Financial Aid

Our articles will provide you with the tools and resources needed to make sure you are qualifying for all the financial aid available, as well as maintaining your aid throughout your college career. Get the latest news on student loan interest rates, learn what to do when your financial aid is late, and explore all of your financial aid options.
View the most popular articles in Financial Aid:
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While Community Colleges Struggle, More Federal Subsidies Pour into For-Profits
What's happening to financial aid for students at community colleges? Students at for-profit colleges are now getting a bigger piece of the federal student aid pie.
The United States is facing a debt crisis of epic proportions, but it may not be in the area consumers would suspect. Huffington Post cites statistics from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that show student debt has now surpassed credit card debt in this country. It is no wonder that media is literally littered with reports of student debt defaults today. To make matters worse, the source of student debt is no longer community colleges and four-year public institutions. Instead, that debt is going directly to for-profit schools that charge students plenty in tuition rates but deliver little in return.

The numbers are concerning, considering that community colleges – the schools that President Obama has touted as the training grounds for our future workforce – are scrambling to try to make ends meet. As more people head to these public institutions in hopes of getting applicable training for recession-proof, lucrative careers, the schools are finding themselves without the necessary resources to teach everyone who wants to be educated. Services and programs have been cut, and waitlists for popular courses are becoming longer and longer. State and federal funding are slim at these schools today.

This video outlines financial aid for community college students.

For-Profits Enjoy Prosperity
 
This is not the case with for-profit colleges. Institutions like the University of Phoenix and ITT Technical Institute are enjoying significant prosperity these days, as they take a bigger piece of the federal
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FAFSA Applications: Community Colleges Offer Assistance
Need help with your FAFSA application?Many community colleges are offering workshops and other types of assistance to help students get the financial aid necessary to head to college next year.
The deadline for submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is looming, and colleges across the country are offering assistance with financial aid paperwork. This basic form, which is the first step in gaining grants or loans from the federal government, have helped many students pay for the rising costs of higher education. For those with questions about the FAFSA, answers may be as close as their local community college.

What is FAFSA?

The FAFSA is the first step in the financial aid process for students looking for federal or state assistance. According to a report at the Rhode Show, this mother of all financial aid forms allows the federal government to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid. The states also use the paperwork to determine whether students qualify for loans or grants at the state level. Colleges and universities use the information on the FAFSA to get an idea of just how much financial aid a student might need to attend a specific school.

The FAFSA opens the door to a variety of financial aid options, including the popular Stafford loans and grad PLUS loans. Student loans like these are preferable to private loans for most students because they come with low-interest rates and an array of consumer protections and benefits. One of the most attractive features of some of these loans is an Income-Based Repayment Plan that allows students to pay off balances in increments they can afford once they graduate from college.
 
This video
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When Financial Aid is Late
Today’s strapped financial aid offices have translated into late checks for community college students. Learn about why financial aid checks are becoming tardy and how students are coping.
Increasing amounts of financial aid have made the community college track more affordable today. However, students who have been awarded financial aid are quickly finding that getting approved for financial aid and actually getting a check to pay for mounting expenses are not necessarily one and the same.
 

The Backlog

Community college financial aid offices are getting inundated with financial aid applications this year, as more students are finding reasons to head to these two-year institutions to prepare them for the workforce. At the same time, budget cuts are reducing the number of staff available to process this expansive number of applications. The result at many community colleges is a backlog of requests that will take many weeks to process. 

This is not good news for thousands of community college students who rely on those financial aid checks to pay for basic necessities like food and rent, as well as the cost of tuition and books. If the checks don't arrive timely, some students are faced with the realization that they may not be able to live up to their lease obligations, purchase the textbooks they need or put food on the table. If financial aid doesn't come soon, some may be forced to abandon their education.
 
This video explains how (FAFSA) works.
 
 
Offering Assistance
 
In some cases, the colleges are doing what they can to help cash-strapped students eke by until the aid check arrives. Some colleges are waiving fees for late tuition
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The Poorer the Student, the Less Likely to Apply for Aid
Why do those who need financial aid most unlikely to apply? Learn about College Board's new study and how community colleges can help the neediest apply for financial aid.
Community college students are much more likely to qualify for financial aid than students attending four-year universities. However, students attending two-year institutions are unlikely to apply for aid, according to a recently released report by College Board. The discrepancy has inspired many higher educators to "put on their thinking caps" and come up with a solution to make community college more affordable to those who can least afford it.
 
According to the College Board Study, only 58% of community college students who are eligible for Pell grants applied for financial aid, compared with 77% of Pell-eligible students at four-year institutions. The College Board report states, "Although community college students are more likely to be eligible for need-based federal aid, they are less likely than their peers at other types of institutions to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)."
 
College Raptor makes the following observation about some students not applying for financial aid. "The National College Access Network (NCAN) recently released an alarming study about college-bound students’ awareness of financial aid opportunities. Within their post, they reference other findings and statistics about higher education and financial aid. The Department of Education found that only 45% of high school students completed and filed the FAFSA. Less than half of graduating high school students are applying for federal financial aid."  Apparently many high school students know little or nothing about financial aid.
 
This video offers a guide to financial aid.
 
 
Community colleges have
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How to Finance Your Community College Tuition through Savings-Matching Programs
Learn about a new option students are using to finance their community college education: savings-matching programs.
While financial aid, scholarships, and student loans are the most common ways to finance higher education, new savings-matching programs are helping more students attend community college. Imagine each dollar you save matched by a free dollar that you can use towards your college tuition!  
 
Savings matching programs help low and middle-income students pay for college by matching the money that participants put in a college savings account. For example, the state of Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development runs a savings matching program called New Visions, New Ventures, which will match $2 for every $1 that eligible low-income participants deposit in a savings account. The program will provide up to $4,000 in matching dollars to participants. Participants must use the money to pay tuition, buy a first house, or start a business.
 
How Savers Can Benefit Even More through Philanthropy Websites
 
Recently, savings matching programs have begun partnering with philanthropic websites to increase the savings power of their participants even further. One such pioneering website is SaveTogether.com. At SaveTogether, individual donors can read the stories of low and middle-income individuals who are participating in savings matching programs and working towards savings goals that involve post-secondary education.
 
Individual donors choose individual savers to “match,” and donations made by individuals through SaveTogether are tax deductible.
 
How the Program Works
 
By working with a variety of programs that sponsor savings-matching efforts for community college tuition, SaveTogether furthers the power of these programs.   
 
Profiles on SaveTogether Allow Donors to Choose
 
Potential donors can browse profiles of
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Financing

Financial Aid