College Planning Specialists

August 14, 2007

10 Alternative Methods To Cut College Costs

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The incredible costs of a college education has every parent and student concerned for their future plans. The following is a list of 10 methods to cut college costs. The list is provided by www.bankrate.com and it could provide help to those people looking for any room to breathe.

1. Get College Credit in High School: Students can take AP college credited classes, with the help of a knowledgeable counselor, which will help to cut down on the number of courses need to graduate from college. Most AP courses are paid for by the high schools so as not to deter students from enrolling.

2. Junior Colleges: If you can convince your student, spending the first year or two in college at a JC is a huge cost savings. In many cases, students have yet to declare a major. In these cases, general education requirements can be fulfilled at a JC. The cost savings in tuition, books, supplies, housing, food, and travel may give a student and parent a head start on costs for graduate tuitions.

3. Cash in on Tax Credits: “What students need to know is that there’s the Hope and the Lifetime Learning tax credits,” says Joseph M. Re, author of “Financial Aid Financer: Expert Answers to College Financing Questions.”

“If you play those right, you can pick up $7,000 from Uncle Sam (over a four-year period) to pay for college. The Hope credit provides a $1,500 tax credit for each student for the first two years of college, as long as you are the one paying for college — rather than the federal government or private financial aid. (Parents who claim the student as a dependent on their tax return would be eligible for the credit.) The key to taking advantage of this credit, Re says, is to plan ahead and be aware of the stipulations.”

4. Rewards for Public Service: Some organizations like Americorps, the Peace Corps and Teach for America all offer educational service awards to students seeking cash for college.

5. Work for the College: According to Susan Hall her job with the University of Richmond (VA) comes with the “school’s tuition remission program which allows her, her spouse, and any of her dependents to attend the university for free, provided that they have the grades and test scores to make it into the school.” The benefits are obvious.

6. Pay Lower Out of State Tuition: Due to the complexity of this strategy, I am quoting www.bankrate.com :

“Get an out-of-state education, pay an in-state price. That’s the beauty of the Academic Common Market. Designed for students who can’t find their desired program of study in-state, the Academic Common Market allows students from any of the 16 member states to enroll in an institution in another member state without footing an out-of-state tuition bill. Reciprocity agreements such as the Academic Common Market, the National Student Exchange, and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (which allows students to attend out-of-state public schools in member states at 150 percent the cost of in-state public school tuition or offers a ten percent discount at out-of-state private schools in member states) are some of the best-kept secrets of the financial aid world. If you’ve got your eye on an esoteric program of study (18th century French architecture?) or are set on a certain out-of-state school, taking advantage of a reciprocity agreement can save you money.”

7. Refinance Your Home: The home is normally the greatest asset a parent can count on for quick cash. A cash out refinance can provide the majority of funds needed to get a student through to their degree.

8. Qualify Student as “Independent”: “If you qualify as an independent and your income is very low, you probably would be eligible for a Pell grant which would be for $4,100 and you would probably be eligible for an FSEOG grant which would be another $4,000,” says Joseph Re. An independent student therefore would have a much easier time qualifying for grant monies than a family with an income in excess of $50,000 per year.

* Consult your tax accountant or attorney on all of the strategies outlined here but especially this one.

9. Attend a “Work College” : Work Colleges allow a student to work a part time job at the university between 10-20 hours per week. The becomes an employee of the college and as such earn a sizable reduction in tuition costs. Check out the Work College Consortium.

10. Establish Residency in the State of your College choice: “If you really want to pay in-state prices, the best way to do that is simply to live in-state before you enroll in school. To establish residency, independent students or families (when students are dependent) must show proof of living in state for at least one year prior to enrolling in school. Remember to throughly check and investigate the requirements of each state/college in regards to residency. Check out The College Board’s Web site.

 

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August 1, 2007

University Charter Academy High School of Oakland Forced to Close Under Avalanche of Pressure

Filed under: Colleges,High Schools,SAT Testing,Scandal — deansguide @ 1:59 am

In a follow up story to the controversy and questions surrounding Oakland’s University Charter Academy high school, the governing board for the school voted 3-1 to close the school down. The vote, amid allegations of cheating on test scores, manipulation of student grades and transcript, and fraudulent collection of state funding, sealed the fate of the troubled institution.

Now deposed founder Isaac Haqq had no comment to this latest announcement. Haqq’s resignation on July 12 fueled the storm of controversy that Uprep was never able to overcome.

In a previous notice, Oakland Unified School officials threatened to repeal the school’s charter if the Uprep governing board didn’t fix a avalanche of problems which included violations of California’s public meeting laws.

For further information regarding high school or college financing contact Dean Guadagni at ddguad@aol.com

How Previlent are College Scholarship Scams?

College tuition costs have been running out of control for decades, as students and parents search for answers to how they will finance an education. The sheer desperation of this problem has spawned a growing concern amongst families: the college scholarship scam. The Federal Trade Commission along with the Department of Education have been attempting to police this growing problem. Part of their program is to raise awareness of the scams, what to look for in a scam, and how to avoid these predators.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), any good “huckster” worth his sleezy salt will tryout the following lines in order to get into your pocketbook:

* “You can’t get this information anywhere else!”

* “Your a finalist”. . . in a contest you never entered

* “We will do all the work”

* “I just need your credit card number or bank account number to hold this scholarship”

* “The scholarship will cost some money”

* “You have been selected by a ‘national foundation’ to received a scholarship”

* “The Scholarship is guaranteed or your money back”

If you or your family decide to attend a seminar on college financing or scholarships be aware of the following steps which may help you from making a big mistake:

* “Do a background investigation, via Google and other search engines, on the company providing scholarship help. Interview a financial adviser or guidance counselor. You may be able to get the same help for free.

*Take your time at the seminar, don’t rush to sign a contract on the spot, and remember that “great opportunities” are those that are not sold on a rakish pressurized basis. *

*Be wary of “success stories” or testimonials of extraordinary success. Stories related at a seminar are just unsubstantiated rumors. Ask for a list of at least three local families who’ve used the services in the last year.

* Do not purchase from salespeople who are unwilling or vague when answering your questions. If it feels funny and sounds funny it most likely is not right.

*Ask the cost of the service, the types of services performed, and the company’s refund policy. If this information is NOT in writing it is worthless to you the consumer.

The FTC recommends that parents consult a Certified Public Accountant before agreeing to any “scholarship” or group which claims to help students receive scholarship monies. Their preferred company is College Parents of America at http://www.collegeparents.org.

If you have any questions please contact either Dan Evertsz or Dean Guadagni at dean_guadagni@yahoo.com

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