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Archive | April, 2011

Top Ten Student Financial Literacy Resources On The Web

Top Ten Student Financial Literacy Resources On The Web

When it comes to Student Financial Literacy, nothing can surpass the one-on-one tutorials that mom and dad can provide in the comfort of their home at the kitchen table. However, as young college students move on in life (and usually move out of mom and dad’s house), they need to know that there are a number of solid reliable financial tutorials available 24 hours a day – 7 days a week that they can turn to for financial guidance. The following represents CheapScholar’s picks for the Top Ten Student Financial Literacy Resources on the web. Enjoy!

This student financial literacy resource is provided by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). This non-profit foundation has been around for more than 30 years and is committed to educating Americans on a broad range of financial topics and empowering them to make positive and sound decisions to reach their financial goals. serves as a great resource for students as it speaks to many of the common financial pitfalls they may be encountering during their college years.

Their motto is “Where Fun Meets Financial Literacy Education”.  I have never heard Financial Literacy and Fun in the same sentence before but the Money Club House helps to bridge the two. They teach kids, teens and adults that learning how money works can be fun, motivating and life changing. Their hands-on activities, projects and games help to shape a curriculum geared toward today’s 21st century learning styles. Their online presence provides informative articles and educational testimonies.

One For Your Money

This up and coming financial literacy web resource is the brain child of Mary Johnson. By visiting this site, college students can gain access to a one-stop-shop for financial tips and money management information. Mary brings together videos, articles, and other financial tools on One For Your Money to keep things new and exciting.

No… this is not the federal treasury where all the U.S. currency/coin is created. is a free online budgeting tool that provides the necessary tools for people to meet their financial goals. They attempt to make everything simple and streamlined when it comes to your savings, checking, investment, mortgage and automobile loan goals.

This website should be your number one resource when it comes to managing debt. They provide tools that help to compare credit cards, look at college financing options, track interest rates, maximize tax strategies, identify the best investment and savings vehicles, rate and rank insurance companies, and so much more…

If you are looking for a three pronged approach to financial literacy, then you don’t have to look any further than They utilize an interactive website with a self-paced curriculum and partner it with presentations and a printable guide to help get visitors on the path to financial literacy. It is all free and it is underwritten by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Did you ever purchase something and then have regret about the amount of money you spent? If so, then you may want to check out  It is a nice “reality check”  in the sense that it serves as an outlet for folks to share short videos depicting their outlandish purchases and reflect upon why they shouldn’t have. They currently have over $2 billion dollars of “lousy” purchases tracked on their website. is a great forum for people to talk about adopting good spending habits.

What a great name! Jumpstart’s tag line is “Financial Smarts For Students”.  JumpStart is a national coalition of organizations that are dedicated to improving financial literacy for students between the ages of kindergarten and college. They provide a plethora of online activities and initiatives to help students establish a foundation focused on financial literacy. Ever hear of the Federal Reserve Board? Yep.. that is one of the first permanent members of the JumpStart coalition.

Great Lakes Financial IQ

Great Lakes has long since been recognized by college students around the nation as an education loan servicing agency. Now they are putting their resources into action by providing Financial Literacy for the students in which they serve. Visit Financial IQ to gain great knowledge about student loan repayment, credit ratings, tax basics, identity theft, and more…

This is the financial literacy arm of the U.S. government. represents a collaborative effort of over 22 federal organizations to educate our citizens about proper money management. Not only do they provide a great online resource, they will send you a free personal financial toolkit if you call them at (888) – MyMoney

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Asking For More Financial Aid? Make Sure You Are First In Line

Asking For More Financial Aid? Make Sure You Are First In Line

Financial aid packages are being received across the nation by millions of college bound students. Some of these recipients are enthusiastically elated to see the figures encapsulated in their financial aid award and others may be a little bit depressed and start looking at more financially conducive options. Before you sidestep your first choice school for a cheaper option, you may want to drop a call, email, and letter to the financial aid office to inquire about your chances for more money to offset your tuition expense.

Reports from across the nation are indicating that the financial aid demand from families is reaching record levels:

So, the most important thing you can do is make your case be the most compelling of all and be sure to get your appeal out there early because an onslaught of others are sure to follow. The worst that can happen is the Financial Aid Office will say “no” but lets stay optimistic and hope that they follow-up to your inquiry with some additional assistance.

I recently did an interview with a leading financial aid guru. You should definitely check out the article to gain some insight for the best way to approach a financial aid office. Also, if you are on the fence about negotiating your financial aid package, read this article to help you decide if it is the right approach for your situation.

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What Does EFC Stand For? (video)

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Give Me a Budget – Then I Will Give You a Loan

Give Me a Budget – Then I Will Give You a Loan

Barack Obama declared April to be financial literacy month and one community college in Virginia is taking this declaration very seriously. Tidewater CC is implementing a new approach to how it doles out federal loan dollars to its students.

As part of the federal loan program requirements, every student is required to complete an entrance loan counseling session prior to getting a loan. They also must complete an exit loan interview session upon graduation. There is no getting around it – those are the rules.

Tidewater officials have decided to expand upon the federally required entrance loan counseling session (which usually consists of some rudimentary questions about interest rates, managing debt, and loan repayment) and require students to also submit a budget of how they plan to repay their loans in addition to other expenses they anticipate accruing along the way.  Technically, they have to prepare two budgets – one that reflects repayment of the loans after graduation and another that depicts their plan for repayment if they have to suddenly drop out of college. Once the entrance counseling session is completed and Tidewater’s financial aid office has the required budget documents, they will gladly disburse any and all federal loan dollars in which a student may be eligible to receive.

I think is a great educational approach that Tidewater Community College is taking with its students and their federal loans. I can definitely see some pitfalls: administrative burden, just another hurdle for students trying to gain access to education, etc… However, many students go through the motions of securing federal (and private) education loans and never give it a second thought of what the ramifications will be for them once they have to enter into repayment. As total student loan debt surpasses credit card debt in our nation, financial literacy processes such as Tidewater’s are probably going to be more common among college campuses that are looking to provide a solid financial awareness foundation for their students (and future alumni).

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Creative Ways To Start Saving For Your Child’s College Fund

Creative Ways To Start Saving For Your Child’s College Fund

The following is a guest post by George Gallagher. He is a personal finance blogger and frugality coach that helps post-grad students manage their private student loans with

As a parent, saving for your child’s college education might seem to be a daunting task. College tuition is extremely expensive, no doubt. However, the payoff of seeing your child attend and graduate from college can hardly be matched.

So at what age should you start saving for your child’s college education? There really is no concrete answer to this question, however it makes sense to start saving for their college education as soon as possible. For instance, if you only invested $100 a month for 18 years, that will yield $48,000 assuming an 8% average annual return.

Most parents think that saving for college has to be some kind of enormous task, however just $100 a month can make such a huge difference. You can also look into different kinds of college savings plans such as the 529 which will allow you to really start a substantial savings plan in plenty of time for your child to go to college.

Another component of making sure that your child gets to attend a good college or university is pushing them in their academics through high school. By getting good grades and being a strong member of their school and community, kids are able to get very good scholarship opportunities. It can’t be understated that children need to work towards excelling in high school so that they can also apply for these opportunities. Of course, there are also grants and different programs in each state that may provide additional funds for a child to go to college.

Some experts believe that a portfolio which is heavily invested in stocks is the best way to build savings over the long term. As a child gets closer to college age, you can always move that money into bonds or even cash. Remember that you don’t have to save the entire four years of college all at once. There are federal, state and private grants and loans which can help to fill in the gaps between what you’ve saved and the tuition bill.

Mutual funds are another great way to save for college as they’re not quite as volatile as stocks. This means that you don’t have to watch the markets daily to see how your money is performing. As mentioned earlier, the 529 savings plan is also a good way to save for college because it offers tax breaks.

So how do you start saving for college right now? There are numerous ways to start saving for college including doing the simplest things such as garage sales, selling items in online auctions and even taking on part-time job. There is also something to be said for having your child work as soon as they’re able because they need to be contributing to their own future as well.

Remember that it’s also important for you to save for your own retirement even ahead of the child’s college fund. There are many kids who pay their own way through college by working hard and getting scholarships. Depending upon your child’s educational abilities, they should be striving towards getting these grants and scholarships to help offset as much of the college tuition costs as possible. By getting involved in different civic organizations, kids can also get specific scholarships associated with those groups.

If you have a full-time job, check with your employer to see if there are any educational benefits that might be useful for your child. Some offer tuition assistance programs based upon a child’s grades each quarter or semester. These are also great way for the parent to go back to college by using part of their employer’s tuition assistance program.

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How To Appeal A Student Loan Denial From Sallie Mae

How To Appeal A Student Loan Denial From Sallie Mae

It is not uncommon for families to implement a private education loan into their approach to paying for college. For some families this form of payment is the only option. So imagine the anxiety that quickly ensues when they receive a denial notification verses an approval notice on their recent loan application. The good news is that many lenders have an appeal process. The bad news is that the process takes time and most families like to get this type of situation resolved ASAP.

Since Sallie Mae is one of the largest education lenders in the nation, I thought that it would be a good idea to share with our readers the best way to appeal their Smart Option Student Loan if you are one of the unlucky ones that gets denied on your application due to an adverse credit history.

Although Sallie Mae is sometimes portrayed in the media as being a 500lb heartless gorilla in the education loan sector, the truth of the matter is that they actually do try to help their borrowers and are willing to listen to your story as to why your credit history may not be as stellar as you had hoped. I recently talked with Joe Fries, a long-standing representative with Sallie Mae, and he was able to share some key information to help walk families through the appeal process.

Some situations that may warrant an appeal of your denied loan application are as follows:

  • Temporary credit issues due to divorce
  • Disputed credit record based upon a billing error
  • Natural disasters: Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc..
  • Medical emergencies
  • Temporary loss of job

If your Sallie Mae loan is denied and you think that you have a compelling story to overturn that decision, the following are the steps that you want to take right away:

  1. Contact the Sallie Mae Appeal Hotline at (800) 695-3317 (There is no form to fill out and all appeals are initiated via this phone number)
  2. Talk with the representative and share your story. If they deem it a plausible explanation, they will pass your information onto the credit department for further review.
  3. It is possible that Sallie Mae will ask you to provide 3rd party documentation to help support your claims. If this is the case, you will can send that information to them via one of the following methods:
    1. Fax: (888) 777-7562
    2. Email:
    3. Mail: Sallie Mae P.O. Box 9435 Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9435
    4. Overnight Mail: Sallie Mae 220 Lasley Ave Wilkes-Barre, PA 18706
  4. Now you just wait… Depending on the workload being experienced by Sallie Mae, it could take up to a week for your case to be reviewed and a decision made by the credit reconsideration team.
  5. If all of the above fails, then it is probably time to start looking for another co-signer to help make the loan happen. Sallie Mae does currently have a co-signer release option that could allow the co-signer to be released from the loan 12 months after the student graduates (however…underwriting requirements must be met in order for this to happen).

I hope that you found this information useful. If you think this article would benefit someone else, please feel free to utilize the “share tab” below to pass it along.

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Money Tips For College Students (video)

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Going Beyond Tuition When Factoring College Expenses

Going Beyond Tuition When Factoring College Expenses

We all know that the cost of college is a moving target. Some of your charges are billed directly from the school, some are offset by financial aid, and some are added “soft-costs” that you pick up along the way. It is hard to figure out the exact expense that your checkbook will absorb over the 4 year span but the following info-graphic helps to shed light on some of the more common non-tuition education expenses that you will experience (click on the picture for the full-size version):

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