SAT Test Dates

Generally you are better off waiting to take the SAT until you’ve done enough test preparation to do the absolutely best you can. That’s because by the time junior or senior year rolls around, it can be tough to change your GPA by much, but even a little prep can make a big difference in test scores.

This year, however, many schools are asking students applying for early decision or early action to take the October or November test. That’s because SAT results have been coming out more slowly since the test changed, and later test dates are not likely to have scores available in time for ED or EA.

If you are thinking of applying ED or EA, now is a great time to check with the school about the latest SAT test date. And to get on some test prep before school hits full gear. You don’t want to find out that you don’t have time left to prepare.

Getting Money out of Your 529

Many of you have already made your first tuition payment; apologies if this is coming too late! If you’re getting to the point of making college payments, you need to make sure the relevant bank accounts are attached to your 529 plan. If you’ve been contributing to the plan, it’s pretty likely that yours is already. But your student’s probably isn’t, and if you want money from the 529 distributed to them (here is a previous post on why you Continue reading Getting Money out of Your 529

Summer Jobs and FAFSA

The FAFSA’s new timing– fall instead of spring and prior-prior income year– means that many students’ summer jobs will have a bigger impact on their EFC. That’s because any amount of money they made that is still in their bank account when they fill out the FAFSA is an asset that will be assessed at 20%. (Remember, students don’t get an asset protection allowance.) Need-eligible families may want to consider a couple of steps to Continue reading Summer Jobs and FAFSA

Don’t be a Stealth Applicant

Stealth applicants are a buzzword in college admissions these days. What is a stealth applicant? It’s someone who applies to a school without ever having interacted with that school prior to the application. It’s become increasingly common as it’s become easier to get information about schools without interacting with them. But if you’re really Continue reading Don’t be a Stealth Applicant

Borrowing: Where to Start

I’ve probably said this before, but there are families staring down tuition payments for the first time right around now. Most families use a combination of savings, cash flow and borrowing to pay for college. The first two are reasonably straightforward; they’re yours, after all. Borrowing is more complicated, and chances are that if you have a high school student, you’re getting lots of mail about education loans that are available to you. Continue reading Borrowing: Where to Start

Dept. of Ed. Freezes Loan Discharge Program

The federal Department of Education last week froze two Obama-era changes in student loan programs aimed to protect students against predatory for-profit schools. The first program allowed students to have their loan debt erased if the school acted fraudulently or otherwise cheated the student. The second program, known as the Gainful Employment Mandate, cut off federal loan funds for colleges whose graduates did not earn enough money to pay off their loans. The loan discharge rules were set to go into effect on July 1. Read more here.

Can You Use a Roth IRA for College? Should You?

Today’s post is written by a fellow fee-only advisor, Greg Phelps, CFP®, CLU®, AIF®, AAMS®, of Redrock Wealth Management

Saving for a child’s college education is perhaps one of the most noble things a parent will ever do. It’s also one of the toughest financial goals to tackle, because similar to healthcare costs, college expenses have risen across the board at 5% per year. Continue reading Can You Use a Roth IRA for College? Should You?

Student Debt for Women

The AAUW recently released a report titled, “Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans.” The report points to a side effect of women’s increased educational attainment in recent decades: College-educated women hold a disproportionate share of outstanding student loan debt. While the AAUW’s report focuses on women, it points out that most historically under-served college populations have seen their share of the debt pie rise at a higher rate than their share of diplomas.

While women receive 57% of bachelor’s degrees from American colleges and universities, they hold about 2/3 of outstanding student debt. The report cites several reasons for this:

  • Women take out larger loans on average than do men; the average accrued student debt upon attainment of a bachelor’s degree is $1,500 higher for women than for men.
  • Women with college degrees earn an average of 26% less than do college-educated men, leaving them with less income available to repay loans.
  • For-profit institutions– which tend to leave their graduates with the worst debt outcomes– enroll women and minorities at higher rates.

Anyone borrowing for college needs to keep their likely career and salary trajectory in mind when deciding how much to borrow. The report also includes some institutional and policy recommendations for helping maintain access to higher education without creating undue burdens on students and graduates. The full report is available here.