COLLEGE COMPASS -- College Tips at a Glance
CRASH COLLEGE TIPS
Crash Course Tips when picking a college, go beyond the normal search
criteria, such as majors offered, academic reputation, and distance from home,
and inquire about innovative tuition aid features. These may include matching
scholarships, sibling scholarships, guaranteed cost plans, installment plans,
special middle income assistance programs, tuition remission for high grades,
All factors being equal, pick colleges most likely
to offer you a financial aid package rich in grants and scholarships you don't
have to repay. Such a package is a lot better than one made up of loans which
will saddle you with a repayment burden for many years after graduation. Best
bet: Any school in which your academic record places you in the upper 25% of
the profile of the incoming freshman class. Always send applications to two colleges of equal
merit. Educational - On Line Colleges Home Page
- Correspondence Degree Route. Here you win a sheepskin from an accredited
school without ever leaving home or job. Such a diploma will cost less in money
and time than if it had been earned through campus attendance. External degrees
offer academic credit for documented learning and experience you have already
acquired, and couples these with formal assessments.
- Do Four Years Work in Three. You must attend summer school, but the
compressed time will save you the "inflationary increase" of the fourth year.
On a similar note, try not to spend extra years getting through college.
- Spend Some Time at a Community College. Work hard. Get good grades. Transfer
to a solid four-year institution. Educational - On Line College Home Page
- Understand How Need Analysis Works. By knowing the formulas , the
family can present its financial picture in such a way as to obtain a more
favorable need analysis. Educational - On Line Financial Home Page
- Try Some "What If?" Calculations. But first, learn how need analysis works.
A typical "what if": Is this a good time for mom or dad to finish their college
work, along with son and daughter? Or will it be more advantageous,
financially, for your parent to go back to work and help with expenses? You'll
be surprised at the dollar figures generated by "what if" drills.
- Don't Pass Up the Entitlement Programs. Billions in low-interest, subsidized
federal student loans go unused each year simply because students think they
are ineligible, don't bother to go through the paper work hassle, or just don't
know about the program.
Educational - On Line Educational Loans Home Page
- Private Loans. Search for a low-interest, private loan. Numerous states
have set up loan authorities which float tax-exempt bonds to raise student loan
money. And colleges themselves have received permission to issue such bonds. At
the same time, private banks are becoming more innovative in sponsoring
combination savings/lending plans. Educational - On Line Educational Loans Home Page
- Borrow against the House Go to college on the house. Many home owners have
accumulated large amounts of equity in their houses and they want to put it to
work. Your strategy: Releasing this equity either through a line of credit or
through refinancing the first mortgage. Educational - On Line Educational Loans Home Page
- Negotiate With the Financial Aid Administrator . The FAA will present you
with a package of assistance that should, in theory, cover the difference
between what college costs and what your family can contribute. If you feel the
college really wants you, because you are a brain or an athlete or the child of
an alumnus or can help with meeting a geographic or minority quota, you may
want to negotiate the content of the package. Your objective: To increase the
grant component (money that doesn't have to be repaid) and reduce the loan
component (money you must repay).
- Try for an Academic Scholarship. Over 1200 colleges offer academic
scholarships to students with a B average and SAT scores of 900 or more. Most of these
scholarships are not based on financial need. If you are just outside the SAT eligibility
range for one of these awards, take a good SAT preparation course.
Educational - On Line Scholarships Home Page
- Go the Cooperative Education Route. Over 900 colleges offer co-op education
programs. Alternate formal study with periods of career-related work. Earn up
to $7,000 per year during the work phase. It may take an extra year to win the
degree, but it will be easier on the pocketbook. Educational - On Line
CO-OP Program Page
- Athletic Student Aid. Students who are better than average in a variety
of sports, ranging from tennis to golf to lacrosse. A great many colleges seek
people who can be developed into varsity material. The rewards come in two
forms: outright scholarships or an "improved" financial aid package. Educational -
On Line Special Areas - Athletics Page
- Acceleration. Can you get credit for a semester or a year of college work?
You can through the Advanced Placement Program or by enrolling in college
courses in high school. When credits can cost as much as $300 each, receiving
tuition credit for academic credit leaves money in the bank.
- Be An Accurate, Early Bird. Be as accurate as possible in filling out
financial aid forms. Submit them as early as you can. When resources are tight,
it's first-come, first-served. Those who must resubmit their forms and those
who are slow in applying come in at the end of the line. By then, all the money
- Check the Military Offerings. Reserve enlistments are especially
attractive. For a hitch in the National Guard you can pick up a state benefit,
a federal bonus, partial loan forgiveness, drill pay, sergeant stripes (if you
also participate in ROTC), and in some cases, tuition remission at the state
university. And these are not either/or opportunities. You can have most of
them, or all of them.Educational - On Line Military Page
- Be a Teacher. Individual colleges, most states, and
Uncle Sam all have loan forgiveness programs for prospective teachers. Go this
route and your education will cost you very little. You contribute to the well-being
of hundreds of scholars-to-be. And you're still young enough to begin a different career
if teaching is not for you.
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