4 Mistakes You Are Making With Financial Aid

1.         Not completing FAFSA by your college’s deadline

Most colleges have limited funds for financial aid so when you apply late, you run the risk of not getting first dibs on scholarships, FSEOG grants or work study. Find out your college’s deadline and make sure you’re applying by the due date. This year, you’re in luck - you can start applying for FAFSA starting in October 1st.  

2.         Taking only the minimum number of credits to be full time

Are you only taking 12 credits per semester? If you need 120 credits to graduate, you’re adding at least one extra year to your graduation date. So, you’re paying an extra year of tuition, taking one more year of loans and you’ll start earning money one year later! Add more credits per semester to graduate sooner. And, don’t forget to brush up on your study skills to manage the heavier course load.

3.         Not knowing your school’s satisfactory academic progress requirements

 To qualify for federal financial aid each year, you must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) eligibility requirements that include minimum GPA and pace benchmarks.  When you fail or withdraw from a class, it reduces your pace and it may not meet the minimum requirement. Check your school’s SAP policy online or in the financial aid office  to ensure that your GPA and pace meet the criteria each semester. 

4.         Not making friends with your financial aid counselor

Your financial aid office can be a great resource for scholarships that you may not know about, but qualify for. Ask about scholarships that fit your extracurricular or academic profile. Colleges also often have emergency scholarships for students to fill a small gap or to pay for books. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.

 

Margo Wright, CEO and Founder of Yenko Inc.

Margo is the founder of Yenko, a software company that sells software to help students avoid losing financial aid. Yenko’s personalized, early alert analytics identify and support students at risk. The company was born out of her frustration that over Forty-five percent (45%) of U.S. adults do not possess a post-secondary degree. She previously served as Senior Manager for College Readiness and College Success at the Harlem Children’s Zone and as Executive Director of Bodanna, a nonprofit social enterprise.

http://www.getyenko.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/margow


One Stop Shop to Pay "My" Tuition

Classes should be challenging. Funding college shouldn’t be.

 

That is why we are your one-stop-shop for all of your financial needs and tuition assistance. PYT Funds provides alternative solutions to the traditional student loan by combining crowdfunding with an alternative credit scoring model to improve your chances of being approved for a private student loan.

 

Private student loans are loans funded by banks or other lending institutions. It is often more difficult for a student to obtain a private student loan because they require an established credit history or a creditworthy cosigner, yet federal student aid does not. While every student situation can vary, there are some students who are unable to finance the entirety of their education with federal student aid alone.

 

If you find yourself wondering, “How will I pay my tuition?” You are in luck, PYT can help. With our proprietary non-traditional process, we are able to bypass the inflexible traditional student loan requirements by creating a space to crowdfund the remaining tuition balance to decrease the debt burden, and then employ our alternative credit scoring model to increase the likelihood of your private student loan getting approved.

 

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What you should know about a cosigner " Pay My Tuition "

 

What you should know about a cosigner

Many students seeking higher education often have trouble obtaining the financing they need to fund their education because they have not had enough time to establish good credit on their own. When a student cannot obtain financing on their own, a cosigner may be able to help.

A student loan cosigner is a creditworthy adult who agrees to be responsible for the student loan in the event that the student is unable to make timely payments themselves. Adding a cosigner reduces the risk of defaulting on a loan. Because of this, lenders are more likely to approve loans when there is an additional person responsible for paying back the borrowed money.

Having a cosigner can also bring down the costs of student loans. Even if a student is able to obtain a loan without a cosigner, adding an additional creditworthy borrower to the loan can sometimes result in a lower interest rate and a lower monthly payment. When researching student loan options it is important to ask your lender about how a cosigner might benefit you.

 

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12 Myths About the FAFSA

There’s so much information available about financial aid for college or career school that it can be hard to tell the facts from fiction. We’ve got you covered! Here are some common myths—and the real scoop—about financial aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.

 

MYTH 1: My parents make too much money, so I won’t qualify for any aid.

FACT: The reality is there’s no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. It doesn’t matter if you have a low or high income; most people qualify for some type of financial aid, including low-interest federal student loans. Many factors besides income—such as your family size and your year in school—are taken into account.

TIP: When you fill out the FAFSA form, you’re also automatically applying for funds from your state, and possibly from your school as well. In fact, some schools won’t even consider you for any of their scholarships (including academic scholarships) until you’ve submitted a FAFSA form. Don’t make assumptions about what you’ll get—fill out the application and find out!

MYTH 2: The 2018–19 FAFSA® form launches on Jan. 1.

FACT: The 2018–19 FAFSA form launched on Oct. 1. You should submit a FAFSA form as early as possible because some states and schools have limited funds.

MYTH 3: I should use my 2017 tax information to fill out the 2018–19 FAFSA® form.

FACT: You must use your 2016 tax information to complete the 2018–19 FAFSA form. (The requirements changed last year.) It doesn’t matter if you or your parents haven’t filed 2017 taxes yet, because the 2018–19 FAFSA form doesn’t need that information. You won’t have to update your FAFSA form after filing 2017 taxes either, because 2016 information is what’s required. If your financial situation has changed since 2016, complete the 2018–19 FAFSA form using the tax information it requires (2016), and then contact your school’s financial aid office to discuss the change in your situation. They can make updates to your FAFSA information if warranted.

MYTH 4: I support myself, so I don’t have to include my parent’s info on the FAFSA® form.

FACT: This is not necessarily true. Even if you support yourself, live on your own, or file your own taxes, you may still be considered a dependent student for FAFSA purposes. The FAFSA form asks a series of questions to determine your dependency status. If you’re independent, you won’t need to include your parents’ information on your FAFSA form. But if you’re dependent, you must provide your parents’ information.

If you’re a dependent student, find out who is considered your parent for FAFSA purposes. (It’s not as obvious as you might think.)

MYTH 5: I should wait until I’m accepted to a college before I fill out the FAFSA® form.

FACT: Don’t wait. You can start now! As a matter of fact, you can start as early as your senior year of high school. You must list at least one college to receive your information. You SHOULD list all schools you’re considering even if you haven’t applied or been accepted yet. It doesn’t hurt your application to add more schools; colleges can’t see the other schools you’ve added. In fact, you don’t even have to remove schools if you later decide not to apply or attend. If you don’t end up applying or getting accepted to a school, the school can just disregard your FAFSA form.

You can add up to 10 schools at a time. If you’re applying to more than 10 schools, here’s what you should do. If you want to add another school after you submit your FAFSA form, you can log in at fafsa.gov and submit a correction.

The schools you list will use your FAFSA information to determine the types and amounts of aid you may receive.

MYTH 6: If I didn’t receive enough money for school. I’m just out of luck.

FACT: You still have options! If you’ve received federal, state, and college aid but still find yourself having to fill the gap between what your financial aid covers and what you owe your school, check out these 7 options.

MYTH 7: I should call “the FAFSA® people” (Federal Student Aid) to find out how much financial aid money I’m getting and when.

FACT: No, you’ll have to contact your school. Federal Student Aid does not award or disburse your aid, so we won’t be able to tell you what you’ll get or when you’ll get it. You will have to contact the financial aid office at your school to find out the status of your aid and when you should expect it. Just keep in mind that each school has a different timeline for awarding financial aid.

MYTH 8: There’s only one FAFSA® deadline and that’s not until June.

FACT: Nope! There are at least three deadlines you need to check: your state, school, and federal deadlines. You can find the state and federal deadlines at fafsa.gov. You’ll need to check your school’s website for their FAFSA deadline. If you’re applying to multiple schools, make sure to check all of their deadlines and apply by the earliest one. Also, if you’re applying to any scholarships that require the FAFSA form, they might have a different deadline as well! Even if your deadlines aren’t for a while, we recommend you fill out the FAFSA form as soon as possible to make sure you don’t miss out on any aid.

MYTH 9: I only have fill out the FAFSA® form once.

FACT: You have to fill out the FAFSA form every year you’re in school in order to stay eligible for federal student aid.

MYTH 10: I can share an FSA ID with my parent(s).

FACT: Nope, if you’re a dependent student, then two people will need their own FSA ID to sign your FAFSA form online:

  1. You (the student)
  2. One of your parents

An FSA ID is a username and password that you use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as fafsa.gov.

If you’re a dependent student, your parent will need his or her own FSA ID to sign your FAFSA form electronically. If your parent has more than one child attending college, he or she can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications. You’ll need a unique email address for each FSA ID.

Your FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Don’t give your FSA ID to anyone—not even to someone helping you fill out the FAFSA form. Sharing your FSA ID could put you at risk of identity theft and could cause delays in the FAFSA process!

MYTH 11: Only students with good grades get financial aid.

FACT: While a high grade point average will help you get into a good school and may help with academic scholarships, most federal student aid programs do not take grades into consideration when you first apply. Keep in mind that if you want to continue receiving aid throughout your college career, you will have to maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by your school.

MYTH 12: It costs money to submit the FAFSA® form.

FACT: Absolutely not! You NEVER have to pay to complete the FAFSA form when you go to fafsa.gov. If you’re paying a fee, you’re not on the official government website.

So what’s next?

Go to fafsa.gov and fill out the application. If you applied for admission to a college or career school and have been accepted, and you listed that school on your FAFSA form, the school will calculate your aid and will send you an electronic or paper financial aid offer telling you how much aid you’re eligible for at the school.

 

Mia Johnson is a Management & Program Analyst at the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.


3 Ways to get out of Student Loan Default

Posted by Nick Dvorscak


If you didn’t make payments on your federal student loans and are now in default, don’t get discouraged. It may seem like an overwhelming situation, but you have multiple options for getting out of default. Remember, it’s in your best interest to act quickly to resolve the default, because the consequences of default can be severe.

If you have a defaulted federal student loan owned by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), immediately contact ED’s Default Resolution Group. They will help you figure out the best way to resolve the default based on your individual circumstance.

Default Resolution Group
1-800-621-3115
1-877-825-9923 TTY for the deaf or hard of hearing

 

Options for Getting Out of Default

You have three options for getting out of default: loan rehabilitation, loan consolidation, or repayment in full.


1. Loan Rehabilitation

To rehabilitate most defaulted federal student loans, you must sign an agreement to make a series of nine monthly payments over a period of 10 consecutive months. The monthly payment amount you’ll be offered will be based on your income, so it should be affordable. In fact, your monthly payment under a loan rehabilitation agreement could be as low as $5! Each payment must be made within 20 days of the due date.

Get more information about loan rehabilitation.

Note: You can rehabilitate a defaulted loan only once.


2. Loan Consolidation

Loan consolidation allows you to pay off your defaulted federal student loans by consolidating (combining) your loans into a new Direct Consolidation Loan.

To consolidate a defaulted federal student loan into a new Direct Consolidation Loan, you must either

  • agree to repay the new Direct Consolidation Loan under an income-driven repayment plan or
  • make three consecutive, voluntary, on-time, full monthly payments on the defaulted loan before you consolidate it.

Learn about which repayment plans will be available to you, and get additional information about loan consolidation.


3. Repayment in full

Repayment in full is exactly as it sounds; you can repay the full amount that you owe at any time.

We understand that repayment in full is not a viable option for most people. If that’s the case, you should focus on deciding between loan rehabilitation and loan consolidation.


Comparing the Benefits You Regain After Rehabilitation and Consolidation
Now that you have a better understanding of what rehabilitation and consolidation are, you can determine which option is best for you. Once your loan has successfully been removed from default, you will regain eligibility for certain benefits, depending on whether you chose rehabilitation or consolidation.

  Loan Rehabilitation Loan Consolidation
Regained eligibility for deferment, forbearance, and loan forgiveness Yes Yes
Regained eligibility for additional federal student aid Yes Yes
Choice of repayment plans Yes Yes (but there may be limitations—see below**)
Removal of the record of default from your credit history Yes (but see below*) No

*If you rehabilitate a defaulted loan, the record of the default will be removed from your credit history. However, your credit history will still show late payments that were reported by your loan holder before the loan went into default. If you consolidate a defaulted loan, the record of the default (as well as late payments reported before the loan went into default) will remain in your credit history.

**Unless you make three voluntary, on-time, full monthly payments on a defaulted loan before you consolidate it, your choice of repayment plans for the new Direct Consolidation Loan will be limited to one of the income-driven repayment plans. If you make three voluntary, on-time, full monthly payments before consolidating, you can choose from any of the repayment plans available to Direct Consolidation Loan borrowers.


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8 things you should know about federal work study

Posted by Chandra Owen, Justin Chase Brown and Karla Weber on July 27, 2017

If you’re looking for another way to help pay for college, Federal Work-Study may be a great option for you. Work-study is a way for students to earn money to pay for school through part-time on- (and sometimes off-) campus jobs. The program gives students an opportunity to gain valuable work experience while pursuing a college degree. However, not every school participates in the Federal Work-Study Program. Schools that do participate have a limited amount of funds they can award to eligible students. This is why it is so important for students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form as early as possible, as some schools award work-study funds on a first-come, first-served basis.

Here are eight things you should know about the Federal Work-Study Program:

 

1. Being awarded Federal Work-Study does not guarantee you a job.

Accepting the Federal Work-Study funds you’re offered is just the first step. In order to receive those funds, you need to earn them, which means you need to start by finding a work-study job.

Some schools may match students to jobs, but most schools require the student to find, apply for, and interview for positions on their own, just like any other job. Either way, students who are interested in work-study or who have already been awarded work-study should contact the financial aid office at their school to find out whether positions are available, how to apply and how the process works at their school.

2. Not all work-study jobs are on campus.

The availability of work-study positions includes community service options with non-profit employers, which means some work-study jobs are available for off-campus work. (An example: reading to or tutoring children at local elementary schools.) If you are curious about securing a community service work-study position, contact the financial aid office or the career center on campus.

3. Work-study funds are not applied directly to your tuition.

Unlike other types of financial aid, work-study earnings are not applied directly to your tuition and fees. Students who are awarded work-study receive the funds in a paycheck as they earn them, based on hours worked, just like a normal job. These earnings are meant to help with the day-to-day expenses that students have and are not meant to cover large costs like tuition and housing.

4. Work-study jobs may be limited.

You may still be able to work on campus without work-study if your school does not have enough work-study funds or positions to cover all on-campus student employees. Many campuses offer jobs for students with or without work-study. Check with the student employment office on your campus to find out what is available.

5. Federal Work-Study is not guaranteed from year to year.

There are several factors that can determine whether or not you receive work-study from year to year. These include your family income or financial need, whether you used the work-study funds that were offered to you in a prior year, and/or how much work-study funding your school receives that year.

Contact your school for specific awarding criteria if you are interested in work-study. Typically, students who file the FAFSA form early and answer that they are interested in Federal Work-Study will have a better chance of being awarded funds from the program.

6. Pay may vary.

Work-study jobs vary in qualifications and responsibilities, so the pay will depend on the job that you are hired to do. Pay may also depend on your school’s policies and/or the minimum wage requirements in the state.

7. Hours worked may vary.

How many hours you work each week will depend on the type of job you get and your employer’s expectations. Most employment positions for students, however, will work around your class schedule and only require between 10 and 20 hours per week, but again—that can vary!

8. Work-study earnings are removed from your FAFSA calculation.

One of the benefits of earning income through a Federal Work-Study position is that those earnings do not count against you when you complete the FAFSA form. There’s a question on the FAFSA form that asks how much was earned through work-study during a particular tax year; make sure to answer that question accurately so the amount can be factored out. If you do not know how much you earned, you can contact the financial aid office at your school for help.

 


13 WAYS TO MANAGE COLLEGE-RELATED STRESS

Transitioning to college can be as scary as it is exciting. Living away from home, prioritizing responsibilities and parting with lifelong norms can all be pretty stressful. According to a survey of more than 93,000 students at 108 colleges by the American College Health Association, more than half experienced overwhelming anxiety, while 85.6 percent of students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do.

1. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF

Feeling overwhelmed is nothing to be ashamed of, and you're definitely not alone. There are tons of resources and professionals available to support you. Take full advantage.

2. FIND YOUR STUDENT WELLNESS CENTER

Locate your campus wellness center and keep that phone number on deck in case of emergencies. This is a great resource for physical health, coaching and overall wellness support.

3. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER

Dehydration can negatively impact your mood and your health. Be sure to mind your water intake.

4. UNPLUG

We're all addicted to our mobile devices but the constant scrolling and stimuli can have a negative effect. Heavy cell phone use has been linked to depression and sleep deprivation. Take a moment to unplug from time to time.

5. LOCATE YOUR COUNSELING AND PSYCH SERVICES

Many colleges offer free counseling services or group sessions. Don't hesitate to tap these resources.

6. GET SLEEP

Get plenty of rest! Caffeine can be your best friend and your worst enemy during those late night cram sessions, but try not to make a habit of artificial stimulants as they can throw off your sleep pattern.

7. EXERCISE

Whether you choose to go to your campus fitness center, jog outside or hit a few yoga poses from the comfort of your room, get in plenty of physical activity. Aside from warding off the dreaded freshman fifteen, the mental effects of exercise are real. The endorphins, adrenaline and dopamine released when engaged in physical activity all work together to help you feel good.

8. GO OUTSIDE

Don't underestimate the power of nature to combat stress. When you're feeling overwhelmed, get outside, walk around campus and take in some fresh air.

9. VOLUNTEER

Nothing provides a guaranteed pick-me-up like helping others. Get involved in community service. Organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and The Boys and Girls Club are always looking for mentors.

10. GET CENTERED

Whether it's prayer, meditation or praise and worship, your spiritual practice is a powerful tool in maintaining a healthy balance. If you're missing your home church, the HaloLoop app allows you to livestream and participate virtually in your hometown service.

11. JOURNAL

Relationship issues, that class you might not pass, financial woes...don't keep it bottled in. Take a few minutes and write in a journal to prevent the buildup of stress and anxiety.

12. KICK BACK

Schedule downtime to kick it with friends, clown around or just Netflix and chill. Always make time to recharge.

13. CELEBRATE

Take a look at what you've already accomplished. You're doing it. You are adulting successfully! Just keep giving it 100 percent.

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PYT Partners with GS2 to Launch a No Co-Signer Student Loan

San Diego, CA / May 11, 2017 —  Goal Structured Solutions, Inc. (“GS2”) announces that students are now empowered to alleviate the unnecessary debt burden on their families with the next iteration of its Ascent Program for Funding Education (“Ascent”). Ascent Independent is a new student loan that considers more than a credit score and current income to give students greater opportunities to pay for school on their own, without a cosigner. To help make paying for school more affordable for students, GS2 also improved pricing and introduced fixed rates for both Ascent Independent and the existing Ascent Tuition student loans.Today’s announcement reflects GS2’s ongoing commitment to provide students with more opportunities to fund their education with a loan in their own name. Over 1,800 schools are currently eligible for Ascent Independent and Ascent Tuition. Ascent addresses a real need for students and enhances access to higher education, while preserving the notion that students and their families should not be over-burdened with debt.

 

“We continue to provide innovative solutions in education finance that change the way people pay for college. Our Ascent Program for Funding Education, with its new Independent product, is our boldest innovation yet.  While the rest of the market is making loans to parents, our objective is to put the money in the hands of the people who need it the most, students!” added Ken Ruggiero, Chairman and CEO of GS2. “We’ve developed our products with students in mind.  We believe that higher education is a worthy investment and an opportunity for students to gain financial literacy and security.”

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Go PYT makes college affordable

One Howard University student avoids dropping out of college by using the PYT Funds innovate community gifting platform that also combines bank financing.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/02/04/3618665/crowdfunding-tuition-app-make-college-affordable/