Tag Archives: student loans

For Staying Out of Student Loan Debt Trouble…Knowledge Is Power!

Student loan info is the new hot commodity among financial writers.

As students are going to college for the first time, or back to college for the second, third (or even tenth) year, the number of articles I see about the issue of student loan debt are multiplying faster than I can read them online. But when an exceptionally good article appears in a real live publication in my mailbox, it’s going to get my full attention. I might even read it twice…mostly while eating (low carb, of course!). This article appears in the Fall 2014 USAA magazine, Volume 50, Number 3. It’s title is “ Escaping the Shadow of College Debt”. Here is a link to read it online: >http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pace/usaa_2014fall/#/12 . The article contains good stories about two women, who, for different reasons, got themselves into some serious student loan debt. It lays out the scope of the student loan problem and then engages the help of some of the heavy hitters in the college financial business, including Mark Kantrowitz of Edvisors Network and Lynn O’Shaughnessy, author of “The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price”. It also gets a lot of great info from the very same website I use in this episode of The College Money Mom. This website is brought to you by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a relatively new department of the U.S. government. So watch this episode to learn about the different kinds of student loans in a really easy to understand way! And, once you have this knowledge, you’ll be able to steer yourself, and others, out of harms’s way.

FAFSA News Sparks Snark

In a google search for FAFSA news, one of the recently published search items is a story from a New Jersey newspaper’s website titled “FAFSA confusion: College students lose financial aid due to decimal point error on application”.

Apparently, at least 165,000 college students stumbled over a quirk in the on-line FAFSA application which caused them to declare that their family’s income was WAY bigger than it actually was.

The little “.00” outside the blanks where a student fills in the family’s income is a hint that you need to round off the income total to the nearest dollar, rather than enter the small change in the blank space allowed. For example, a student declaring a family income of $22,852.19 would actually be telling the government that the family raked in $2,285,219 that year! OOPS!

That student would find herself excluded from most, if not all, federal financial aid. This would include federal grants like the Pell Grant, federal student loans with favorable rates and terms, and federal work-study funds set aside for students with lower family incomes.

According to this article, Federal officials say they will correct the aid awards if/when the errors are found. So nice, so civilized.

It’s when the reader scrolls down to the comments that the fun begins.

The vitriol rolls out thusly:

“If they can’t follow simple instructions, maybe they aren’t college material.”

“Apparently millions of college students can read…and apparently 165,000 others cannot.”

“I would think due to the importance of this form, one would check it over before actually filing it.”

“Hope the applicants were not math, science or engineering majors!”

And it goes downhill, rapidly, from there.

I love the comment sections of news stories. Without them there would be a whole lot more pent-up anger in America than there already is!

To read this for yourself (or even to add your own snark ration) click this link:

http://www.nj.com/education/2014/07/fafsa_confusion_college_students_lose_financial_aid_due_to_decimal_point_error_on_application.html

To get ready for the FAFSA rush starting January 1st of each year, watch my video on the subject:

 

Your Student Loan Servicer…Stay in Touch!

Student Loan Servicers have the power to keep you out of trouble!

Seems like the payments on your college loans will never end, right?  Well, they will someday, due in no small part to your diligent efforts to stay in touch with your federal student loan servicer.  At least that’s what I hope you do, or what I hope you would tell your college-bound child to do! Check out my latest rant video on this issue !

 

Student Debt – We Crank Up the Time Machine!

The Student Debt in a Parallel Universe

Travel with me to the land of your younger, less-wise self, and live to teach others your new-found wisdom! That’s the offering in this week’s episode of The College Money Mom, as we explore the overwhelming mountain of student debt many of us racked up during college. It’s not too late to get repayment under control, as we will learn in the weeks to come. But for now, we owe it to our college-bound children to keep them from stepping blindly into the same financial pit.

A Low Carb Pasta moment!

This week I am writing a script about repaying your student loans. This is for a few weeks from now.  Needless to say, this is a stressful subject.  So much to explain in under 3 minutes!  It just makes me want to eat a giant bowl of PASTA! What’s a low carb College Money Mom to do?  Why, cut up a spaghetti squash, of course! Voila! Low Carb Pasta!

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You know you want some! Do this:

Cut a spaghetti squash in half. Scrape out the seeds and other goopy stuff,  leaving the rind intact.

Cut it in quarters and put it in a microwaveable cooking bowl. Put in an inch or two of water. Cover and nuke for 10-12 minutes on high.

It’s done when you can poke a fork through the rind material and it starts to shred easily. Drain and put the pieces aside to cool a bit. When you can hold them comfortably, remove all the shreds of cooked rind. Guess what it looks like? Yup, spaghetti! Yay!

You can eat it plain or with spaghetti sauce. I like to add melted butter (real butter please), salt , a little garlic powder, and a generous crank of my favorite black pepper.  Back to work now…see you on Youtube!