Monday, March 29, 2010

Graduation is near, Think about what next. A job? Grad school?

Spring Break is a good time to come to grips with the end of school.

If you are graduating in June, you need to really get on the ball. Do you have a job lined up? If not, are you deciding what you will do after graduation? You have a few options.

Take some time off and live with the folks back home. For a lot of college students, sadly, this will be the only option. But is that what you really want to do? Your parents will look at you differently now. You will be a full fledged adult and living off mom and pop. Some students can handle this, but many can't. Things will not be the same. Your parents will not like it when you stay out all night long with your friends.

Go to Grad school. Going to grad school can be a great option. You will then be able to spend the summer at home with a little more ease. Your folks will now you are going back to school in the fall. Plus, you can get more skills and put off job hunting. Job hunting in this lousy economy will be tough for a lot of college grads. Read more on going to grad school, financial aid, and admission tips.

Get a job. For most college graduates, this IS what you want to do. But what job? Did you choose the wrong college major for this time? No matter what your major was, you will need to do a lot of hard work to find a job. But, there are jobs. You may not get your dream job. Many college students make the mistake of holding out for a dream job. Instead, you should get the best job you can. It will give you experience and maybe a chance to move on or up in the company. No shame in taking a job that was not related to your major. You do what you have to do. Read more on finding a job after graduation.

Do an internship. Okay, so for the most part you won't get paid. But you can gain valuable insight on information on what certain jobs require and entail. An internship can gain you experience that can pad your resume, making you more marketable.

More information for college students:
>>Job interview tips.
>>Law school admission and scholarships.
>>Become a teacher and get a teaching job.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tuition Tax Breaks

Be sure and take advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

This is a tax for tuition and other college educational expenses. This is taking the place of the old Hope Tax credit. It is only in effect for the years 2009 and 2010. If you have not filed a tax return, be sure and get this education tax credit. If you have, you can file an amended return if you did not use this tax break.

You can get a total of $2,500 tax credit for expenses related to college. You get $2,000 back right of the top, and 25% of the next $2,000 for what could be $500 more. That makes the total $2,500. The Hope Credit was $1,800.

Who qualifies? Single tax payers up to $80,000 income, married up to $160,000.

If you are an adult working toward a degree, you can qualify! This is not just for young college students.

You can claim more educational expenses. This is not just tuition. Books and other course materials can now be included.

The Hope Credit was only for sophomores and freshman. Now the first four years are covered.

Yes, multiple people can be claimed. That is each student can get $2,500 tax break.

We agree that $2,500 is small change compared to the big cost. But it is something and adds to the affordability of college.

Don't owe any tax? Does not matter! You can get up to 40% of this tax credit as a refund!

>>30 ways to save money in college.

>>Save on textbooks.

>>Financial aid secrets.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

College students information: What sectors are hiring?

College students should be aware of what sectors of the job market is hiring or creating more jobs. At least in the short run this can enable you to make some good decisions about college and life.

Manufacturing has lost jobs and now employs less people. They are also getting mmore output from each worker, so job growth looks slow.

The service sector has lost jobs, but not as fast as manufacturing. Still, the service sector is very sluggish at the moment.

What sectors of the job market is hiring?

Health care is number one on the list. It is pretty recession proof. If you can get a college degree, all levels, that gets you into a job in the medical field, you are pretty much set with job security. This does include doctors and nurses, but there are many more jobs as well. These include public health, health administration, medical techs, pharmacy technicians, physical therapists, lab technicians, as well as many more. Some of these require technical school, while others require at least an associate degree.

Check out:
>>Nursing School Scholarships. >>Medical School Scholarships.

The federal government is another sector that is growing. Except for the postal service, that is. The government is expanding into financial oversight more, and there is job growth. Other federal agencies will grow as well, as any new health care bill takes root.

Social services is also a field that is growing. Family services, housing, emergency services. Anything related to people and living, like counseling.

The education field has taken a hit, but the jobs are still growing. Many states have made cuts, but for the most part and job in education is pretty secure.

Check out:
>>How to be a teacher and get a teaching job.

Computer services has been a field that continues to grow. It is not growing as fast as it did in the past, but they are not losing jobs. These jobs require special skills to design programs and applications, as well as service them.

If you are a college student who has not made a choice yet, you may want to look at the sectors that have job growth. If not, it may take you longer to find a job or use your degree. It is still possible to find a job, but will be harder.

Check out:
>>Finding a job after graduation. >>Job interview tips.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

College Students, Debit and Credit Cards

Are you a college student? Chances are you have either a debit card or a credit card. If you have both, there are things about debit cards that you should know. It make be better to use a credit card in those situations.

College students are always short on cash. If you have a debit card, you may not realize that some places will put a hold on funds. Since your debit card is hooked to your bank account, your account may come up short without noticing it until it is too late.

Are you a college student with a car? You might not want to use a debit card for buying gas. Most will put a hold on your card of $50 or so as soon as you swipe it. That is, they want to make sure you have enough in the bank to cover the gas you put in. Then, later, the gas company settles up. But in the meantime, your $20 gas purchase will seem like $50 out of your account. If you insist on using the debit card for gas, try and see if a PIN number purchase is available. Then, they will only take out what you bought.

Do you travel, like on spring break? Most college students do. Did you know that hotels also put a hold on the card you use at check-in? Let's say the room is $100 a night. But, because of damage, room service, stolen items, food from the locked fridge, etc., they could actually put a hold of several hundred dollars. If you use a debit card, that's money out of your account!

Many college students have cell phones or other monthly expenses on an ongoing basis. Some students elect to have the money taken out of their account or by debit on a recurring basis automatically. But computers make mistakes. You might have more taken out than you actually thought. That money is gone if it's tied to your bank account.

College students like to go out to eat. Be careful of using your debit card in restaurants. This is one of the few times that your card is taken out of your site. Fraud is more likely to occur in places like this. And, did you know that some restaurants put a hold on your account as well? That is, let's say your bill is $25. They may put a hold of $30 to make up for any tip you leave. Then, later, it gets settled up. But that puts your bank account lower temporarily if you use a debit card.

Bottom line is this. Racking up loads of debt as a student is not a good idea. But using a credit card is a safer way. It is not tied to your bank account and you can contest the charges. Also, the things you buy come with a warranty if bought using a credit card. That is, you have the right to not pay if something is wrong, or at least contest the charges.

>>Read more information about college students and credit cards.

>>5 Jobs that college students can get.

>>Financial Aid Secrets.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

College Financial Aid Myths

Do you think college is expensive? It is! Do you think you can't afford it? You probably can! There are many myths and half-truths when it comes to going to college. It is true that college is not right for everyone and their situation. But if you really want to go to college, chances are, you can!

Here are a few financial aid myths.

My parents are just too rich. Totally false! There are financial aid programs from every college for everyone. It is true that some pay more, but the reality is, colleges work with you no matter how well off you might seem.

There's no money for financial aid anymore. Really false! It is true that some colleges and universities have cut the overall funds, but they have raised others! And the federal government has upped Pell Grants and student loans! Plus, you get a bigger tax deduction! There is money for financial aid!

Did you know that most financial aid comes from the government? Don't believe the hype of those scholarship searches who claim they will get you plenty.

I did not get good grades, so I can't get any award. Not true! Most financial aid is based on need, not grades. Yes, there are some merit scholarships, but the majority of money awarded is awarded on need!

I have to work, so I can't go to college. Actually, you are in a better situation! You have some income! Colleges are adding more weekend and night classes just for you! And you can still qualify for student loans and other financial aid awards!

I have to settle for a state college or university because private ones are just too expensive for my family. Nothing could be further from the truth! Overall, maybe, private institutions cost more, but guess what? They also have more money to give away! Many large private universities actually get everybody who is admitted the money to attend, one way or another!

I need to live at home and go to a local college. Except for moving expenses, your cost of living in a dorm will probably cost less than what your parents would shell out for you being at home. Don't forget those tax credits! They can still claim you! There is not much difference in staying at home and living in the dorm. Most parents just don't realize how much money you cost to have around the house!

Did you know that your parent's house is not included when figuring out financial aid?

Are you aware that colleges will take your financial situation into account when determining your financial aid award? You can explain any financial situations and hardships that you would like them to know about.

Be careful. Your friends and family will tell you different things. Talk to your high school counselor and the financial aid officer at the college. They have the real scoop!

If you really want to go to college, there is no need for you to sit on the sidelines! It takes you filling out applications and talking to the right people!

>>Tips for more financial aid.

>>College Cash for Free.

>>Five quick jobs for college students.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

College admissions are crowded!

Prospective college students are going all out this year to be accepted at their college or university of choice.

Most schools now have waiting lists. Many students will be disappointed that they did not get their first choice.

That's why you cannot wait much longer. Many deadlines are passing, and if you wait for one, you will miss the other. It is far better to be accepted at one school and be assured of a seat, than being shut out entirely.

And if you are accepted, it does not mean you have to go. You don't sign any contract that forces you to pick one school and only one school. That's why it is important that you make plans for two to three schools.

Because the competition is fierce, your application must standout. The application process can be downright silly. Some schools are even taking videos uploaded on youtube to see what the student is like. That is, instead of an essay, just do a video.

But don't be fooled. A silly video or crazy portfolio will not get you in. There are some things that you can do to make yourself standout from the rest. You don't want to appear looney. You don't want to appear to be silly. That will not get you in. Colleges want students with potential to be successful. So, what to do?

Grades and test scores. Yup, you cannot fake academic ability. Schools want academic students. Students who have shown they can excel and succeed in school. Your grades and test scores must be higher than average to standout from the crowd.

Experience counts! What have you done with your life to show you can be involved in many activities that are worthwhile? This will show that you have the ability and willingness to try new things and not be afraid of failure.

Emphasize your potential! The college does not want to see a lot of fluff in your essay. They don't want you to brag. They don't want to see you beg. What do they want? They want to get to know you on a personal basis. What makes you different from other students that they should take a chance on you? What difficulties or problems have you had to overcome? Make yourself look like a person who they can be sure of taking college seriously and succeeding.

Above all, don't wait! You may end up going to the last college on your list!

>>30 ways to cut the cost of college.

>>Find and buy cheap textbooks.

>>Find a job after graduating.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Tuition Tax Credit

Don't forget to claim the new tax credit for tuition and other expenses. This new one replaces the Hope credit and was part of the stimulus package.

It is in effect for 2009 and 2010.

How much? You can deduct up to $2,500 in tuition and other expenses.

Who qualifies? Single taxpayers with incomes of $80,000 and married up to $160,000.

If you are not claimed on your parent's return, you also qualify. This means working adults who are going back to school.

What is covered? Tuition, textbooks, fees, and even course materials.

The Hope credit only covered the first two years. This credit is available to third and fourth years students as well.

>>More college money help.

>>Financial aid secrets.

>>College students and car insurance.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Help and Worries about filling out your FAFSA

You must fill out and submit a FAFSA in order to get any type of financial aid. That includes most scholarships, grants, and loans. Anything financial aid related will depend on your FAFSA. Many students and families have trouble filling out the FAFSA. Some even make errors and don't get what they should. Some errors are worse than others. You want to get he maximum financial aid award you can, but be truthful. In trying to be overly truthful, some parents and students enter wrong information or too much.

One thing you should know, is that most colleges and universities have a deadline. These are mostly in the middle of March (this month!). The federal due date is in June. But if you wait until June, you will be shut out of everything except loans. And that means more money out of your pocket!

What to look for and worry about on your FAFSA
The form should be easy for most people. But it's not. Just the mention of FAFSA sends shivers. Relax. The federal government has made the online version of the FAFSA easier. There are not as many questions. So use the online form. The online form even has a way to submit your tax information (if you have filed already) right from the form. No typing it in. That alone would save bunch of time.

It is a good idea to have filed your tax return before you start the FAFSA.

Your award is based on some things in your tax return. If you have not filed, the award is only a guess until things are finalized.

Watch your mistakes and spell your name correctly and completely. You don't know how many get rejected or have problems because of this.

Many students and parents think they need to list all assets. Not true. The house and retirement funds are not to be reported. If you report these, then you are reporting more assets, hence less financial aid award.

Also, step parents financial situation needs to be included. Even if they have nothing legally to do with you. Even if agreements as to which real parent is responsible.

Make sure you read all the fine print on the FAFSA to be as accurate as you can. That is, 100% accurate.

The last thing you need to know is that each school has their own financial aid package to give. Some schools will cover more than others. Use this to your advantage and pit one school against the other. Click here for tips on getting more financial aid.

Nursing is a recession proof career. Find out out to get nursing scholarships.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why do students drop out of college?

Each year, many students drop out of college. There could be many reasons for this. Are you in danger of dropping out of college? How can you keep yourself from quitting school? Life will only be better if you get a college degree.

Here are some top reasons for not finishing college.

Students said the following:

Need to work and make money.
Cannot afford tuition.
No financial help from family.
No help from high school counselors.

When students were asked what could have helped then stay in college, they answered:
Give financial aid to part time students too.
Offer classes at night and weekends.
Cut the cost of college.

What can you do?

AS far as the cost of college, not much you can do about that if the college has set costs. But you can help to reduce your overall cost of attending college.
Here are some college money help articles:
>30 ways to save money in college.
>Financial aid secrets.
>Get more financial aid.

College is at least a four year commitment. There is no shame in taking longer to get a college degree. Take as many classes as you are able to attend and afford. The trick is to keep at it. Don't take a break. if you do, you may not feel the need to get back into college classes. Just keep remembering that college ups your marketability and raises your income potential.

>Click here for tips on college success.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Bill on Student Loans

Congress is considering the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA. This bill has passed the House, but is still in the Sentate.

What does this bill do? In simple terms, it eliminates private companies from offering federal subsidized student loans. That is, just the federal government would make the subsidized student loans.

Is this good or bad?

Well, the Obama administration believes it will increase the federal money for college loans from the government. The logic is that instead of sending money to private banks, the money would be kept and used for loans.

However, it does mean that now other banks cannot compete for lower cost loans like these. Basically makes them a non-player, at least for a "normal" student loan which every student can get.

The bill has other items as well. Pell Grants are raised to $5,550 in 2010 and $6,900 by 2019. Tuition tax credits are extended. More money is earmarked for local community colleges.

How does this new bill, if enacted, affect the college student? If you are one that likes to shop around for banks, it will limit your first choice of a student loan to the government. Best to check with your financial aid officer. Since these loans are made directly, it may streamline the process.

>>More college money help.

>>Cheap Textbooks.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just for fun, new Facebook College Student Group

Are you into facebook?
New group:
Needy College Students Facebook Group

Anyone can join, just for fun!