My nephew Nick graduated from college this year, and his brother Chris will graduate this December. Over the weekend while we were visiting them, I noticed that although they mentioned a number of friends with big student loan debt, neither of them had any– and in fact, Nick has money left from his college budget to help pay for grad school. Their parents set a target for how much they would pay for college; anything beyond that was the student’s responsibility. Here is Nick’s account of how he graduated from the University of Washington in three years with money leftover in his budget: Continue reading From a 2015 College Graduate: Saving Money in College
This article highlights some of the pitfalls of co-signing your student’s loans. If you are considering co-signing, it’s a must-read.
Is your student planning to live off-campus this fall? If so, you can still use funds in your 529 plan to pay for room and board, but you may not be able to cover 100% of the cost from your plan. Be sure to ask your school’s financial aid office what the off-campus room and board allowance is because that’s the maximum “qualified” expense, regardless of what you’re actually paying for room and board. Be careful not to budget– with withdraw from your plan– based on on-campus housing costs because the numbers could be considerably different. For example, standard on-campus housing and a meal plan at the University of Oregon costs $11,430 for the 2015-2016 school year, but the off-campus qualified amount is $9,930.
Congratulations to the class of 2015! If any members of this class are considering private student loans to finance their college years, they must first read this, from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Student Loan Ombudsman.
A few years ago, my niece came out to visit and look at one of our local colleges. Since she had made a long trip, I scheduled her to visit three local schools, not just the one she was interested in. She didn’t like the other two schools; in fact, we left the third right at the start of the tour. What a waste of time, right? Continue reading College Visits
Merit aid is by far the most desirable form of student aid: it typically comes in large amounts and in the form of grants and scholarships. But figuring out in advance how much aid you’re likely to get can be difficult if not downright impossible. So how you do, as a parent, help your student find a good merit aid package before they get their heart set on a college? Continue reading What to Expect in Merit Aid