Saturday, March 31, 2007

Frustration With Aid Applications

One of the issues with applying for student loans that is often overlooked is the time and frustration that goes along with it. Even at my age, I don't like to become frustrated (and throw a tantrum when I do). The Chicago Tribune has an article on how College aid forms tests families' pain threshold:

If you have just finished applying for financial aid for a college student you might have a few gray hairs.

Filling out a FAFSA—the form required for obtaining low-interest federal loans and college grants and scholarships—is a grueling process. It's so confusing and time-consuming that parents often start to think of their tax return as a walk in the park by comparison.

The good news? There's a bill called "College Aid Made EZ Act" that is intended to make it easier to apply for financial aid by simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form working its way through Congress. The best option is not having to apply for these loans by saving early, but for those that do, making the process as simple as possible is always a good goal.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

14 Ways To Find Financial Aid

While this is not something that I am going to have to worry about since I'm starting my college savings early, that is not the case for everyone out there. Here are 14 proven ways to get financial aid from NextStudent

1. Search Far and Wide
2. Apply, Apply and Apply
3. Remember Cutoff Dates
4. Go Local
5. Be Careful Where You Put Your Money
6. Network
7. Look into Fellowships and Grants
8. Match up Your Interests
9. Serve Your Country
10. Look to Your Roots
11. Go Rural
12. There’s Always Begging
13. Try Again, Ask Your Parents for Help
14. Don’t Fall Behind

Of course, the best strategy is to start saving early so you don't have to worry about any of this when it's time to go to college ;)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Should Personal Finance Be A General Education Class?

Even at my young age, I can see the benefits of making personal finance a required course in both high school and college. This was the subject of an piece at the Daily Trojan college newspaper:

While a student can't earn a bachelor's degree from our fair university without taking courses in writing, global cultures and scientific inquiry, the essential subject of personal finance is totally absent from the curriculum. With all due respect to the academy, understanding how to manage money will be far more important to most upon graduation than understanding the sexual rituals of vanishing tribes in Papua New Guinea...

Some may argue that a school nicknamed the "University of Spoiled Children" wouldn't need to educate its students about money because they already have it; however, the problem with many spoiled children is that they've never known how to make it. With expenses reliably placed on parents' credit cards and the word "budget" absent from their vocabularies, students used to relying on an expense account while in school may face a rude awakening when they become independent.

I'm all for basic financial education for all and I hope that this isn't even a topic of discussion when I reach college age.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Personal Finance Courses Popular In College

Business week has written an article on personal finance courses in college:

Personal-finance classes—for business and non-business majors alike—are in demand among undergrads, who are looking to get a head start on their financial future. Olin's personal-finance course, which is about 10 years old, has grown from 80 students per semester at its start to 200 today.

Let's hope by the time I get there, it is a required class for graduation...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

College Personal Finance Classes

I hope that by the time I get to college that personal finance courses will be a requirement as in this article:

Recent college graduate Erica Brooks wasn't exactly overcome with excitement when she decided to take a course in personal financial planning during her final semester at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

"I thought, 'That's really boring,'" she recalled. "That's what parents are for."

Nearly three years later, Brooks considers those lessons in debt management, retirement planning and prudent spending some of her most valuable college experiences.

It doesn't surprise me even at this early age that real life classes would have a huge impact for those going out into the world on their own for the first time (^_^)