College Planning Specialists

November 15, 2007

San Francisco Bay Area: One of the Highest Quality Education Centers in the Universe

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The quality and quantity of educational institutions in the Bay Area are two of the driving factors for many home buyers in today’s Real Estate market. With the recent college loan scandal hitting the front pages all over the country, a renewed emphasis is being placed upon real estate agents to act as valuable sources of information during the home buying process.

Agents in the Bay Area are becoming “experts” on school systems, high schools, colleges, & universities within the areas they are selling real estate. The following is a reminder of the Bay Area’s quality educational opportunities at the university & high school levels:

*Stanford University: Palo Alto, California–Stanford University has long been considered one of the elite educational institutions in the United States. Stanford’s proud tradition places it on the same level as the best Ivy League schools. The Stanford blog is a great resource for incoming students. Some of Stanford’s academic credentials (National Rankings) as provided by US News & World Report:

Law school rank #3 ; Business school rank #2

Engineering rank #2 ; Biological Science rank #1

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Courtesy www.wikipedia.org

*University of California at Berkeley: Berkeley, California–Another titan in the scholastic world, U.C. Berkeley has long been considered one of the preimenent breeding grounds for future legal and business professionals. With a long history of social and political activism the university is a unique institution. The following are national rankings provided by US News & World Report:

Law school rank #8 ; Business school rank #8 ; Engineering school rank #3

Sciences (Biological) rank #2 ; Psychology (Clinical) rank #2

*University of San Francisco: San Francisco, California–USF is one of the highest ranked medical institutions in the country. USF is a cutting edge leader in medical research. US News & World Report national rankings for USF:

Medical Research rank #5 ; Primary Care rank #8 ; Internal Medicine rank #3

Drug & Alcohol rank #3 ; AIDS Research rank #1 ; Women’s Health rank #2

The Bay Area is also home to Santa Clara University; Saint Mary’s; San Francisco State University; San Jose State; and a rich Junior College system numbering 22 campuses throughout the region.

The region supports a vast number of outstanding college preparatory high schools. The following is a small sampling:

*The Branson School: Ross, California–Branson is considered one of the finest prep schools in the nation; tuition weighs in at $28,575 making it one of the most expensive high schools as well.

*University High School: San Francisco, California–University High School established in 1973 has a well earned reputation as a supreme academic prep school. Tuition is in the Branson range, $27,300, and so is it’s reputation for excellence.

*Bentley School: Lafayette, California–Bentley is a progressive institution with split campuses. One campus is for grade school level and junior high students; the high school prep level students reside on another campus. Tuition for grade 9-12 is $22,995.

Although this is a tiny sampling, it is representative of the quality of education that is attainable at the prep school and the university levels in the Bay Area. Consult your local Realtor for more information about the schools available in your community of choice.

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October 18, 2007

College Planning Specialists: What the Nation’s 6 Largest Student Loan Providers Do NOT Want You To Know

In my last article, I began the process of throughly outlining what is one of the most overlooked yet greatest methods of financing a college education: College Planning Specialists. In previous months I have reported on the banking scandal that rocked University of Texas and other large institutions. This scandal involved the use of kick backs and illegal perks or payments made to large university student loan counselors. The trade off being those university officials would “steer” students and families into a loan program, from the kickback inducing bank, that was detrimental to the family.

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In June of this year, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York outlined and implemented a Code of Conduct plan for the 6 largest student loan lenders. Cuomo’s plan includes the following 7 provisions:

1. Ban on Financial Ties. Lenders are prohibited from giving anything of value to any college in exchange for any advantage sought by the lender. This severs any inappropriate financial arrangements between lenders and schools and specifically prohibits “revenue sharing” arrangements.

2. Ban on Payments for Preferred Lender Status. Lenders may not pay or give colleges any financial benefits whatsoever to get on a college’s preferred lender list.

3. Gift and Trip Prohibition. Lenders are prohibited from giving college employees anything of more than nominal value. This includes a prohibition on trips for financial aid officers and other college officials paid for by lenders.

4. Advisory Board Rules. Lenders are prohibited from paying college employees anything of value for serving on the advisory boards of the lenders.

5. Call-Center and Staffing Prohibition. Lenders must ensure that employees of lenders never identify themselves to students as employees of colleges. No employee of a lender may ever work in or providing staffing assistance to a college financial aid office.

6. Disclosure of Range of Rates and Defaults. Lenders must disclose to any requesting school the range of rates they charge to students at the school, the number of borrowers at each rate at the school, and the lender’s historic default rate at the school. This will ensure that schools will have the information they need to select preferred lenders who are best for students and their families.

7. Loan Resale Disclosure. Lenders shall fully and prominently disclose to students and their parents any agreements they have to sell loans to any other lender.

Look at these provisions carefully. Would you want to collaborate or become a customer of an organization that is being reprimanded for provisions 2 and 3. Essentially these are rules against kickbacks. Does it not make sense to search for an alternative to the stratospheric, exorbitant costs of college tuition loans?

What would you rather have as your plan to finance a student’s education: a high interest rate and long term loan that creates financial unrest for your family for years or a financial plan that allows you to take advantage of the millions of dollars of government financial aid that goes untapped every year?

Stay tuned as the series about College Planning Specialists continues with a closer look at the services and value they provide.

September 13, 2007

Students and their Credit Cards: How To Manage Student Credit Cards Without Sinking the Ship

Filed under: Allowance,Budget,Colleges,Finance,Student Credit Cards — deansguide @ 4:29 pm

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Students constantly search for methods to finance their college educations. What is sometimes overlooked within this formula? The rising cost of living expenses each student incurs during their school year. Many students desperate to make ends meet surrender to the credit card “spiral.” The following information will hopefully give students some ideas and advice on how best to manage their credit and debt while pushing through school.

The following are steps to help students manage their student credit cards. This information is presented by Liz Roberts, loan consultant, with New Horizons Finance:

1. Willpower: Simple concept but difficult for most people to grasp. When the mood strikes to pull out the credit card students should ask themselves one simple question: “Do I really need this item or do I just want it?” This simple but powerful idea will help students control their spending, create a conscious check before purchase, and in many cases train the “spender” by positively reinforcing the idea that their credit balance is in line with their income.

2. Pay Cash: When casinos first began in this country, casino owners understood the “value” of removing a gambler’s emotion from their money. Simply put, casino’s from that beginning until today always insist that you “change” your cash dollars into their chips. Gamblers have a much easier time losing, without regret, their money in a casino if they are betting with chips. If the gambler was forced to throw down cash for every game or bet, the regret factor would help deter their spending and lower casiono profits. Like Robert De Niro in the movie “Casino” (picture above), credit card companies rely upon your human side to lead your astray.

The exact same casino concept applies with credit cards. Paying cash gives the spender the “feeling” that hard earned monies need to be rationed. Using a credit card allows the spender to avoid this feeling. We all know the results of unconscious spending.

3 . Budget Money/Allowance: Students like housewives, should create a personal budget. List items that are monthly needs first. Attempt to cut out the “fat” that your can actually live without. If at all possible save some money each month for an emergency cash fund. This is difficult but it could come in handy in the future.

4. Be Responsible: Try to be the “owner” of your debt. Do not go to family or friends for bail out funds whenever possible. By staying within a budget, you will be more likely to stay out of financial trouble. Remember that favors from family is much easier to ask for if it is a rare occurrence rather than a monthly request.

If you have trouble remaining responsible, run your credit card debt into the “ditch”, and borrow every last dime available from family and friends then you might just find yourself in the predicament below. Be responsible stay out of the “ditch.”

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