Expert Answers: Paying For College

  In April I was hired as the college expert for Answers.com.  Each month I write articles on a variety of topics related to finding the right college, preparing for the SAT and ACT, completing winning applications, and how to successfully make the transition to college life. Here are a few of my recent articles on scholarships and paying for college.

What Are the Best Online Resources for Finding Scholarships?

Whether you are a high school freshman, a current college student, or a graduate student, you can find scholarships to help pay for your education. In addition to working with the guidance counseling or financial aid office at your high school or college, you can find scholarship search tools online. Here are some top online resources for finding scholarships.

Fastweb

Fastweb is an online scholarship database with more than 1.5 million programs listed. Students can register with Fastweb, create a profile, and receive customized emails with scholarships right for them. Fastweb has scholarships for every year of study, beginning with high school freshman and going all the way through graduate school. Since 1995, Fastweb has been helping students with free scholarship search information. See: Fastweb

Scholarships.com

Scholarships.com is another online database dedicated to helping students find money for college. Scholarships.com features 2.7 million scholarships and grants worth more than $19 million. Students and guidance counselors can search according to a variety of criteria. In addition, Scholarships.com includes a matchmaker and directory feature to help students find the right college. See: Scholarships.com

Big Future

Big Future is one part of the College Board’s extensive website. more… – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  

What Is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?

Each spring, thousands of college students graduate with student loan debt. There are many programs designed to encourage public service by offering student loan forgiveness. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a program that allows borrowers to have their student loans forgiven after 10 years of public service employment.

What Is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?

Congress signed Public Service Loan Forgiveness into law in 2007. The goal was to encourage bright college graduates to accept positions in public service jobs that traditionally do not pay as well as similar positions in the private sector. The program recognizes the value of full-time employment with federal, state, or local governments or non-profit organizations and offers an incentive to long-term employees in these fields.

How Can I Qualify?

Borrowers can have the balance of their student loans forgiven if they:
  1. 1. Work full-time for a qualifying pubic service agency.
  2. 2. Make 120 qualifying payments on their student loan balances after October 2007.
Borrowers will need to provide certification of full-time employment at a public service organization and proof of payment of the 120 on-time qualifying monthly student loan payments.  more…
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Five Ways to Pay off College Loans Fast!

In an ideal world, all students could make it through college with no loans. In the real world, though, many students have to take out loans in order to complete their degrees. If you have student loans, you can use these five tips to help you pay them off as quickly as possible.

1. Begin Paying ASAP.

It may go against your initial instincts, but take every opportunity you have to pay. If possible, pay the interest while you are in school. When you are a student, all payments are deferred, but unless you have a need-based federal loan, interest still accrues…and that adds to your balance due. You also may be allowed to put off payments for a period of time after graduation, but if you start making payments as soon as you graduate instead, you will wipe out your college loans faster.

2. Seek out Rate Reductions.

Look for opportunities to reduce your interest rate. Most student loan lenders offer discounts for people who agree to pay by direct deposit. Lenders are more likely to get their money that way, so you will get a break on your interest rate. The discount may seem small, but over the course of the entire loan, even a 0.25% reduction can be significant. more…
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