Where do I go? Picking a college last minute.

May 20, 2010
If your student has not made their mind up about choosing a college, there are still 276+ colleges and universities that still have space available for qualified freshman and/or transfer students and nearly all have financial aid to offer, according to the results of the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual Space Availability Survey: […]

If your student has not made their mind up about choosing a college, there are still 276+ colleges and universities that still have space available for qualified freshman and/or transfer students and nearly all have financial aid to offer, according to the results of the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual Space Availability Survey: Openings for Qualified Students.

See PDF list of colleges for the 2010-2011 school year.

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Harvard student dupes admission directors with faux transcripts

May 19, 2010
By J.D. Wyczalek (why-zall-ick) Founder of AZCollegePlanning.com College is serious big business and when a student gets caught putting his hand in a cookie jar that he shouldn’t, serious ramifications will result. The names of the guilty have not been changed, although the accused claims “not guilty”. The crime getting into Harvard with falsified records, […]

By J.D. Wyczalek (why-zall-ick) Founder of AZCollegePlanning.com

College is serious big business and when a student gets caught putting his hand in a cookie jar that he shouldn’t, serious ramifications will result.

The names of the guilty have not been changed, although the accused claims “not guilty”.

  • The crime getting into Harvard with falsified records, fake transcripts, perfect SAT scores and a huge laundry list of accomplishments.

Had Adam Wheeler, the accused, left everything alone he might have gotten away with it. But NO! Not only did he get in with claimed falsified records but he then applied for the Rhodes Scholarship & and the Fulbright Scholarship. It isn’t that he applied for these scholarships; it’s the fact that the essay that he used is someone else’s essay. (Not like that is the first time that has ever happened.)

It is probably the fact that he attempted to pull a fast one over one of the most prestigious colleges in the US while garnering $45,000 in scholarships.

This is a huge swollen black eye for Harvard. How can a kid (he’s 23) finagle and wind his way into the fabric of the poster child college institution, Harvard? And what about the kid who should have legitimately got in but did not because Mr. Wheeler took his (or her) seat?

In 1995 a student from Yale was expelled for false records, in 1992 another student was expelled from Harvard Law School for falsified records. This is nothing new.

What is not reported is what Mr. Wheeler incurred in student loans to attend the college.

Now what is really humorous is the Facebook page “Save Adam Wheeler”.

What saddens me is that hopeful college students have been duped into believing that the more prestigious the college the better your lifestyle, income and career. A student who does his/her due diligence and finds the best fit college for them can be successful in life without racking up tens of thousands of dollars in college loans.

Our specialty at AZCollegePlanning.com is in helping students identify colleges that fit them best and help parents lower their college costs.

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To subsidized or unsubsidized that is the question

May 17, 2010
Down to the wire with choosing your options. Do I choose a subsidized student loan or an unsubsidized loan, or both? The difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized is that the interest accrued on borrowed money must be paid back by someone, either the borrower or the federal government. • A bank, lending institution or credit […]

Down to the wire with choosing your options. Do I choose a subsidized student loan or an unsubsidized loan, or both?

The difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized is that the interest accrued on borrowed money must be paid back by someone, either the borrower or the federal government.

• A bank, lending institution or credit union lends a borrower money with the intent to make money. For simplicity sake, if someone was to borrow $1,000, the bank would require the borrower to pay back the $1,000 plus “interest”. The interest is the profit the lender makes. For example, the borrower pays the lender $100 in eleven payments for a total of $1,100. The original $1,000 is paid back plus an additional $100. The original $1,000 is called “principle”. The $100 is called interest.

There are two types of student loans Subsidized and Unsubsidized. They are also called sub and unsub loans. (There are other student loans but we will only discuss these.)

The rules for a Sub loan is, the federal government will pay the interest during a deferment period. The deferment period is while you are in school (up to 4 ½ years) and the student must be attending an accredited college at least part time.

So if a student borrows $5,000 in a Sub loan at the end of the deferment period the balance of the loan would be $5,000. After the deferment period the borrower would pay any interest that accumulates AFTER that point. If the loan is paid off before the deferment period ends nothing else would be owed.

Unsub loans don’t have a deferment period. The borrower is responsible to pay both the principle and interest.

Let’s say that a student borrows $5,000 in an Unsubsidized Stafford loan, (unsubsidized means that the interest on the borrowed money accumulates.) At the end of the deferment period the balance of the loan (principle plus accumulated interest) is $6,772.47. $1,772.47 is added to the principle loan balance of $5,000.

This means that at the end of the deferment period the total due on the borrowed money is $6,772.47. Interest will continue to accumulate until the entire loan is paid off. And if the minimum payment is made each month at the end, the borrower would have paid a total of $9,352.80. The lender would receive the original $5,000 plus $4,352.80 in interest profit. (These numbers are estimates and used for illustration purposes only.)

It is less expensive to pay the loan off early and/or pay more than the monthly minimum payment.

It is best to pay off the Unsub loans first as these loans are more expensive over time. And if you are able, make payments during the deferment period.

Excerpt from the Guide to Federal Student Aid

Subsidized Direct* or FFEL** Stafford Loan

Loan: must be repaid Subsidized: The U.S. Department of Education pays interest while the borrower is in school and during grace and deferment periods; student must be attending at least half-time and have financial need; fixed interest rate of 5.6% for loans made to undergraduates with the first disbursement date between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010; fixed rate of 6.8% is set for loans made to graduate students $3,500–$8,500, depending on grade level.

Unsubsidized Direct* or FFEL** Stafford Loan

Loan: must be repaid Unsubsidized: The borrower is responsible for all interest; must be at least half-time; financial need not required; fixed interest rate of 6.8% for new borrowers $5,500–$20,500 (less any subsidized amounts received for same period), depending on grade level and dependency status.

Direct* or FFEL** PLUS Loan

Loan: must be repaid For parents of dependent undergraduate students and for graduate and professional students; students must be enrolled at least half-time; financial need not required Borrower must not have adverse credit history PLUS Loans are unsubsidized, the borrower is responsible for all interest; fixed interest rate is 8.5% for FFEL PLUS Loans and 7.9% for Direct PLUS Loans Maximum amount is cost of attendance minus any other financial aid student receives; no minimum amount.

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Green careers pay green!

May 17, 2010
Do you want to save the planet and make a nice income too? 10 Green Jobs to Jump Start Your Green Career Green is the hot color for this year’s job market. With the Department of Labor promising $100 million in Energy Training Partnership Grants in 2010, green jobs are growing faster than the dandelions […]

Do you want to save the planet and make a nice income too?

10 Green Jobs to Jump Start Your Green Career

Green is the hot color for this year’s job market. With the Department of Labor promising $100 million in Energy Training Partnership Grants in 2010, green jobs are growing faster than the dandelions on your front lawn.

But, you might be asking yourself, what exactly is a green job? Do I have to have a green thumb to get one? And how much green is it going to put in my pocket? The definition is constantly expanding, but in general, a green job is a job that helps protect and preserve the environment and our natural resources. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, traditional green jobs have included:

• Environmental Engineers are responsible for controlling pollution and cleaning up waste.

• Environmental Engineering Technicians conduct tests and operate the equipment that helps prevent, control and clean up environmental waste and pollution.

• Environmental Scientists & Specialists study our environment and indentify sources of pollution that damage our surroundings and our health.

• Environmental Science & Protective Technicians assist environmental scientists by taking samples and conducting lab work.

But don’t let those definitions limit you—you don’t have to be a scientist or researcher to get into a green trade. As concern about our natural resources and global warming grows, so does the number of industries the movement touches.

The result is that new career paths are springing up constantly to fit those demands. Here’s a little taste of what they include:

• Energy retrofitters, also known as building performance contractors, evaluate your home and install new energy technologies to save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
• Organic farmers and organic food distributors bring organic and/or sustainably grown agricultural products to businesses and consumers.
• Green carpenters use environmentally certified and recycled wood to create green furniture for homes and businesses.
• Wind turbine operators install, maintain, and service modern wind turbines.
• Sustainability consultants help organizations implement sustainable methods in their everyday business practices.
• Solar installers, also known as photovoltaic installers, install solar panels into homes and businesses.

These are just a few of the hundreds of industries who are “turning green.” And each one of industry doesn’t just need engineers to design their environmentally-friendly products or services, they need workers to build them, advertisers to market them, salespeople to sell them, human resources staff to manage the salespeople and the advertisers and the workers . . . get the picture? There’s a green job out there for everyone, no matter what you’re background is.

So if you’re looking to make a difference and become a part of the green movement, there are more opportunities than ever. And who knows, with some outside-of-the-box thinking, you could even find a way to transform your current job into the hot green career of the year.

“It’s not easy being green” Kermit the Frog

article from footpath

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Worstest Paying College Degrees

May 16, 2010
Half of knowing is knowing what you DON’T want to do. Previously I wrote an article about college graduates who graduated with excessive student loan debt. “Finding  yourself” in college is an expensive proposition. Every time a student changes majors, it pushes out the graduation timeline. An extra year or an extra two years in […]

Half of knowing is knowing what you DON’T want to do.

Previously I wrote an article about college graduates who graduated with excessive student loan debt. “Finding  yourself” in college is an expensive proposition. Every time a student changes majors, it pushes out the graduation timeline. An extra year or an extra two years in college is expensive and even more expensive if it is leveraged through loans.

If your child is unsure of what kind of career they want to pursue, knowing the expected income range for that field might help in their decision making process.

Even if it’s just to eliminate a few careers.

With AZCollegePlanning, we help parents and students estimate the 4 year cost of college and estimate how much student loan debt the graduate will carry (my goal is zero or as close to zero as possible) so that the career field your student is entering will provide the lifestyle they desire.

 Worst-Paying College Degrees

We all know money doesn't buy happiness--and that's good news for these new grads. (From Yahoo Hotjobs)

 There's no denying the value of a college education: According to recent U.S. Census surveys, the median salary for college grads is more than $20,000 higher than that of people with only a high school diploma. And the unemployment rate for people with bachelor's degrees is almost half the rate for people without.

 But some degrees are worth more than others, as PayScale.com shows in its 2010 report on the earning power of bachelor's degrees.

 No surprise, engineering degrees continue to be top earners--and (also no big shocker) you have to go pretty far down the list before you see the liberal arts well represented.

 But there's more to choosing a major than comparing dollar amounts. We salute and congratulate the graduates whose interests (and hard work) have led them to the following degrees--the lowest-earning degrees on PayScale's list.

 10. Drama (starting annual salary: $35,600; mid-career annual salary: $56,600) Some mega-millionaire movie stars with drama degrees (Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep, for instance) may be skewing these numbers upward--for every Denzel and Meryl, there are thousands of thespians struggling to make ends meet. But you don't study drama because you want to get rich--you study drama because you love the theater. (And an ability to act comes in handy in many professions.)

 9. Fine arts (starting annual salary: $35,800; mid-career annual salary: $56,300) Well, it takes an artist to make a thrift-store wardrobe look like a million bucks.

 8. Hospitality and tourism (starting annual salary: $37,000; mid-career annual salary: $54,300) Jobs that include tips may be skewing these numbers downward--and this is an industry that looks to be on the rebound as the economy improves. Plus, the perks associated with jobs in hospitality and tourism may compensate for the comparatively low salaries--many jobs in the industry allow extensive travel (or provide considerable travel discounts).

 7. Education (starting annual salary: $36,200; mid-career annual salary: $54,100) For the right people, teaching is an immensely rewarding career--and it's truly a noble one. The good news is, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment opportunities for primary, secondary, and special education teachers are expected to grow by 14 percent in the coming decade. And there will be plenty of new opportunities in continuing education for adults, as professional skill requirements change ever more rapidly.

 6. Horticulture (starting annual salary: $37,200; mid-career annual salary: $53,400) It seems that a green thumb doesn't necessarily bring in the greenbacks. But when you work among flowers and plants in a nursery or garden, who needs 'em?

 5. Spanish (starting annual salary: $35,600; mid-career annual salary: $52,600) As an old proverb puts it, when you learn a new language, you "gain a new soul." Who could put a price on that? And certainly, knowing Spanish--the language with the second-highest number of native speakers (after Mandarin)--in addition to English opens up a world of job opportunities beyond Spanish teacher or translator (as a plus, you can better enjoy a world of fantastic Spanish-language music, movies, and literature).

 4. Music (starting annual salary: $34,000; mid-career annual salary: $52,000) Hey, if being a musician were easy, everyone would do it. Some of us are guitar heroes; most of us just play the video game.

 3. Theology (starting annual salary: $34,800; mid-career annual salary: $51,500) This is the perfect example of a degree earned by someone who's "not in it for the money": people who choose to study theology often feel they're pursuing a higher calling (and often feel a strong desire to do good in the world, no matter the cost).

 2. Elementary education (starting annual salary: $33,000; mid-career annual salary: $42,400) Specializing in elementary education means a lower median salary than an education degree (number 7).

1. Social work (starting annual salary: $33,400; mid-career annual salary: $41,600) They say that crime doesn't pay. As this list seems to point out, neither does helping people. So it's a good thing that many college students seem to believe that helping others is its own reward--social workers are an indispensable safety net for people who've fallen on difficult times. And the BLS reports that the outlook for opportunities in this field are favorable--particularly for social workers who work in rural areas or with senior citizens.

(Source: PayScale salary survey. Methodology: Annual pay is for bachelor's graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting salaries are for graduates with two years of experience; mid-career salaries are for graduates with 15 years of experience. PayScale also provides salary information by college; for more information, check out PayScale's Best Colleges Report.)

http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/career-articles-1263

Does this mean you should not go into these careers? Absolutely not. You can be successful and happy in any career. It means that you must do your due diligence and graduate with the least amount of debt and earn your degree in the shortest amount of time.

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Scholarship for aspiring film makers & future directors

May 12, 2010
Go on assignment to the Ecuadorian Amazon and have your video broadcast on Nat Geo Adventure! Applications Close August 1st, 2010 Kick start your documentary career by going on assignment into the Amazon with documentary producer Trent O'Donnell (who filmed our Positive Footprints series screened on Nat Geo Adventure Channel). You will take part in […]

Go on assignment to the Ecuadorian Amazon and have your video broadcast on Nat Geo Adventure!

Applications Close August 1st, 2010

Kick start your documentary career by going on assignment into the Amazon with documentary producer Trent O'Donnell (who filmed our Positive Footprints series screened on Nat Geo Adventure Channel).

You will take part in a special project with Gap Adventures, exploring the Amazonian jungle and homestaying with the indigenous Quichua community.

Working alongside Trent O'Donnell as he makes a documentary on Sustainable Tourism, you will be mentored to help you find your story and create your own short video documentary.

You'll also be accommodated by our friends at Hostelworld.com both pre and post trip.

The lucky scholarship recipient will have their documentary considered for broadcast on Nat Geo Adventure! That's right - the holy grail documentary makers work their whole lives to achieve !

Your assignment brief

You will be joining Bruce Poon Tip (Gap's founder) as he revisits Ecuador's spectacular Andean Interior and Amazon lowlands. It's been 20 years since the first Gap Adventures trip was run in the Amazon and alongside Bruce you will gain unique access and insight into the lives of the Quichua community understanding how sustainable tourism has positively impacted their community.

You will also see first hand how the Footprints Network can make a difference to communities in need as Simon Monk (founder of WorldNomads.com and the Footprints Network) visits a project providing schooling equipment to the local Quichua primary school.

Homestaying in the Amazonian jungle with the Quichua community, you will work alongside Trent as he mentors you on how to find and film your own story.

 

What's the deal?

* We'll fly you to Quito, Ecuador from your country of residence.

* You need to be available to travel in the last 2 weeks of September 2010 (exact dates to be finalised shortly) to participate in the project.

* Under the mentorship of Trent O'Donnell you will shoot a video documentary about the experience.

* You will keep a daily diary about your time on the trip and upload this plus pictures you've taken to your World Nomads travel journal.

* You will edit together your 3 minute documentary and submit it to World Nomads within 2 months of your return.

Photo courtesy of NomadicHands

Who can apply

* Anyone can apply - this is open to film students, lovers of film or anyone who's trying to build a career in documentary making!

* Minimum age 18 with a current passport.

* You should be a mad-keen auteur with a lust for adventure and burning desire to be a documentary maker.

* You must be fit and healthy as moderate levels of trekking are involved.

Apply now

If you want it, you've got to show it. To apply you need to:

1. Compile a 3 minute video documentary in English based around the theme; 'Local Encounters'. Your 'local encounter' may be from your travels or somewhere closer to home. You should explore how this encounter changed your perspective on the world. The theme is open to interpretation, so be creative! The documentary may be compiled from previous travel videos you've shot.

It's up to you to convince our judging panel through your video that you have the spirit for adventure and passion for filmmaking to be chosen for this scholarship. Our judging panel will be looking for;

* The ability to convey a strong narrative within a short time-frame
* Originality
* A visually engaging story
* A candidate whose passion for documentary filmmaking makes them an obvious choice to benefit from this professional mentorship opportunity.

We strongly recommend you look at the previous winners (below) to give you an idea of the quality we are looking for. Entries compiled solely of still shots will not be considered, you need to demonstrate your skill with the moving image.

2. Upload your video : Go to Youtube.com to upload your video

3. Add your video to Worldnomads.com: Create a journal and fill in the entry form, then follow the simple instructions to upload your video into the post. In under 200 words tell us about your video;

- What inspired your subject matter?

- How did you plan your piece?

- What challenges did you face?

- What is your ambition as a documentary maker?

You will be judged on what you write as much as your video submission, convince us you are a worthy candidate !

One entry per person.


Watch our 2009 winner's documentary

Watch our 2008 winner's documentary which has been broadcast on Nat Geo Adventure.

Entries close August 1, 2010

(midnight, Australian Eastern Standard Time)


 

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

1. Information on the scholarship prize and how to enter forms part of these conditions of entry. By applying for this scholarship you agree to be bound by these conditions of entry and all decisions of the scholarship promoter (WorldNomads.com Pty Ltd ) which are final in all matters relating to the promotion. The scholarship and these conditions of entry are void where prohibited by law. Any changes to these conditions of entry will be published on the World Nomads website at www.worldnomads.com.
2. The promoter is WorldNomads.com Pty Ltd of Level 5, 24 York St, Sydney, NSW 2000.
3. Employees of WorldNomads.com, Nat Geo Adventure, Gap Adventures, Hostelworld, their subsidiaries and affiliated companies, and members of their immediate families or households, are ineligible to apply for this scholarship.
4. Entry is free. No purchase necessary. You must be older than 18 to enter and hold a valid passport. To enter, submit an English language short film of three minutes or less in length on the theme "Local Encounters”. You can submit your entry by doing the following:

a) Go to Youtube.com, to upload your video. You must agree to the terms and conditions stipulated by Youtube.com.

b) Go to http://www.worldnomads.com/scholarships/video_scholarship_2010_application.aspxsign up for a journal and fill in the brief entry form. Upload your video into your journal post and tell us in English in 200 words or less; what inspired your subject matter, how you planned your piece, what challenges you faced and what your ambition is as a documentary maker.

5. The scholarship entries can be submitted from 9.00am AEST on May 6 2010 and entries close at 11.59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on August 1, 2010. Entries are deemed to be received at the time of receipt by WorldNomads.com and WorldNomads.com records are conclusive as to the time of receipt. All dates are subject to change if necessary in WorldNomads.com discretion.

6. The Scholarship recipient will be selected by a panel of three judges including one independent judge judging the best overall entry from a review of all eligible entries. The best overall entry will best interpret both "Local Encounters" and articulate the written component as set out in 4b). The selection will be conducted at World Nomads.com of Level 5, 24 York St, Sydney, NSW 2000 in the week commencing Monday August 2 2010. The final winner will be announced by Tuesday August 17, 2010. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into, including in the event of a dispute. Chance plays no part in determining the successful scholarship recipient. The successful applicant will receive the following;

- 6 day Inland & Amazon Tour in Ecuador with Gap Adventures and mentorship from World Nomads documentary filmmaker, Trent O’donnell.
- trip includes all meals, internal transfers & transport, services of tour leader throughout, accommodation based on twin share and homestay.

-Two nights accomodation with hostelworld.com in Quito.
- Return Economy airfares from nearest major international airport to project destination organised by WorldNomads.com .

7. The scholarship recipient must produce / edit a video documentary using their own equipment of 3 minutes in duration, post participating in the trip. This documentary must focus on the trip and its impact it has on the local community. The recipient must then submit this documentary to WorldNomads.com no later than 2 months after returning from the tour. The scholarship recipient must also keep a daily travel diary and upload diary entries ( no less than 200 words per daily entry) to the World Nomads website, via an online travel journal, no later than 2 weeks after returning from the Gap Adventures Trip.

8. The Scholarship recipient will be notified by email and the recipient's name will be published on the World Nomads website within 14 days after selection.

9. If the Scholarship recipient is not immediately identifiable or contactable WorldNomads.com will make reasonable efforts to identify and/or contact the Scholarship recipient. If the Scholarship recipient has not accepted the prize by August 16, 2010, the next best entry will be selected as scholarship recipient.

10. No responsibility is accepted for late, lost or misdirected mail or any errors or failures in internet or other communications. WorldNomads.com reserves the right to cancel or modify the scholarship promotion if, in its sole discretion, the administration of the scholarship promotion is impaired for technical or other reasons beyond its reasonable control and, in such an event, may select the Scholarship recipient from all valid entries received prior to the impairment.

11. Scholarship prize consists of:
- 6 day Inland & Amazon Tour in Ecuador with Gap Adventures (valued at AU$1279)
- Return Economy airfares from nearest major international airport to project destination organised by World Nomads (valued at approx. AU$2500)
- 2 nights accommodation at hostelworld,com in Quito (valued at approx AU$100)
- Travel Insurance (valued at approx. AU$150)
Total value of prize is approximately AU$4029

12. The value of the prize is accurate at the date of commencement of the scholarship promotion. WorldNomads.com accepts no responsibility for any variation in the value of the prize after that date. The prize cannot be refunded, transferred, substituted or redeemed for cash. WorldNomads.com reserves the right in its sole discretion to substitute the prize with cash or a prize of comparable value if the prize cannot be awarded as described for any reason.

13. The scholarship recipient will be responsible for all personal expenses and any other expenses, fees and costs connected with the prize that are not included in the prize description. The scholarship recipients are also responsible for all transportation to the point of departure, including accommodation costs prior to and following the travel dates in order to meet flight connections and any tips/gratuity during the trip.

14. The scholarship recipient must hold a valid passport. Entry visas will be organised 14 days in advance.

15. The scholarship recipient agrees that acceptance of the prize by the scholarship recipient is conditional upon compliance with all relevant laws, rules and regulations and upon the scholarship recipient releasing WorldNomads.com, Nat Geo Adventure

, GAP Adventures, Hostelworld and their affiliates, subsidiaries, directors, officers, employees and agents, from any and all liability, claims, demands and causes of action for any personal injury or other loss or damage (including but not limited to indirect or consequential loss) suffered in connection with the acceptance or use of the prize, except for any liability which cannot be excluded by law. WorldNomads.com reserves the right to disqualify the scholarship recipient at its absolute discretion in the event of non-compliance or the failure to provide such releases.
16. As the author of your entry, you warrant that your entry is original and your own work.
17. It will be a condition of entry that both scholarship applicants and the scholarship recipient will grant a non exclusive copyright license to WorldNomads.com, Nat Geo Adventure, Hostelworld and GAP Adventures to reproduce the work for subsequent promotion of the World Nomads Travel Scholarships. You can view World Nomads' privacy policy at http://www.worldnomads.com/privacy.aspx

 


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Double down deposit no-no May 1 deadline

April 27, 2010
Dictionary reference –verb dou•ble [duhb-uhl] de•pos•it [dih-poz-it] 1. To strike fear in the hearts of even the most seasoned college admissions officers. 2. Illegal action attempted by parents and/or student to secure two seats at different colleges April is the month that high school seniors have been waiting for to receive the news they have been […]

Dictionary reference –verb dou•ble [duhb-uhl] de•pos•it [dih-poz-it]

1. To strike fear in the hearts of even the most seasoned college admissions officers.

2. Illegal action attempted by parents and/or student to secure two seats at different colleges

April is the month that high school seniors have been waiting for to receive the news they have been anxiously awaiting and the time has arrived for them to make one final decision.

If they have been fortunate enough to gain admission to more than one college, they must decide where they intend to spend the next four (or more) years. And that decision must be made by May 1st, the national reply date for all admitted students.

For many students, this is an easy decision; they have a clear first choice and know exactly where they want to go to college. To guarantee themselves a space at their favorite school, all they need to do is send a non-refundable enrollment deposit check. At some colleges this may be as little as $100, while at others it can be as much as $500 or $1,000.

For some students, the final choice is not so easy. They have two or three colleges that they are considering and aren’t sure about what to do; they love all of their schools for different reasons. And though they re-visit their colleges and look to teachers and friends (and even parents) for guidance, they are racked by indecision. So what do they do? They postpone the inevitable by sending checks to two colleges – that is, they double deposit.

What many of these students and their parents don’t know is that double depositing is a violation of their responsibilities as established by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). The reason many of them don’t know they are in violation is that they have never heard about this or any other “responsibility” and have no idea who or what NACAC is. But heck, students need to understand that double-depositing is wrong.

Colleges dislike double depositing because the practice creates an enormous amount of uncertainty about the size of their incoming freshman classes. They can’t be certain about the number of students who are going to show up for the fall because they can’t be certain that each student who has made a deposit will attend.

Since many colleges don’t require payment of the first semester’s tuition until shortly before the start of the academic year, schools can be left with beds to fill and budget shortfalls that they did not anticipate. Some colleges may find themselves over-enrolled and with a shortage of housing for students. Neither situation is a happy one. In order to prevent double depositing, some colleges actually check enrollment lists at other schools for offenders.

Imagine if your boss gave you a predated paycheck but told you to not deposit it for several months, then only a few days before you deposit this check he tells you it’s no good, there are no funds to back it up so just tear it up. Arrrg! That would totally stink!

You’d feel betrayed, jilted and come up with a bunch of four letter words to describe his character (and maybe even his mother!)

Now check this out. A college that discovers a double depositor is within its rights to withdraw that individual’s offer of admission.

So you (or your student) could lose their coveted spot at XYZ University College. Double bummer.

Equally important, double depositing hurts other students because it wreaks havoc with waiting lists. Colleges cannot offer admission to students on their waiting lists if they are uncertain about the number of depositors who will actually matriculate. Since schools are hesitant to do anything that will lead to over-enrollment, some applicants who would normally be admitted from waiting lists are not. As a result, double depositing prevents deserving students from being admitted to their favorite colleges.

original post here

AZ College Planning is Arizona’s premier college planning firm the place to turn for college consulting in Arizona. Residents of AZ turn to us for the solution to AZ college solutions. Arizona college planning consultants who help families how to qualify for financial aid even if you have a 6 figure income

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Roth Conversions Could Affect College Financial Aid

April 26, 2010
Are you thinking about converting your 401k IRA to a Roth IRA. Roth IRA rules could surprise you. The Roth IRA contribution limits 2010 could severely affect your financial aid package. Here is an article: Financial advisors are finding that clients anxious to take advantage of loosened rules on Roth IRAs aren't anticipating a possible […]

Are you thinking about converting your 401k IRA to a Roth IRA. Roth IRA rules could surprise you. The Roth IRA contribution limits 2010 could severely affect your financial aid package.

Here is an article: Financial advisors are finding that clients anxious to take advantage of loosened rules on Roth IRAs aren't anticipating a possible consequence—losing financial aid for their college-age children.

"It's not just a future tax issue, you have to understand the repercussions today," says Richard Rosso, a financial advisor with Charles Schwab Corp. in Houston. "Anything that is converted and pulled out of an IRA is considered income and that will affect your financial aid.

"No matter what income bracket you're in, you're possibly putting that scholarship in jeopardy," he says.

He recently ran the numbers for a family whose daughter could've lost about 80% of her anticipated scholarship if they had rolled over $100,000 from an IRA into a Roth IRA all at once. They're now thinking about a phased conversion over the next 10 years.

Until this year, only individuals or couples filing jointly with modified adjusted gross incomes of $100,000 or less were able to convert savings from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. That restriction has now been lifted completely.

Growth in a Roth IRA is not taxed, so paying taxes now and moving money there can be advantageous for high earners if income tax rates rise in the future, as is widely expected. Also, owners of Roth IRAs aren't obligated to start withdrawing a certain amount of their savings when they reach age 70 1/2. That can mean more savings for late in retirement or for heirs.

But investors, even wealthy ones, often overlook the immediate impact that a rollover could have on financial aid. "Many middle-class millionaires made their money" and expect their children to pay all or part of the educations, says Rosso.

Someone earning $100,000 may be responsible for $17,000 of a child's college expenses. But if that person rolls over $100,000 into a Roth, the higher income could increase the expected parent contribution to $48,000, says Rosso.

Schools use the data from the FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid] to determine loan and aid eligibility. The FAFSA number relies heavily on a family's income, and ignores the value of someone's home, small business or retirement assets, says Mark Kantrowitz.

Kantrowitz says that the Department of Education has asked colleges to take into account one-time increases in income from a rollover, but financial advisors recommend that families talk to the schools before making a decision and to let them know if they opt to open a Roth.

Some schools take into account real estate assets in their own assessment. But for those that don't, someone with a million dollar home and large 401(k) account could potentially receive more aid than a family with a higher income but far less assets.

For families that have younger children, this could be the right time for a rollover, since the impact on annual income will be over before any FAFSA filing has to be made, Jeffrey E. Daniher, a financial advisor in Cincinnati. Those assets also would have longer to grow tax-free.

Original article here

J.D. says: you have to understand how the game is played and legally and ethically stack the deck in your favor. Other things to look out for are other big windfalls besides Roth conversions such as inheritance and capital gains. Seeking out professional advice could be the difference between a fat award letter or a paltry award letter.

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Obama Signs Historic Health Care & Education Legislation

April 26, 2010
President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which delivered a significant down payment on the President’s ambitious agenda to make higher education more affordable and help more Americans earn a college degree. This legislation strengthens the Pell Grant program, invests in community colleges, extends support for Historically Black Colleges and […]

President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which delivered a significant down payment on the President’s ambitious agenda to make higher education more affordable and help more Americans earn a college degree.

This legislation strengthens the Pell Grant program, invests in community colleges, extends support for Historically Black Colleges and other Minority Serving Institutions, and helps student borrowers manage their student loan debt by capping repayments at 10% of their discretionary income. These efforts will be fully paid for by ending the government subsidies currently given to banks and other financial institutions that make guaranteed federal student loans and free up nearly $68 billion for college affordability and deficit reduction over the next 11 years.

“For a long time, our student loan system has worked for banks and financial institutions,” President Obama said. “Today, we’re finally making our student loan system work for students and all of our families.”

“This legislation is a win for students and parents struggling to make ends meet to fulfill the dream of a college education,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. “By ending subsidies to banks, we can make important investments that increase affordability and access to our nation’s universities and community colleges.”

This historic law:

Invests more than $40 billion in Pell Grants to ensure that all eligible students receive an award and that these awards are increased in future years to help keep pace with the rising cost of college.

These investments, coupled with the funding provided in the Recovery Act and the President’s first two budgets, will more than double the total amount of funding available for Pell Grants since President Obama took office.

 Ensures that Americans can afford their student loan payments by expanding the existing income-based student loan repayment program.

New borrowers who assume loans after July 1, 2014, will be able to cap their student loan repayments at 10 percent of their discretionary income and, if they keep up with their payments over time, will have the balance forgiven after 20 years.

Includes $2 billion over four years for community colleges to develop, improve, and provide education and career training programs.

President Obama also asked Dr. Jill Biden to host a White House Summit on Community Colleges this fall to provide an opportunity for community college leaders, students, education experts, business leaders, and others to share innovative ways to educate our way to a better economy.

Starting July 1, all new federal student loans will be direct loans, delivered and collected by private companies under performance-based contracts with the Department of Education. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, ending these wasteful subsidies will free up nearly $68 billion for college affordability and deficit reduction over the next 11 years.

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What the heck does SAT stand for?

April 22, 2010
What does SAT mean, what does SAT stand for, what does SAT test stand for? At one point in history SAT used to stand for scholastic aptitude test which was created by CollegeBoard.com. It was believed that because this was an aptitude exam, you could not study to get a better score. Either you had […]

What does SAT mean, what does SAT stand for, what does SAT test stand for?

At one point in history SAT used to stand for scholastic aptitude test which was created by CollegeBoard.com. It was believed that because this was an aptitude exam, you could not study to get a better score. Either you had ‘it’ or you didn’t. Then people figured out that there was a pattern and you could actually prepare for these tests and do better.

The result of this finding was that CollegeBoard dropped the name of ‘aptitude’ and it became the SAT. There are two incarnations of this test the SAT I and the SAT II (SAT subjects tests).

Many colleges use this as a base on entering college, meaning if you don’t score high enough you may be admitted but have to take remedial classes. Likewise, many colleges use it as a bench mark to hand out merit based financial aid. So it is in your best interest to prepare for the tests and score as high as you can.

My recommendation is to take the test multiple times. Don’t wait until your senior year in high school to start. By starting early you will have a base score. With a base score you can find out what areas need improvement and prepare, study and review, then take the test again and again.

My people have been mislead into believing that if you take the test to many times then colleges will see you as desperate and not admit you or limit your aid. This is untrue. However, if you take it multiple times and do nothing in between by preparing and studying, you will not get a better score.

It is in your best interest to get the best score (and best grades) you can. It could result in a big shiny financial aid award.

So now you know what SAT stands for by College Board.

Create a free account and check out our SAT Test Prep, How to get a perfect score.

Also check out my SAT Question of the Day app for Facebook here add it to your profile now!

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