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Archive | July, 2011

Warning! – Double Digit Tuition Increases Ahead

Warning! – Double Digit Tuition Increases Ahead

The title of this article could probably reflect what a street sign would look like if it were placed near a campus that was getting prepared to hike tuition rates by at least 10%…or more.

Tuition increases have far outpaced inflation over the years but I have been a little hopeful lately as I see more and more colleges implementing modest to no increase in their tuition rate. That was of course until I got news about some recent bumps in tuition that students will be feeling next academic year in their wallets.

The first is Temple University, found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They recently announced that they will be increasing tuition by 10 percent for in-state students and 5.4 percent for out-of-state students for the coming academic year. The percentage increase impact in dollars comes to about $1,200. The total in-state tuition at Temple will be $13,006 and the out-of-state tuition will be $22,832.

The second is the University of Tennessee college system. The trustees recently voted in approval of a 12 percent tuition increase at their main campus. This will bring the Knoxville campus’s annual tuition rate to $8,396. Ten percent increases were also approved for the satellite campuses located in Martin and Chattanooga.

To the credit of each of these Universities, the double digit increases were not adopted without hesitation and it does appear that a decrease in state funding is to blame in each situation (or at least that is what University officials are claiming)… Of course, I have already offered my solution to all the state budget woes and the impact it has on education funding for colleges.

If you are a student that is attending one of the colleges above, or you just find yourself having a difficult time absorbing the tuition increases at your school, I encourage you to check out this article for help in dealing with rising college costs. Also, it never hurts to browse over our College Resource Center for additional assistance and ideas.

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CLEP: An Alternative Form of College Credit for Everyone

CLEP: An Alternative Form of College Credit for Everyone

Whenever I have dropped the word CLEP into a paying for college presentation, I get an unusual look from the attendees as though I just mentioned some foreign disease that their college bound student may be exposed to on a university campus. Even though CLEP is not a disease, it is foreign territory for most people. Keeping this in mind, I recently invited Luke Macias from to shine some light on the CLEP process and how it can be used to get a jump start on earning your college degree. The following is what Luke has to share about the CLEP process.

Many college students today are looking for more ways to get college credit for the knowledge they already have. For many, the first two years of college is a review of high school. Students cover Math, Science, English, Literature, History, etc. These are all subjects students have already covered at some point in high school. So what do they do?

CLEP stands for (College Level Examination Program). These are multiple-choice tests which students can take on 33 different subjects. If a student is able to pass a CLEP test on a given subject they are given college credit for the course as if they had taken the actual class.

CLEP tests can be taken at your local college and you will usually sign up for the test through their learning and testing centers. These tests are available throughout the year and are typically offered several days out of the week.

CLEP tests are only $78 per test. Students usually have to pay $15-$20 to the college testing center as a proctor fee. When you do the math it’s no surprise students are flocking to CLEP tests more and more as each semester goes by. CLEP tests will continue to grow in popularity as students continue to look for flexible and accelerated ways of cutting their college bill.

One tip I pass on to every student I talk to is they should study for one CLEP at a time. Most colleges force you to study 4-6 subjects at once which makes it harder to really dive into a subject. When taking CLEP tests students are put in the driver’s seat when it comes to how they study. Most students will retain more information if they study for one test at a time. This one tip will help students pass their CLEP at a quicker rate and retain more of the information they are studying.

When you look at all of the transformation that is going on in higher education today, CLEP stands out as a method of learning that will help define the obtaining of college credit into the future.

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529 College Savings – Success Story (video)

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Check It Out – CheapScholar Is Going Mobile!

Check It Out – CheapScholar Is Going Mobile!

It appears that a passion for smart mobile devices is sweeping our nation (and even the world). As more and more of these little hand held wonders make their way into our lives, it only makes sense that adapts the manner in which we deliver our information to our readers.

So, as of this week, the good news for all of our mobile readers accessing our site via your iPhone and Android platforms is that you are now experiencing a simpler way of viewing all the great content and resources provided on! We hope you enjoy the new layout for your mobile devices and please be sure to share your positive experience with other smart phone users.

If you have a mobile device and you would like to take a test drive of our new mobile platform, scan the following QR code with your phone and it will take you directly to our College Resource Center.

For those that are utilizing iPhones, when you visit the site you will be provided the option to add to your list of icons on your phone. If you want quick access to our resources, all you have to do is follow the prompts (tapping the + sign) to add the following icon to your phone.

Here is a screen shot of what our mobile home page looks like:

Here is a look at all of our menu options:

I hope you enjoy the new mobile platform on We are always looking at ways in which we can improve the CheapScholar experience for our readers. If you have additional suggestions, please feel free to drop us a line.

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Going To College & Living The American Dream

Going To College & Living The American Dream

Going to college is not for everyone. However, for those that do, here is a great infographic from our friends at Overture Student Loan Marketplace that shows the benefits of getting a college education. They also share some great tips in making the college experience affordable. You can click on the picture to enjoy it in full size.

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5 Cost Saving Tips For College Students

5 Cost Saving Tips For College Students

This is a Student Financial Literacy moment brought to you by Chi Norris for iGrad.

There is no question that getting a degree, whether through traditional universities or through online education, can be very costly. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the average cost to attend a private institution is approximately $35,000. While public college costs significantly less, the amount can still be significant for students on a budget. Here are some ways to minimize the costs associated with getting a good education.

1. Be patient in filling out government financial aid forms

For those who are on track to get their first bachelor’s degree, the U.S. federal government is offering the Pell Grant which students can use to fund some part of their education without having to repay it after graduation. There are many other wonderful financial aid options through the government, but students must make the effort to submit all the needed documents before a deadline arrives. Doing all that can be a bit tedious and a bit of a hassle to some, but it is well worth time.

2. Be a disciplined student

Failing classes or dropping out in the middle of a semester is a big waste of money. For this reason, students must aim to develop good study habits and fulfill all the necessary requirements needed to pass a class. This advice is especially important for those pursuing online education because succeeding at these self-paced programs will require effective time management and an independent work ethic.

3. Make use of libraries

The high costs of textbooks are a major concern for many students. One way to help solve that problem is to borrow required reading materials from city or on-campus libraries. Not all textbooks are available through libraries, but having access to free material once in a while can save students a good amount of money for their education. As an added bonus, libraries often have free wireless Internet connection, which means that students can virtually eliminate Internet bills from their budget.

4. Pack a lunch

Buying a soda pop here and a bag of potato chips there can end up costing students a lot more money than they think. Small expenses add up; the best way to eliminate these is to bring food to school as much as possible. Students will find it easier to stay on a food budget if they have a whole weekend to plan their groceries instead of just spending money on fast food meals while rushing to their next class.

5. Party moderately

Being a student can be fun. It is a time to develop relationships and enjoy life. However, they must be cautious on how much they spend on their entertainment. It is always important to set personal limits and to have the fortitude to resist temptations to engage in excessive behavior.

Wise students know that their money should go towards the building of their future and not on short-term pleasures that they will later regret. Saving money for school is simple, but it requires discipline.

About The Author: Chi Norris is a writer and visual artist who likes painting, poetry, and reading memoirs. She graduated with a B.A. in English and plans to embark upon an MBA in the very near future. We are pleased to have Chi (iGrad) as a contributor for

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ABC News – Covering College Costs (video)

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Allow Extra Processing Time For Private Education Loans (Reg Z)

Allow Extra Processing Time For Private Education Loans (Reg Z)

Summer marks a great time to be traveling on vacation, having cookouts with friends and family, and hanging out by the swimming pool. However, it is also the time of year when Fall billing statements are sent by colleges and universities around the country. I am sure if you had your choice of summer activities, paying your fall tuition bill would probably rank pretty low. But, before you put that tuition bill on the back-burner, it is important that you know the time frame that you may encounter if you are using private education loans to cover your college expenses.

Last year (February 14th to be exact), the Higher Education Opportunity Act implemented regulation Z which mandates that a series of disclosures be distributed to borrowers at key steps throughout the private education loan process. The underlying goal is to make sure students and families exhaust all of their federal loan options before moving forward with a private education loan. In addition, the disclosures serve as an educational tool to help borrowers fully understand the terms of their loan program.

There are multiple disclosures that you should encounter when applying for a private education loan:

  • Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure: Schools or lenders are required to provide general information about loan rates, fees, and terms and must also inform a prospective borrower of the potential availability of federal student loans and the interest rates for those loans, and where to locate additional information.
  • Loan Approval Disclosure: When the school or lender approves the borrower’s application for a private education loan, they must give the borrower a transaction-specific disclosure, including information regarding the rate, fees and other terms of the loan including total repayment figures (very similar to the 1st disclosure). However, at this time, they must also notify the borrower that the rates and approval are good for 30-days. This allows the borrower time to shop-around… This disclosure is required for a first time loan as well as a private student loan consolidation.
  • Self-Certification Form(Designed by the Department of Education): Must be completed by the borrower and collected by the lender/school prior to any private loan disbursement.
  • Loan Consummation Disclosure: This, again, is very similar to the other disclosures already received by the borrower regarding terms and rates. The only additional piece of information that is provided is the 3-day right of refusal clause. Which means that funds can’t be disbursed to your college until after that Loan Consummation Disclosure is provided.

I am not sure what you think about all of these disclosures but it is starting to remind me of the paperwork that is required to be signed and initialled at a house closing. It could be very easy for your eyes to glaze over through this process but the disclosures do serve a purpose and the information provided on them is helpful when you are are trying to discern your total education loan indebtedness.

If you are getting a private education loan to cover your college expenses, the important thing for you to do is start the process as soon as possible. The earlier you get your loan paperwork complete (and all the disclosures filed away), the better your chances of meeting any payment deadlines imposed by the college. And, as we all know, paying by the due date does have it’s advantages — no late payment penalty fees and your registration doesn’t get cancelled. 😉

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