and other acceptable credit criteria, which must be met before a cosigner can be released.

When it comes to managing student loan debt, there are a number of ways borrowers can pay back loans while also building a healthy financial future. Staying in touch with loan servicers, staying current on loans, and being aware of the options available are some of the best ways to help your new grad make smart financial decisions.

Author Bio

Today’s guest article comes from Anne Del Plato – she is the Regional Director for U-fi Student Loans and is an expert in many aspects of financial aid, student loans, and debt management. Anne’s experience includes positions in a number of areas of higher education finance including college financial aid offices, training and outreach development for a state financial aid agency, and most recently, as a Regional Director of Nelnet’s Partner Solutions team. Anne has spoken at numerous financial aid conferences across the Northeastern United States.

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3 Types of Subscriptions to Help You Get Through College

3 Types of Subscriptions to Help You Get Through College

studentlaptopFrom shave kits to beauty products there are subscription services out there for just about anything. But, as you try to prioritize your limited resources, which ones do you need for the next school year? Whether you’re in your first or last year of college, here are the best monthly subscription services for college students:

School First

While there are a lot of fun subscription services out there, the most important are the ones that help you with school. With Microsoft Office 365 University you get all the tools you need to succeed while at college, including PowerPoint, Word and Excel. All the essential word-processing and presentation programs are available as part of this four year subscription service.

Another helpful subscription is Adobe’s Creative Cloud. This provides you with Photoshop, Illustrator and many other premier graphic design tools. With these two subscriptions, you have all the tools you need for college. For a special deal on Adobe’s Creative Cloud, check out OnTheHub, which has many exclusive offers for students and teachers.

But all that computer time can be hard on your eyes. It’s important to wear your contacts or glasses on those late night homework stints. Luckily, Vision Direct has a subscription for contacts, so you’ll never be without the eyewear you need.

Snackables

Snacks don’t always have to be junk food, like potato chips and soda. Instead, Graze Box offers over 90 different snacks delivered directly to your door every month. With four- and eight-snack options, you get a variety of healthy snacks. Choose between super seeds, aromatic broths, fruit, nuts, seeds or even something with a bit of chocolate mixed in. Graze Box makes sure you never want for the snacks you need while doing lab time or sitting through a long lecture.

A similar alternative to Graze Box is NatureBox, which delivers organic and healthy snacks directly to your door. While NatureBox has a monthly subscription option, it also has an option for three and six months subscriptions to help cut down on costs.

Brew Subscriptions

For those mornings that you just need an extra kick to wake up, Mistobox has you covered. While many college students usually drink coffee on the cheap, Mistobox delivers quality coffee directly to your door every month. Get the taste and quality you want at the price you can afford. With Mistobox, you don’t have to sacrifice your standards to get the morning brew you need.

Another brew subscription is only for the 21 and over club. Craft Beer Club delivers award-winning beers every month to your doorstep. This subscription service delivers four different styles of beer to your door. This is a great service if you’re looking to explore new beers because Craft Beer Club handpicks microbrews from around the country. And if you have more worldly tastes, The International Beer Club can send you beers each month from two different international breweries. While this is a great way of discovering new beers, please drink responsibly.

While these are some of the best subscription services out there for college students, honorable mentions should be dished out to both Spotify for providing stellar and unlimited music selections and Netflix for those late night movie marathons.

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5 Reasons to Get an On Campus Job in College

5 Reasons to Get an On Campus Job in College

workstudyThere is no hiding it, college is expensive. If you are like me, you’ve probably seen a swarm of student loan commercials in recent weeks. It is that time of the year. As tuition bills begin to hit email inboxes nationwide, many students and families are forced to consider student loans as a way to pay for college.

Yes, student loans are a great tool for some students. But you should look for ways to pay for your education before using student loans. Scholarships and grants are great ways to help you meet your cost of attendance, but often times these awards aren’t enough. Working in college is not as bad as it seems. Too often I hear from my fellow classmates that they don’t have enough time to work, or it may affect their school performance. Everyone is busy, but working in school can go a long way in avoiding student loan debt. You should consider getting an on-campus job this year! On-campus jobs are great for reasons other than just a paycheck too.

Here are my five favorite benefits of having an on-campus job:

  1. Spending Money

Eating at the cafeteria on campus gets old very quickly. And, that bottom shelf bottle of vodka will get older even quicker. Having an on campus job might not make you the richest student on-campus, but it will certainly give your monthly budget some much needed wiggle room. On-campus jobs tend to pay pretty well too. As an incoming freshman I received $8 an hour working in a computer lab on campus. And, each semester I’ve been given a $0.25 increase. After a few years you can be making $10 per hour on campus! If you work 10 hours a week, you will be bringing home $400 per month. That $400 can go a long way in paying for food, drinks, and even student loan interest.

  1. Flexible Hours

Most on-campus jobs are pretty flexible. Most of the time your manager will be an upperclassman or Professor. I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t had a flexible on-campus job schedule. In my case, swapping hours with my coworkers was very easy. And my manager was very understanding when it came to midterms and finals. On-campus managers will certainly understand that you have other commitments.

  1. Making Friends

Some of my best friends are also my co-workers. If you are an incoming freshman, or transfer student, an on-campus job can be a great way to meet people. Connecting with your coworkers can be great for your social life and your professional network.

  1. Resume Builder

Most Freshmen and Sophomores don’t have too much when it comes to a resume. When you start applying for internships, having an on-campus job can really help you stand out amongst your classmates. Moreover, if your job is in a relevant field, it can show a potential employer your ability to learn outside of the classroom. For example, an on-campus job in the finance lab can help you greatly when applying for that financial control internship. It helped me!

  1. Paying Student Loan Interest

Most students have no idea that their student loans are accumulating interest during deferment! Unsubsidized federal student loans and private student loans accumulate interest while you are in school. Then, the accumulated interest will compound and capitalize. By paying your student loan interest in college you will save yourself thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Furthermore, many private student loan lenders give extra discounts to students who pay their interest in school. An on-campus job can give you the ability to pay your interest while taking classes. I promise you will thank me upon graduation!

Today’s guest author is Pyper Barnes. She is a Junior Finance Major at the University of Alabama. Pyper is the creator of WeirdScholarships.net. Weird Scholarships is a new website dedicated to helping students find unique and sometimes weird scholarship opportunities.

Posted in Financial Aid3 Comments

See New York City Art This Summer Without Breaking the Bank

See New York City Art This Summer Without Breaking the Bank

botanicalgardenA summer trip to New York City offers theater and art students a way to experience galleries, shows and performances. Most students are unable to splurge on many expensive New York City activities, but there are still opportunities to experience the city’s culture on a student budget. If you are eager to witness your classroom instruction coming alive, consider these budget-savvy options:

Museum of Modern Art: Manhattan

If you want to experience modern art, you are in for a treat. On Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., admission to MoMA is absolutely free. If you want to take a look at the sculpture garden, it is free every morning from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. If you can’t make these limited hours, student prices are only $14.

Brooklyn Academy of Music: Brooklyn

Are you interested in listening to jazz or experimental music? On select Fridays and Saturdays from September to May, the Brooklyn Academy of Music offers free concerts to the public.

New York Botanical Gardens: Bronx

From May through November, more than a dozen of Frida Kahlo’s drawings and paintings will be on display in the New York Botanical Gardens. The solo exhibition will highlight how the outdoors and nature affected her work. You don’t have to pay full price to see her acclaimed art, either. With a student ID, art students only pay $18 for admission.

Broadway: New York City

Although you may think that a Broadway show is out of your price range, there are plenty of summer deals. For example, students are offered the option to watch a matinee on Wednesdays and Fridays at a discounted price. And for popular shows like “The Book of Mormon” that frequently sell out, standing room tickets are available for $27.

Small Art Galleries: Around Town

A well-known secret in New York City is that many of the art galleries around town are either free to peruse or only have a $20 entry fee. These galleries give you a chance to see different types of art and how small galleries operate.

David Zwirner Gallery: Soho

The David Zwirner gallery is extremely popular and often has long lines outside of its exhibitions. One of the gallery’s major themes is infinity, as seen by Yayoi Kusama’s infinity rooms that were featured last year. The gallery also hosts mainstream artists.

Gagosian Gallery: Manhattan

This gallery boasts a global reach with locations in Los Angeles, London, Paris and Rome. Andy Warhol, Damon Hierst and Richard Serra represent a small sample of the artists featured in this contemporary and modern art gallery.

Sean Kelly Gallery: Midtown

Robert Mapplethorpe and Marina Abramović are two famous contemporary artists the Sean Kelly Gallery features in its space. If you gravitate toward unconventional and international art, you will love perusing this gallery.

SummerStage: All 5 Burroughs

For over 30 years, SummerStage has been New York’s premiere concert series. There are over 100 highly-accessible and free performances that include bands from around the world, kid-friendly events, and theatrical and dance productions.

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2014-2015 CheapScholar Presentations: Year In Review

2014-2015 CheapScholar Presentations: Year In Review

It has been a very busy and exciting year for CheapScholar.org. For those that don’t know, CheapScholar.org was “born” in January of 2010 as I took my passion for educating families and students about the financial aspect of the college experience to an entirely different level – the web. Since that time, CheapScholar has reached hundreds of thousands of visitors, provided support in the form of scholarships, delivered up 822 informative articles, and traveled the countryside providing Paying For College and Professional Development presentations for high schools, foundations, corporations, and organizations. I truly enjoy volunteering my time and expertise on this endeavor!

The following list of presentations (and pictures) represent just how busy the 2014 -2015 academic year has been. I appreciate the loyalty of our readers, the invitations from various groups to provide informative, engaging presentations, and all of our followers that stay connected via social media. I look forward to another great year!

Paying For College/Financial Literacy Events

October 3rdOIC of Clark County – Paying For College Presentation

October 29thCollege 101 at Springfield High School – Paying For College Presentation

November 6thGreenon High School – Paying For College Presentation

November 10thCollege Apps Course at Springfield High School – Paying For College Presentation

November 13th – Paying For College Presentation for area guidance counselors – Springfield Foundation

November 18thCatholic Central High School – Paying For College Presentation

December 11thNorthwestern High School – Paying For College Presentation

January 7thCedar Cliff High School – Paying For College Presentation

January 21stLondon High School – Paying For College Presentation

February 4thSpringfield CTC – FAFSA Filing Workshop & Paying For College Presentation

February 8thTolles CTC – College Goal Sunday FAFSA Filing Event

February 11thTecumseh High School – Paying For College Presentation

March 10thOhio Attorney General’s Office – Teen Advisory Board – Paying For College Presentation

March 11thOhio Attorney General’s Office – Teen Advisory Board – Paying For College Presentation

March 18thHilliard High Schools – Paying For College Presentation

April 8thWittenberg University (Witt Commit Series) – Student Financial Literacy Presentation

April 9thTemple University (Financial Literacy Month) – Student Financial Literacy Presentation

May 21stCollege Apps Course at Springfield High School – Paying For College Presentation

 

Professional Development Presentations

May 29th – Keys To Successful Financial Literacy – Webinar hosted by Account Control Technologies

September 28th-30thWilliams and Fudge National Receivables Conference, Charlotte N.C. Understanding Financial Aid (for Non-Financial Aid People) & Social Media & Student Financial Services – Reaching Your Audience

March 21st -24thNational Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) Student Financial Services Conference, Atlanta GA. – Understanding Financial Aid (for Non-Financial Aid People)

April 9thTemple University – Student Financial Literacy – Making An Impact On Your Campus

May 17th – 19thMichigan Association of Student Financial Services Administrators (MASFSA) Spring Conference, Traverse City MI. – Understanding Financial Aid (for Non-Financial Aid People); Student Financial Literacy & Social Media – Making An Impact On Your Campus; Moderator, Social Media Roundtable Presentation

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