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How to Pay for College

According to the U.S. Department of Education, college costs are one of the most important factors in choosing which higher education institution to attend—and costs can vary significantly among schools. DOEd advises that the cost of college should be reasonable compared to the earning potential in a future career, to make sure to earn enough…

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College Student Loan Update

Students and their parents have to pay back more than the principal on college loans – interest and fees are assessed on the principal loan amount, which increases the overall cost of attending college. It is important to note that Subsidized loans start to accumulate interest after a grace period following graduation, while Unsubsidized loans…

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Predictions for College Lending

Many discussions are ongoing concerning the effect that the new federal tax bill may have on college financial aid and lending, as published in a recent article from InsideHigherEd.com. A new limit on annual graduate federal student college loans, which have been unlimited since Congress authorized the "Grad PLUS" program in 2005, is being discussed…

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Tax Bill Impact on Paying for College

According to RoadToCollege.com’s recent article, the recent tax bills passed in the House and Senate still need to be finalized before a bill can be signed into law, but they introduce many changes that affect college education funding, such as, income tax education deductions, endowment funds, and state budgets that support higher education. For parents,…

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How to Maximize College Financial Aid (Step 4 of 4)

Finally, the last recommended step from the Wall Street Journal article: Step 4: Save Strategically Save in the parent’s name, not the child’s, since FAFSA weighs parent assets at a maximum 5.64% rate, while student assets are assessed at a 20% rate. Convert your child’s savings and certificates of deposit to your 529 college-savings plan…

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How to Maximize College Financial Aid (Step 3 of 4)

Continuing from our blog last week from a Wall Street Journal article: Step 3: Manage Your Expenses Effectively Families planning to soon pay for large purchases (new car, replacing appliances), home improvements (replacing heating/cooling systems or roofs) or home remodeling, should do so before filing the FAFSA . Use cash to reduce your family’s assets…

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How to Maximize College Financial Aid (Step 2 of 4)

Continuing from our blog last week from a Wall Street Journal article: Step 2: Realize Capital Gains Parents of high-school sophomores (class of 2020) should take brokerage investment account gains now (prior to the end of 2017) because FAFSA uses 2018 as the “base year.” The FAFSA calculation adds a family’s adjusted gross income to…

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How to Maximize College Financial Aid (Step 1 of 4)

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently published an article on the best timing of making important personal financial moves to maximize financial aid in your child’s freshman year of college. Most parents make the mistake of waiting until their child’s senior year of high school, but that is too late, you should start no later…

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How Does Illinois Test for College-Readiness?

Is there a chance that Illinois high schools will soon change back to using the ACT instead of the SAT? The Chicago Tribune reported that on October 18th the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) unanimously set a minimum SAT proficiency score of 540 in the math portion and in the reading and writing section.…

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When to Complete your FAFSA

The U.S. Department of Education posts state deadlines for FAFSA completion on October 1st of each year for the coming school year. See the 2018-2019 schedule. DOEd recommends that Illinois college students and families complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after the October 1st start date because Illinois colleges determine financial aid awards until…

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