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7 Steps to Applying to College in Rhode Island

Posted by Lindie Johnson on Nov 21, 2014 12:38:56 PM

Parents often needs to provide their high school seniors with some simple guidance during the college application season. Applying to college in Rhode Island has some great advantages and there are some things you need to be aware of. View this presentation for 7 simple points you can make to your child as they prepare for the next big step in his or her life.

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Topics: College Financial Aid, College Planning

Repayment flexibility on student loans

Posted by Lindie Johnson on Nov 14, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Loans with the Most Repayment Flexibility

If you went to college and have student loans, chances are you have a Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Subsidized (Stafford) Loan, as these are usually a student's best choice when they need to borrow for college. These loans offer a great array of benefits, from low interest rates and fees to extended, income-based, Pay asYou Earn and other repayment options. 

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Topics: Borrowing for College, Student Loan Repayment

Should I consider private student loan consolidation?

Posted by Lindie Johnson on Nov 11, 2014 7:30:00 AM

If you have private student loans, you may be considering refinancing those loans. Up until a few years ago, this was barely an option but recently programs have been cropping up to help students and parents restructure their education debt. This year, Rhode Island Student Loan Authority launched a refinancing program that allows students and parents to refinance private student loans, state-based student loans, and federal PLUS loans into a single fixed rate loan. 

So what should you be considering when deciding if private stuent loan consolidation is right for your personal situation? 

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Topics: Student Loan Repayment

How much will college cost my family?

Posted by Lindie Johnson on Nov 7, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Over the past sixteen years at College Planning Center of Rhode Island, we have heard this question time and time again: "How much will college cost my family?" This is a complex question with an equally complex answer but it really all comes down to two things: how much financial aid your family is eligible for and what school your child attends. 

Your Expected Family Contribution

So how much financial aid are you eligible for? Financial aid eligibility is determined by two different formulas: the Federal Methodology and the Institutional Methodology. The Federal Methodology is the formula used the the federal government  to determine your Expected Family Contribution, often referred to as your "EFC." Your EFC can only be determined one way - by completing the FAFSA. You need to complete a FAFSA for every year your child is in school, and your EFC can change from year to year as your family's circumstances change.

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Topics: College Financial Aid, Borrowing for College, Financial Education for Students

How to pay for college with no money

Posted by Lindie Johnson on Nov 3, 2014 3:30:00 PM

Your child has made a big commitment by choosing to go to college. Likewise, you are putting a large commitment in your child by agreeing to pay for college. But many parents, like yourself, can't help but wonder, "how the heck am I going to pay for this?"

The sticker price on a college education can no doubt lead to shock. If you see that number and wonder how to pay for college with no money, know that there are options available. Most families these days don't pay the sticker price published on a college website. Financial aid can greatly reduce that number to something that is affordable for your family. The amount of financial aid you are eligible for is directly related to your family's personal circumstances, including income, assets, number of children, age of parents, etc. The formula used to determine how much aid you will qualify for is called the "Federal Methodology." Some colleges also use an "Institutional Methodology" for awarding their own institutional funds. 

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Topics: Scholarships for High School Students, College Financial Aid, Financial Education for Students

4 ways avoid private student loan default

Posted by Lindie Johnson on Oct 28, 2014 10:47:00 AM

Student loan payments can be tough for some new graduates to manage. It's a stressful time in your life. You are just starting a career or still looking for a job and trying to manage life as an adult. But there are many long-term consequences to defaulting on a student loan, so you want to avoid it at all costs. These consequences impact your credit which can leave lasting marks that affect your ability to buy a house, a car, or even get a job.

If you are having trouble meeting your student loan payment, don't stress! Know there are some strategies that can help you manage payments and help you avoid state-based or private student loan default. 

1. Don't ignore your lender. 

This is the worst thing you can do. Your lender isn't out to get you! They are simply doing their jobs, which is to contact you and either get you paying or find another option to keep you from becoming delinquent. You may be eligible for a program that can delay or reduce your payments. Just talk to them and ask! At RISLA, we offer deferment options for those in school or deployed in the military, income based repayment for students and cosigners, forbearance for economic hardship, and forgiveness programs for permanent disability. These benefits aren't automatically applied to your account, so if you need them, ask! 

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Topics: Borrowing for College, Student Loan Repayment

5 ways to pick the best college for you

Posted by Lindie Johnson on Oct 23, 2014 9:10:00 AM

Yikes! It is almost time to start sending in your college applications and you've likely narrowed down your list a lot by now. Ideally, you want to apply to six to eight schools, so if you have more than that on your list, you still have some decisions to make.

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Topics: College Planning

9 steps to nailing your college essay

Posted by Lindie Johnson on Oct 19, 2014 10:26:00 AM

College planning is stressful. It's hard to decide where to apply, you want to make sure your application is just perfect, and you may even have to meet face-to-face with a college representative for an admissions interview. 

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Topics: College Essays

Preparing for a college interview

Posted by Lindie Johnson on Oct 14, 2014 11:30:00 AM

Not all colleges require an interview for admissions, but it is often a good idea to schedule one even if it is optional. You may be nervous, but an interview gives you an opportunity to show the college your personality, and let's you tell them first hand why you think you are a good fit for the college. 

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Topics: College Planning

10 must-dos at your college visits

Posted by Lindie Johnson on Oct 10, 2014 9:48:00 AM

How do you know if a college is a good fit for you? Of course, a lot of students out there just "get a feeling" but we mean how do you realllllly know? College is an enormous investment, so you don't want to pick a school on a whim! 

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Topics: College Planning