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Archive | April, 2010

Kentucky Colleges: Tuition Increase & Grant Decrease

Kentucky Colleges: Tuition Increase & Grant Decrease

KentuckyflagI have recently gotten some flack from some of my reader base coming from the great state of Kentucky. Apparently they were feeling like a “red headed step-child” since I have not covered any college affordability news in their region… Hopefully today’s article (as grim as it may be) will help to satisfy their concerns and provide them the attention in which they yearn. đŸ˜‰

The state of Kentucky is following suit with numerous other states in that they are having budget issues that deeply impact the way they provide higher education to their students. Recently, the Kentucky Council for Post-Secondary Education imposed a 4% to 6% limit (cap is set by institution) on how much tuition can be raised for the upcoming 2010-2011 academic year (Details Below).

This is certainly great news for the students attending these schools but the college administrators are thinking otherwise. Given the current state budgets (or lack there of) the colleges are questioning the limit on tuition increases because even if they impose the full percentage allowed, they still will be unable to get out of the red and into the black (meaning.. they won’t have enough current revenue to cover current expenses).

After maximizing the full tuition increase allowed, the following is a sampling of some of the budget issues schools will be encountering:

  • University of Kentucky – Will have a $7.6 million dollar operating deficit
  • Eastern Kentucky University – Will have a $3.8 million dollar deficit
  • Kentucky State University – Will have a $6.2 million dollar deficit
  • Morehead State University – Will experience a $3.8 million dollar deficit

Given these budget shortfalls, any extra-curricular programs or activities on these campuses may be under scrutiny (and possibly on the chopping block) if the Kentucky Public College System doesn’t collaboratively work with State of Kentucky and the Council for Post-Secondary Education to come up with some viable solutions. In the meantime, the students get the benefit of this decision (capping tuition increase), for the short-term, in their checkbooks when it comes time to make those tuition payments.

Unfortunately, those students that are used to receiving funding from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) may need to start looking at other options based upon an announcement earlier this week. It appears that KHEAA has ran out of funds and is in the process of sending letters out to 16,599 students to let them know that they will not be receiving any assistance. The maximum amount of this award for the coming academic year is $1,900 per student. Local colleges are going to try and minimize the impact for their students but they say that the pool of money allocated for these situations is quite small and will never be able to fully cover the loss…

Well… that is my Kentucky Higher Ed snapshot for the day.. some good news (cap on tuition increases), some bad news (KHEAA grant out of funds), and some ugly news (state budget crisis impacting public colleges).

Here is the information regarding the pricing for the 2010-2011 academic year:

Increase up to 6 percent

University of Kentucky


2010-11 ceiling: $8,610

Increase: $487


2010-11 ceiling: $8,859

Increase: $501

University of Louisville

2010-11 ceiling: $8,424

Increase: $480

Increase up to 4 percent

Kentucky Community and Technical College System

2010-11 ceiling: $130 per credit hour:

Increase: $5 per credit hour

Increase up to 5 percent

Western Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $7,560

Increase: $360

Eastern Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $6,628

Increase: $316

Kentucky State University:

2010-1 ceiling: $6,216

Increase: $296

Morehead State University

2010-11 ceiling: $246 per credit hour

Increase: $12 per credit hour

Murray State University

2010-11 ceiling: $6,264

Increase: $288

Northern Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $7,128

Increase: $336

Posted in KentuckyComments Off on Kentucky Colleges: Tuition Increase & Grant Decrease

Certified Public Accountant-CPA Scholarship Opportunity

Certified Public Accountant-CPA Scholarship Opportunity

CPAIn the state of Ohio, the minimum credit requirement for those wanting to sit for the CPA exam is 150 semester credit hours. As most of you may know, most students graduate from a 4-year college program somewhere around the 130 credit hour mark. So how are they supposed to bridge this gap to achieve the required credit criteria requested by the Ohio Accountancy Board? Glad you asked!

One option that many students take advantage of is going straight from their undergraduate experience to graduate school. CPA’s tend to migrate toward MBA programs. When they graduate with their MBA degree, they will have more than enough credit hours to be able to sit for the Ohio CPA exam.

Another option for the CPA minded student is to attend their college of choice for a fifth year to help boost their completed credit hours. Financially this option can sometimes be a costly approach but as more institutions embrace their fifth year seniors you find that most of the aid received in prior years will still be available for that fifth year (9th and 10th semester).

The state of Ohio realizes that their 150 credit hour requirement may be a little onerous in comparison to other states, so they have established a scholarship fund to help students offset the additional costs associated with completing those extra credit hours. The title of this grant program is the Fifth Year College Scholarship. I find it a little humorous just because it appears to be rewarding students that don’t graduate on-time! đŸ˜‰

It is a great scholarship program and it certainly encourages students in the state of Ohio to become a CPA without the added financial burdens. The only caveat that I can find with the scholarship program is that the state will make you repay the monies if you don’t sit for the CPA examination within 2 years of the final grant disbursement. So tread lightly with this program if you are not fully committed to becoming a CPA. Of course though, it only requires you to “sit” for the exam and not necessarily pass it to be absolved from repayment…

Here is the application form. It appears that they accept scholarship requests twice a year (each semester) and that it is available to upper-class students that are enrolled in an accredited accounting program at a qualified college or university. Enjoy!

Also, even though this scholarship program is specific to the state of Ohio, I can imagine that other state CPA programs may have something comparable (if you are reading this and you reside in another state).

Know anyone that qualifies for this funding? Be sure to send this link to them using the “share tab” below…

Posted in Ohio, ScholarshipsComments Off on Certified Public Accountant-CPA Scholarship Opportunity

University of Missouri Freezes Tuition for 2010-2011

University of Missouri Freezes Tuition for 2010-2011

MissouriUIn an effort to help contain education costs for undergraduate students, the University of Missouri college system has elected to keep tuition costs the same as last academic year. However, this is only part of the approved fee adjustments for the coming year. The following provides a full picture of what other financial adjustments/measures are being taken throughout the school system:

  • In-state undergraduate tuition remains frozen.
  • Out-of-state undergraduate tuition increases by 5 percent at MU and Missouri University of Science and Technology and 2.7 percent at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and University of Missouri–St. Louis.
  • Graduate student tuition increases by 2.7 percent.
  • Professional school tuition increases will vary by department. On the high end, out-of-state veterinary medicine students will see their tuition increase by 31 percent, although at the curators’ meeting, Nikki Krawitz, UM System vice president for finance and administration, who was presenting the budget to curators, made a point to say this affects a handful of students.
  • Masters of Law students will see an increase of 19 percent
  • A UMKC in-state tuition rate for four counties in the Kansas City area will expand to seven more counties.

It appears that the undergraduate students are getting the best deal out of this provision and professional disciplines (Law & Medicine) are making up the difference in revenue that needs to be generated -which one could argue that those professions will have the ability to pay back their loans more readily than the traditional undergraduate student…

The University of Missouri school system implemented the tuition freeze for undergraduate students after striking a deal with Governor Jay Nixon that would limit any funding decreases to the school to no more than 5.2%. Definitely a nice trade-off that works in the benefit of the students (non-professional) attending the University of Missouri school system.

If you would like to learn more about the University of Missouri and the 69,000 students that currently attend, you can visit their website here.

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Help! My College Tuition Has Increased Beyond Affordability

Help! My College Tuition Has Increased Beyond Affordability

helpareaderseriesI recently received a question from a reader regarding the tuition increase at their college for the 2010-2011 academic year. The student is currently a sophomore and will be a junior next year. Their school adopted a 7% increase in tuition and fees which equates to an extra $1500 that they will need to come up with (since it will not be covered by financial aid). From what I can tell, it appears that this $1500 may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back (or their checkbook) and may keep this student from attending their college next year.

The unfortunate part about this situation is that this student is not alone in their worries. Millions of students across the nation are facing tuition increases this year and all of us that are more seasoned about this process know that financial aid does not necessarily increase dollar for dollar to cover this extra expense (if financial aid fully negated all tuition increases, schools would not go through the hassle of increasing tuition rates…).

I would suggest the following for our reader (and anyone else experiencing a similar situation):

  • Follow-up with the Financial Aid Office – They may not be able to do anything to help offset the increase but you will never know unless you ask.
  • Look for Additional Scholarships at the College- Most scholarship opportunities are for first year students but every now and again you can luck into a scholarship that is designated for a student that is further along in their educational path and has a set vocation in mind. Since donors often restrict how their scholarships are awarded you (with the help of your financial aid office) should be able quickly identify any extra funding for which you would qualify. For example, some donors restrict their funds for a student going into a specific profession or graduating with a certain major (or both). These type of awards are rarely awarded to first year students because they usually don’t have their major selected nor do they really know what they want to do for the rest of their life (college usually helps to define this for them) So, these type of awards are geared more to upper class students.
  • Look For Grant Money From A State Program– When you started at the school, a particular state program may not have been available but, during your course of attendance, budgets and programs can change at the state level all the time. For instance, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are hot subjects right now and students majoring in these fields in the state of Ohio have had the opportunity to receive extra scholarship dollars since 2008 (my assumption is that Ohio is not the only state to have this type of initiative).
  • Check Out Educational Loans Certainly don’t recommend this option unless all other resources have been exhausted. There are a number of different loan programs available to students and their parents. You should start with the federal loan programs (Direct Stafford, Parent PLUS, Perkins) and then start looking at private alternative loans (Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, Discover). Also, check with your school to see if they have any private loan funds available for students (interest rates are usually more favorable on these types of loans…)
  • Get a Second Job– Chances are you already have a couple jobs you are undertaking to try and make ends meet at college. However, if your sleep schedule allows, try to pick up an additional job (night shift at a local hotel is great for studying while on the job!). Other money-making options could come from selling your plasma, participating in research studies, and/or tutoring.
  • Transfer to a Cheaper College – If finances are really keeping you from continuing your education at your school and you have exhausted all the options above, try and find a cheaper alternative. Over the past few years, the transfer process has been greatly simplified by a number of colleges and universities. You should have no problem with making a timely transfer to a school that has lower fees or is closer to home and will save you some living expense by giving you the opportunity to bunk up with mom and dad for a couple more years. ( I know.. the implications on your social life might be strained but it is only temporary!)

I hope this information helps to provide an answer for our reader’s question. If anyone else would like to add to the list above and provide other solutions, please feel feel free to do so in the comment selection below. The more we all know.. the better!

Posted in Paying For CollegeComments Off on Help! My College Tuition Has Increased Beyond Affordability

$7 Million Dollar College Grant Accepting Applications

$7 Million Dollar College Grant Accepting Applications

moneyThe Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (otherwise known as TG) has recently designated an additional $5 million dollars to its Charley Wooten Grant Program to assist students in paying for their college expenses. This additional allocation will increase the total amount to be awarded in the coming year to $7 million dollars (wow!).

$6 million dollars will be allocated to students from Texas and the remaining $1 million will be granted to students from other states. So… if you are from Texas you should definitely apply for this funding.. if you are from another state you should still give it a shot.

“TG understands that, particularly in today’s economic environment, more students and families need assistance with paying for their college dreams,” said TG President and CEO Sue McMillin. “We believe the additional funding will help students who would otherwise be unable to pay for college.”

For the 2010-2011 academic year, TG will offer one-year grants ranging from $1,000 to $4,394 to qualified undergraduate students. The grant program is open to students who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are high school seniors or graduates who plan to enroll, or are already enrolled, at least half-time in an undergraduate course of study for the fall of 2010 at a Title IV-eligible, two- or four-year college or university, or vocational-technical school
  • Demonstrate financial need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Are eligible to receive Title IV funds.

If you are interested in applying for this grant program, you can get an application here. The deadline for submission is May 22nd, however, this is something that should be available each year so if you miss the deadline this year, you can always try again in subsequent years.

If you know of anyone that could benefit from this extra college funding, please be sure to use the “share tab” below to pass this information onto them.

Posted in Scholarships, TexasComments Off on $7 Million Dollar College Grant Accepting Applications

Maximizing Financial Aid

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Final 2010 – 2011 FAFSA Issues Resolved

Final 2010 – 2011 FAFSA Issues Resolved

FAFSA_iconThe online and paper FAFSA is an ever evolving process/document. Since it is created by humans at the Department of Education, it is only natural that a mistake here and there will pop-up to try and throw you off-track with your FAFSA filing.
Jennifer Douglas is the General Manager for Student Aid Awareness and the Federal Student Aid Program. She recently released a report citing a couple of mistakes on the online FAFSA that have now been corrected. (Paper forms will not be corrected but a PDF of the new FAFSA is available here.) The issues shouldn’t be anything that would have caused you great problems but take a look at the information below and be sure to double check your FAFSA if you think you completed something inaccurately.

Issue One
Recent legislation created the American Opportunity Credit in addition to the current Hope and Lifetime education credits. Many tax payers will be claiming this credit instead of Hope/Lifetime; so we have updated the FAFSA to reflect this change. This change is reflected in 44a and 92a.

Previous Wording — Education credits (Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits) from IRS Form 1040 — line 49 or 1040A — line 31.

Corrected Wording — Education credits (American Opportunity, Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits) from IRS Form 1040 — line 49 or 1040A — line 31.

Issue Two
Combat pay should not be included in other untaxed income not reported elsewhere, whether or not the person was a tax filer; so we have removed the reference “if you are not a tax filer” This change is reflected in 45i and 93i.

Previous Wording — Other untaxed income not reported in items 45a through 45h, such as workers’ compensation, disability, etc. Don’t include student aid, earned income credit, additional child tax credit, welfare payments, untaxed Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Workforce Investment Act educational benefits, on-base military housing or a military housing allowance, combat pay (if you are not a tax filer), benefits from flexible spending arrangements (e.g., cafeteria plans), foreign income exclusion or credit for federal tax on special fuels.

Corrected Wording — Other untaxed income not reported in items 93a through 93h, such as workers’ compensation, disability, etc. Don’t include student aid, earned income credit, additional child tax credit, welfare payments, untaxed Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Workforce Investment Act educational benefits, on-base military housing or a military housing allowance, combat pay, benefits from flexible spending arrangements (e.g., cafeteria plans), foreign income exclusion or credit for federal tax on special fuels. Armed forces families can further clarify student aide tax questions with online software when they file taxes.

Hope this information helps our families as you work through the FAFSA and try to maximize your student financial aid!

Posted in Financial AidComments Off on Final 2010 – 2011 FAFSA Issues Resolved

Gatling Scholarship – What’s In A Name!

Gatling Scholarship – What’s In A Name!

scholarshipsStudents are working hard these days to find additional scholarship opportunities but what if your ability to receive a scholarship was determined the day you left the hospital as a newborn? It is hard to imagine but depending on the name your parents gave to you on your birth certificate, you could be eligible for some awesome college scholarship dollars.

One scholarship program (depicting the scenario above) that I recently came across was established at North Carolina State University by a successful businessman named John Gatling. He was a devoted supporter of NCSU and his desire was that his estate be used for educational scholarships. His only requirement… the grant can only be awarded to a first-time undergraduate degree-seeking student who is born (this is the important part) with the surname of GATLIN or GATLING.

The amount of the grant varies every year and is dependent upon the investment return of the endowment but the Gatling Scholarship program provides approximately $9,000 a year for North Carolina residents and $18,000 for out-of-state residents. Which will more than cover your cost of tuition at NCSU

If your last name is GATLING (or Gatlin) and you are looking for a school with affordable (or free!) tuition, you may want to check out North Carolina State University

The following are the steps required to be considered for the Gatling Scholarship:

  1. Submit a Notification of Interest to the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid.
  2. Submit an NC State Undergraduate Admission application and materials by February 1.
  3. Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at no later than March 1.Be accepted for admission to NC State University no later than April 1.
  4. Submit a copy of a birth certificate, confirming the name Gatlin or Gatling, to the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid.

Since funds can be limited, priority for the scholarship is provided as follows:

  • North Carolina residents attending NC State with the surname Gatlin(g) who demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA
  • Non-North Carolina residents attending NC State with the surname Gatlin(g) who demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA
  • North Carolina residents attending NC State with the surname Gatlin(g) who do not demonstrate financial need.
  • Non-North Carolina residents attending NC State with the surname Gatlin(g) who do not demonstrate financial need.
  • As of the 2002-03 academic year, funds have been available for students attending NC State University only. In the event that additional funding is available, additional priorities will be considered.

Certainly a great opportunity if you have the right surname. If you have any friends that qualify, please be sure to send this scholarship information onto them using the “share tab” below.

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