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When most parents offer to fund their childâs tuition, itâs with the expectation that their financial circumstances will remain relatively unchanged. Even with minor dips in income or temporary periods of unemployment, a solid plan will likely see the child through to graduation.
Unfortunately, what these plans donât tend to account for is a global pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy and job market.
Now, many parents of college-age children are finding themselves struggling to stay afloat – much less afford college tuition. This leaves their children who were previously planning to graduate college with little or no debt in an uncomfortable position.
So if youâre a student suddenly stuck with the bill for your college expenses, what can you do? Read below for some strategies to help you stay on track.
Contact the University
Your first step is to contact the university and let them know that your financial situation has changed. You may have to write something that explains how your parentâs income has decreased.
Many students think the federal government is responsible for doling out aid to students, but federal aid is actually distributed directly by the schools themselves. In other words, your university is the only institution with the authority to provide additional help. If they decide not to extend any more loans or grants, youâre out of luck.
Ask your advisor if there are any scholarships you can apply for. Make sure to ask both about general university scholarships and department-specific scholarships if youâve already declared a major. If you have a good relationship with a professor, contact them for suggestions on where to find more scholarship opportunities.
Some colleges also have emergency grants they provide to students. Contact the financial aid office and ask how to apply for these.
Try to Graduate Early
Graduating early can save you thousands or even tens of thousands in tuition and room and board expenses. Plus, the sooner you graduate, the sooner you can get a job and start repaying your student loans.
Ask your advisor if graduating early is possible for you. It may require taking more classes per semester than you planned on and being strategic about the courses you sign up for.
Fill out the FAFSA
If your parents have never filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) because they paid for your college in full, now is the time for them to complete it. The FAFSA is what colleges use to determine eligibility for both need-based and merit-based aid. Most schools require the FAFSA to hand out scholarships and work-study assignments.
Because the FAFSA uses income information from a previous tax return, it wonât show if your parents have recently lost their jobs or been furloughed. However, once you file the FAFSA, you can send a note to your university explaining your current situation.
Make sure to explain this to your parents if they think filing the FAFSA is a waste of time. Some schools wonât even provide merit-based scholarships to students who havenât filled out the FAFSA.
Get a Job
If you donât already have a job, now is the time to get one. Look at online bulletin boards to see what opportunities are available around campus. Check on job listing sites like Monster, Indeed and LinkedIn. Make sure you have a well-crafted resume and cover letter.
Try to think outside the box. If youâre a talented graphic designer, start a freelance business and look for clients on sites like Upwork or Fiverr. If youâre a fluent Spanish speaker, start tutoring other students. Look for jobs where you can study when things are slow or that provide food while youâre working.
Ask anyone you know for suggestions, including former and current professors, older students and advisors. If you had a job back home, contact your old boss. Because so many people are working remotely these days, they may be willing to hire you even if youâre in a different city.
It may be too late to apply for a Resident Advisor (RA) position now but consider it as an option for next year. An RA lives in the dorms and receives free or discounted room and board in exchange for monitoring the students, answering their questions, conducting regular inspections and other duties.
Take Out Private Loans
If you still need more money after youâve maxed out your federal student loans and applied for more scholarships, private student loans may be the next best option.
Private student loans usually have higher interest rates and fewer repayment and forgiveness options than federal loans. In 2020, the interest rate for federal undergraduate student loans was 2.75% while the rate for private student loans varied from 3.53% to 14.50%.
Private lenders have higher loan limits than the federal government and will usually lend the cost of tuition minus any financial aid. For example, if your tuition costs $35,000 a year and federal loans and scholarships cover $10,000 a year, a private lender will offer you $25,000 annually.
Taking out private loans should be a last resort because the rates are so high, and thereâs little recourse if you graduate and canât find a job. Using private loans may be fine if you only have a semester or two left before you graduate, but freshmen should be hesitant about using this strategy.
Consider Transferring to a Less Expensive School
Before resorting to private student loans to fund your education, consider transferring to a less expensive university. The average tuition cost at a public in-state university was $10,440 for the 2019-2020 school year. The cost at an out-of-state public university was $26,820, and the cost at a private college was $36,880.
If you can transfer to a public college and move back home, you can save on both tuition and housing.
Switching to a different college may sound like a drastic step, but it might be necessary if the alternative is borrowing $100,000 in student loans. Remember, no one knows how long this pandemic and recession will last, so itâs better to be conservative.
The post My Parents Can’t Afford College Anymore – What Should I Do? appeared first on MintLife Blog.
Most people have a love-hate relationship with money. When youâve got cash to spend, you feel fantastic. You can do whatever you want, go wherever you like, and thereâs no worries in your mind. However, when your cash flow starts to dwindle, your entire outlook suddenly goes sour. The high of having cash can mean that you even end up spending it too quickly, so you end up putting yourself in a more difficult situation long-term. Changing your relationship with cash can be one of the first steps to ensuring that you have more of it in your future. If you can take a more positive approach to the way you handle your finances, youâll be less likely to end up in debt. So, how can you change your relationship with money?
Do Your Research
Most people struggle with their financial freedom because they donât actively pay attention to the way that theyâre spending money. You sign up for essential things like gas and electric and continue paying the same bill for months without checking whether you could be getting a better deal elsewhere. Actually doing your research and making sure that youâre not missing out on opportunities to save will ensure that you can discover some quick wins for your cash flow. You could even find that you can get out of debt a lot faster and make a huge difference to your savings account by refinancing your existing student loans and similar debts into a loan with a private lender. One small change can make a big difference.Â
Automate Your Savings
Do you find it hard to stop yourself from spending every penny you earn each month? Youâre not alone. A lot of people who have a difficult relationship with money discover that itâs difficult for them to just have cash sitting in their bank accounts. Thatâs why itâs so important to find an easier way to convince yourself to save. One good option is to open a separate savings account where you can transfer a portion of your earnings every month. You can automate this process by setting up a direct debit to ensure that the cash leaves your account at the same time that you get your wages each month. This means that the next time you check your bank balance, you wonât be tempted to save the cash that should be going to savings.Â
Finally, stop avoiding the opportunity to learn more about money and how it works. Most of us feel so uncomfortable talking about cash that we barely even look at our bank statements. However, only by examining your spending habits can you determine where the best options are for you to make some significant changes. Be willing to develop a better knowledge of how money works, and how youâre using it. Itâs also helpful to learn everything you can about things that can make you more money long-term, like investing in stocks and shares, or setting up savings accounts with extra interest.
3 Ways to Change Your Relationship with Money is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.
The new year is right around the corner and if youâre like most people, youâve probably got a running list of resolutions to achieve and milestones to reach. If getting out of debt ranks near the top, nowâs the time to starting thinking about how youâre going to hit your goal. Developing a clear-cut action plan can get you that much closer to debt-free status in 2016.
1. Add up Your Debt
You canât start attacking your debt until you know exactly how much you owe. The first step to paying down your debt is sitting down with all of your statements and adding up every penny thatâs still outstanding. Once you know how deep in debt you are, you can move on to the next step.
2. Review Your Budget
A budget is a plan that sets limits on how you spend your money. If you donât have one, itâs a good idea to put a budget together as soon as possible. If you do have a budget, you can go over it line by line to find costs you can cut out. By eliminating fees and unnecessary expenses like cable subscriptions, youâll be able to use the money you save to pay off your debt.
3. Set Your Goals
At this point in the process, you should have two numbers: the total amount of money you owe and the amount you can put toward your debt payments each month. Using those two figures, you should be able determine how long itâs going to take you to pay off your mortgage, student loans, personal loans and credit card debt.
Letâs say you owe your credit card issuer $25,000. If you have $500 in your budget that you can use to pay off that debt each month, youâll be able to knock $6,000 off your card balance in a year. Keep in mind, however, that youâll still need to factor in interest to get an accurate idea of how the balance will shrink from one year to the next.
4. Lower Your Interest Rates
Interest is a major obstacle when youâre trying to get out of debt. If you want to speed up the payment process, you can look for ways to shave down your rates. If you have high-interest credit card debt, for instance, transferring the balances to a card with a 0% promotional period can save you some money and reduce the amount of time itâll take to get rid of your debt.
Refinancing might be worth considering if you have student loans, car loans or a mortgage. Just remember that completing a balance transfer or refinancing your debt isnât necessarily free. Credit card companies typically charge a 3% fee for balance transfers and if youâre taking out a refinance loan, you might be on the hook for origination fees and other closing costs.
5. Increase Your Income
Keeping a tight rein on your budget can go a long way. But thatâs not the only way to escape debt. Pumping up your paycheck in the new year can also help you pay off your loans and increase your disposable income.
Asking your boss for a raise will directly increase your earnings, but thereâs no guarantee that your supervisor will agree to your request. If youâre paid by the hour, you can always take on more hours at your current job. And if all else fails, you can start a side gig to bring in more money.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Having a plan to get out of debt in the new year wonât get you very far if youâre not 100% committed. Checking your progress regularly is a must, as is reviewing your budget and goals to make sure youâre staying on track.
Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/BsWei, Â©iStock.com/marekuliasz, Â©iStock.com/DragonImages
The post How to Escape Debt in 2016 appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
More and more are choosing to attend college and work at the same time.
Whether you are working a part-time or a full-time job, it can be tough to balance both. There are many working students in college who are able to manage both, but there are also many who aren’t able to.
If you don’t balance them both correctly, it may lead to stress, lower grades, low-quality work being produced, and more.
No one wants that and I’m sure you don’t either.
Related: 21 Ways You Can Learn How To Save Money In College
This is supposed to be the time of your life where you are growing and changing, not feeling like you are drowning in everything that is going on around you.
There are ways to get around it and manage both successfully at the same time, though.
I took a full course load each and every semester, worked full-time, and took part in extracurricular activities. It was definitely hard and I won’t lie about that. However, sometimes a person doesn’t have a choice and has to do everything at once or maybe you are choosing to multi-task and you are wanting to better manage your time.
Related post: How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500
Whatever your reason may be, below are my tips for working college students. The tips below are what helped save me!
Carefully plan your class and work schedule.
My first tip for working college students is to carefully plan your class and work schedule.
Some students just choose whatever classes are offered. However, it is much wiser to carefully craft your school and work schedule so that everything flows together efficiently with minimal time wasted.
You can do this by researching into what classes are offered when and trying to eliminate any gap that may be in-between each class. Having an hour or two break between each class can quickly add up. Also, if you happen to have time off between classes, then using this time to do your homework and/or study can be a great use of time as well.
Related post: How I’m a Work-Life Balancing Master
Eliminate any time that may be wasted.
There are many time sucks that you may encounter each day. A minute here and a minute there may add up to a few hours wasted each day.
The time you save could be used towards earning more money at your job, studying, socializing, or whatever else it is that you need or want to do. For working college students, every minute is important.
There are many ways to eliminate any time wasters including:
- Cut down on your commute time. If you can find a job near your college campus then you can eliminate a lot of traveling time.
- Prep your meals ahead of time. If you can bulk make your meals instead of individually making each one, you will be able to save a lot of time.
- Be aware of how much time you spend on social media and TV. The average person wastes many, many hours on social media and watching TV. Cutting back on this may save you hours each day without you even realizing it.
Related post: 75 Ways To Make Extra Money
Separate yourself from distractions.
Working college students experience a lot of distractions.
Noise in the background, such as with a TV that is on or a party your roommate may be throwing, can distract you from what you need to be doing. If you are trying to study or do homework then you should try to find a quiet place to get work done.
You may want to close your bedroom door, hide the remote from yourself (trust me, this works!), go to the library, or something else.
Related: 16 Best Online Jobs For College Students
Have a to-do list and a set schedule.
Having a to-do list is extremely helpful for working students in college because you will know exactly what has to be done and by when. You will then have your responsibilities sitting there right in your face so that you will have to face reality.
Plus, I know that when I am stressed it can be easy to forget things, so having a to-do list eliminates any valuable minutes I may waste debating about whether I forgot to do something.
Working students in college need to be realistic.
While one person may be able to work like crazy and attend college at the same time, not everyone can do that.
If your grades are dropping, then you may want to analyze whether you should drop your hours at work or school. What is more important to you at this time and for your future?
With the tips above for working students in college, you’ll be able to rock both your job and your college classes at the same time. Don’t forget to fit in time for fun as well. Good luck!
Are you one of the many working college students out there? Why or why not?
The post How To Balance Working And Going To College appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
All articles about college rankings should perhaps be read with a grain of salt and primarily through a lens of what matters most to individuals about the college experience and what theyâre hoping it will be an investment toward.
Prominent publications and people have conveyed a variety of views about whether college rankings matter:
The editor-in-chief of the Science Family of Journals said no in May 2020. âTo any logical scientific observer, the fine distinctions of where schools show up on this (U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges) list are statistically meaninglessâbut try telling that to a roomful of alumni or parents,â H. Holden Thorp wrote.
Ian Bogost, distinguished chair at Georgia Tech, wrote in The Atlantic in June 2020: âThe absurdity of a numerical ranking mechanism for colleges becomes apparent the moment you look at how U.S. News calculates it. The methodology reads like a Dungeons and Dragons character sheet: 8% for class size; 10% for high-school-class standing; 4.4% for first-to-second-year student retention, and so on.â
But just because the consensus leans toward ânoâ doesn’t mean it should be the last word on anyoneâs ultimate decision about where to go to school.
Even U.S. News & World Report says on its best-colleges website: âThe rankings provide a good starting point for students trying to compare schools. â¦ The best school for each student, experts say, is one that will most completely meet his or her needs, which go beyond academics.â
What Are the College Rankings?
There is no single, ultimate, etched-in-stone set of college rankings. All over the world, there are entities using a wide array of criteria to appraise universities.
Rather than expecting a âyesâ or ânoâ to the question of whether college rankings matter, it would be more beneficial to understand why “It depends” could be more appropriate.
If you’re aiming for an education from a prestigious school, and money is no objectâwell, first of all, congratulations and good luck.
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SoFi Private Student Loans
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The post Do College Rankings Matter? appeared first on SoFi.
In March I offered some financial advice to Michelle, a Mint user who was struggling with debt, a lack of retirement savings and a bit of family financial drama amongst her siblings.
Michelle was anticipating a cash bonus from her company and wasnât sure if she should save the money or use it to relieve her debt.
I recommended a two-prong approach where she uses the cash to play savings catch-up in her retirement account and knock down some of her debt, which, at the time, included a $3,000 credit card balance and $52,000 in student loans.
Six months later, Iâve checked in with the 38-year-old real estate developer, to see if any of my advice was helpful and if sheâs experienced any shifts in her financial life.
We spoke via email:
Farnoosh: Have your finances have improved over the last 6 months since we last spoke? If so, what has been the biggest improvement?
Michelle: Yes. I’veÂ aggressively been contributing to my 401(k) â about 50% of my pay – and had hoped to reach the annual maximum of $18,000 by June, but looks like it will be more like October. I also received a $40,000 distribution from a project that I closed.
F: What aspects of your financial life still challenge you?
M: Investing for sure. I never know if I’m hoarding too much cash. I am truly traumatized from the financial downturn.Â I just joined an online investment platform, but it wasÂ also overwhelming. Currently I have $45,000 in a regular savings account that earns 1.5%.
Another challenge is not knowing whether to just bite the bullet and pay off my student loans or to continue to pay them monthly. Â I hate that I’m still paying loans 16 years after I graduated and it’s a source of frustration [andÂ embarrassment] for me. Â I owe $36,000. Often times I have an inner monologue about the pros and cons of just paying them off but then my trauma from 2008 kicks inâ¦and IÂ decide to keep my $45,000 nest egg safely where I can check the balance daily.
F: I recommended allocating $45,000 towards retirement. Was that helpful? What are some ways you’ve managed to save?
M: Yes, I recall you saying you recommended having a total of $100,000 towards retirement for a person my age. Currently, I have $51,000 in my 401(k), $35,000 in a traditional IRA and $17,000 in my Ellevest brokerageÂ account, so I’ve broken the $100,000 goal.
I did add a car note to my balance sheet. My old car suffered a total loss (major electrical failure due to a sunroof leak!) and the insurance gave me a check for $9,000.Â I used it all towards the new vehicle (aÂ certified used 2014 Acura) and I’m financing $18,000.
F: Your dad’s home was a source of financial stress, it seemed. Were you able to talk with your siblings and arrive at a better place with that?
M: My dad actually has passed since we last spoke. He passed in February and so his will went to probate. My siblings and I have decided not to make any decisions about the house for at least one year. Yes, this is kicking the can further down the street however, they recognize that I maintain the house and pay the real estate taxes and so they are not pressuring me to move or to sell.
The new deed has been recorded and the property is under all our names and so everyone seems ok with knowing that I can’t do anything regarding a sale or refinance unilaterally.
So, for now, I live rent free other than payingÂ utilities, miscellaneous maintenance on the houseÂ and real estate taxes quarterly. This, too, is helping me saveÂ aggressively.
Also, the new car note has replaced the hospice nurse contribution so I’m not feeling that my budget is overburdened with the new car.
I think ultimately I will buy out at least two of my siblings and stay in the house. Verbally they have expressed being okay with this.
Have a question for Farnoosh? You can submit your questions via Twitter @Farnoosh, Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note âMint Blogâ in the subject line).
Farnoosh Torabi is Americaâs leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, sheâs become our favorite go-to money expert and friend.
The post Mint Money Audit 6-Month Check-In: How Did Michelle Allocate Her Windfall? appeared first on MintLife Blog.
It seems pretty normal to me now but people still drop their jaws when I tell them weâve paid over $45K on our loans in less than a year. We still have a year to go and most days I…
The post How We Paid Off Over $45K of Debt in 11 Months appeared first on Modern Frugality.
If you are looking for tips on how to save money as a college student, then one of the top things you need to learn is how to save money on textbooks such as through cheap textbook rentals. In this post, I will be including a Campus Book Rentals review because I used this textbook rental company throughout college and was able to save a great amount of money with cheap textbook rentals.
P.S. I also have a Campus Book Rentals coupon code at the end of the post, so do not miss out on this valuable Campus Book Rentals coupon for the best textbook rental company out there!
When I was in college, I always made sure to save as much money as I could. College is expensive, and everyone knows that. The costs can quickly add up. Between the tuition, lab fees, parking fees, textbook costs, and more, college costs can quickly get out of hand.
I know and understand this. I graduated with around $38,000 worth of student loan debt, and that was even with me carefully managing my costs. Thankfully I paid off my student loans (read about how I paid off my student loans within 7 months), but I do like to help others in as many ways as I can.
According to the National Association of College Stores, the average college student spends around $700 per year on the cost of textbooks.
That could be a total of a little less than $3,000 for a 4 year degree just for the cost of textbooks, and as everyone knows, the cost can actually be much higher than that.
I actually think this number that is estimated is wrong, because I don’t really know anyone who bought their college textbooks and only spent $350 or less from their college bookstore on the cost of textbooks. That wouldn’t have even covered two college textbooks for me from my college bookstore.
When I was in college, many of my college textbooks were around the $200 price for just one textbook, and I often took 7 or 8 classes a semester. This means if I paid full price for each book (whether I bought them online or from my college book store), I would have sometimes paid around $1,600 each SEMESTER!
Or $3,200 a YEAR!
That is just insane.
Below are my tips on the best ways to save money on college textbooks:
Rent your college textbooks through cheap textbook rental websites such as Campus Book Rentals.
When I was in college, I saved a great deal of money by renting my college textbooks. As I said above, college textbooks for me were expensive if I were to not shop around and just stick with the expensive books at the college bookstore. Who wants to waste a ton of money on the cost of textbooks by buying them at full price?
NOT ME! You can save a lot of money on the cost of textbooks by renting them instead.
I often rented my college textbooks that were $200 at my college bookstore for less than $50 for the semester. There are definitely some cheap textbook rentals out there!
I often found cheap textbook rentals for $25 as well That is a STEAL! I always used coupon codes as well, as they can be found everywhere. Lucky you, if you keep reading I have a CampusBook Rentals coupon code as well! 🙂
It was easy to rent textbooks online. Here is the step by step process of renting textbooks online and my Campus Book Rentals review:
- I just had to find my college textbooks online such as on CampusBookRentals. Campus Book Rentals is the best textbook rental I used when I was in college. They made it easy and have a large college textbook selection for students to choose from so that you find the exact textbook you need.
- I would then order the textbook for whatever time frame I needed. You can usually rent them for 45 days, two months, a full semester, or even longer. The longer the time frame, the more expensive they are, of course.
- I would use the textbook for a class. Of course, this is not a surprise!
- Once you are done with the textbook, all you have to do is return it. You will be provided a return label, so the return shipping is absolutely free. You don’t have to worry about the textbook being outdated, a new edition being published, losing money, etc.
I also have a Campus Book Rentals coupon code for 5% off your total purchase plus FREE SHIPPING if you need one as well. I genuinely believe they are the best textbook rental company out there right now, or else I wouldn’t be writing this whale of a Campus Book Rentals review post. The Campus Book Rentals coupon code is snowfall5. All you have to do is click on my affiliate link (the Campus Book Rentals coupon code only works with the affiliate link) and once you are ready to check out, enter snowfall5 as the Campus Book Rentals promotional code.
Skip the college bookstore for cheap textbook rentals or buy textbooks used.
The college bookstore can be a big rip off. Sorry to everyone who has ever worked at one.
I have three college degrees, and have visited the college bookstore many times to compare prices, and I do not think there was a single occurrence where the price at the college bookstore was cheaper than the price I found somewhere else, such as through CampusBookRentals.
Sell your college textbooks.
Some of you might be saying, well why didn’t you just buy your textbooks used and then sell them back, instead of renting college textbooks? Well, this is because it often turned out that whenever I bought a textbook, the very next semester they would be considered “old” because a new edition would be published. No one really buys old editions of finance books as they are considered “outdated” by many professors.
However, there are many instances where selling your college textbooks can be a great idea, and you can make some money as well. If you are looking to save money in college, then you should learn how to sell your college textbooks back so that they aren’t just hanging out in your house collecting dust.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this Campus Book Rentals review and that you learned how to save money on textbooks and a new way on how to save money as a college student.
How do you save money on your college textbooks?
Campus Book Rentals coupon code for the best textbook rental company!
P.S. Here is the Campus Book Rentals coupon again as well since you took your time to read my Campus Book Rentals review. I have a Campus Book Rentals coupon code if you need one for even cheaper cheap textbook rentals. The discount will give you 5% off your total textbook purchase rental plus FREE SHIPPING. The Campus Book Rentals coupon code is snowfall5. All you have to do is click on my affiliate link (the Campus Book Rentals coupon code only works with the affiliate link) and once you are ready to check out, enter snowfall5 as the Campus Book Rentals promotional code. This coupon code is good until April 30, 2015, so you have plenty of time to use it for this semester’s classes.
The post How To Save Money On Textbooks + Campus Book Rentals Review appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.