Saving Money

This section is full of money saving tips for community college students. From free textbooks to finding affordable childcare, we’ll provide you with a wealth of information on keeping college affordable.
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April may still seem like a long way off, but it’s not too soon for many Americans to begin thinking about filing their tax returns. Tax preparation can be a complex business, and not everyone can afford to hire the services of a CPA to help them with the process. The good news is that help is available for those who cannot afford professional assistance, and it may be as close as your neighborhood community college. By enlisting the help of a college student who is majoring in the accounting field, you can get expert advice without paying a fortune for the service.

About VITA
 
Tax assistance at the local community college is generally offered through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, also known as VITA. According to the IRS website, this program is available to anyone who earns $50,000 or less and requires assistance filing their tax returns. The volunteers that work with VITA are trained in IRS guidelines and are IRS certified to offer tax advice on issues such as earned income tax credit, child tax credits and other tax deductions.
 
Those that work on the community college campus are often accounting students from the school, but other volunteers may be working in that particular office as well. Many of this year’s VITA programs are already up and running, allowing many who qualify for the services a head start on this year’s tax return. Many offices provide free electronic filing, so those that use their services can . . . read more

With tax day just around the corner, many Americans are scrambling to get their documents in order and their forms completed. For those who need help with the return but can't afford to hire the services of a CPA, there is an alternative. The IRS offers volunteer tax assistance in a variety of communities to help low-income families get the help they need before April 15. The benefits are even more far-reaching, as many community college students aspiring to accounting careers can get the training and experience they need to work in this volunteer program.

We'll give a brief overview of the volunteer program and who it helps, as well as list a few of the community colleges that have come alongside the IRS to help Americans get their taxes filed on time.
 
What is VITA?
 
According to the IRS website, VITA, also referred to as the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, is designed to offer free tax help to low to moderate-income Americans who are unable to complete their own tax returns. The service utilizes certified volunteers sponsored by a number of organizations to provide the assistance people need to file their basic income tax forms.

Most of the VITA stations are located at community places like libraries, schools and shopping malls. Community colleges are another option where VITA services might be provided.
 
VITA helps many different groups of Americans file their taxes accurately and on time. Some of the people that qualify for VITA services include:
 
       ·         Families with incomes below $49,000
 
       ·         Those . . . read more

After they scrape together the necessary cash to pay tuition fees, community college students find that their financial obligations are far from over. The rising costs of textbooks and other necessary supplies have put more than one college student into a deep financial hole, forcing some to choose between their necessary resources and rent for the month.
 
To help students plan more efficiently for the cost of textbooks each semester, a new law has been put in place to require college professors to disclose the precise costs of textbooks before a student commits to their classes, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
 
Lower Prices
 
In addition to helping students plan for the cost of higher education more accurately, the new law will also increase awareness and competition in the textbook market, lowering the cost of textbooks overall.
 
This is good news to students who may spend hundreds of dollars every semester to stock their dormitory bookshelves with the necessary supplies. A report in the Washington Post two years ago estimated that some college students pay between $700 and $1,100 each year on textbooks. Between 1986 and 2004, the price of a college textbook tripled, with an annual increase of around 6% each year – nearly double the rate of inflation.
 
"It's really hard just paying for tuition alone," Annaiis Wilkinson told the Washington Post. The 19-year-old Trinity Washington University student paid about $500 in textbooks each semester just two short years ago. For community college students who . . . read more

Students who enter community college today might be dismayed to find that hefty tuition payments are just the beginning of a potentially expensive college career. In addition to the annual tuition costs, textbooks have become a major expense for many students, with some books easily costing more than $100 to bring a grand total for a single semester well into the $500-$1,000 range.

Cash-strapped students are often on the lookout for affordable solutions to the textbook issue, and fortunately, help is available. Through a variety of programs offered on community college campuses and across the Internet, students are finding they can save a bundle on the textbooks they need.
 
Affordable Options
 
A report last year on U.S. News and World Report cited a number of options students could explore to save money on college textbooks, including:
 
       ·         Using textbook rental services
 
       ·         Borrowing textbooks from libraries
 
       ·         Participating in textbook exchanges
 
       ·         Getting textbooks for free or nearly free online
 
       ·         Finding used textbooks at a reduced price

While all of these options offer their own advantages and drawbacks, using a variety of methods to secure all the textbooks you need for any given semester can reap serious rewards in terms of saving money. In addition to the tried and true savings programs, some college professors are getting involved in the affordable textbook cause to find resources for students that provide them with the information they need to ace a class without going into the red to do so.
 
Freebies
 
Someone once said that "the best things in . . . read more

While those on Capitol Hill continue to debate the pros and cons of the proposed national healthcare plan, community college students need to find affordable options for health coverage today. Most community colleges offer or even mandate health coverage plans for qualified students – but are these plans a good choice for your health and pocketbook? In fact, depending upon your specific community college, enrolling in your campus’ health insurance plan could save you $1000 or more annually!
 
Community College Health Insurance vs. Individual Policies
 
Community colleges are able to offer their students group policies, which typically translate into more affordable premiums and better coverage than individual health insurance policies. However, just how much can you save by opting for your community college’s coverage? 
 
Some states leverage a large number of their community colleges to provide their students with the best health insurance rates. For example, the Community College League of California (CCLC), which currently has 69 campuses in its league, allows students to purchase health insurance at $88 per month. 
 
In evaluating CCLC’s insurance benefits, the policy is a PPO with a low yearly deductible of $250. While there is a maximum lifetime benefit per each accident or sickness of $50,000, the other benefits are very comprehensive. For example, the policy pays for 100% of ambulance service and 80% of most medical services, and the co-pay for a standard doctor visit is only $25. 
 
If a non-smoking male California student between the ages of 18 - 22 was to obtain the same type of health insurance . . . read more
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SAVING MONEY