College Admissions In the Time of COVID

Recently, I spoke with families at the Sacramento Buddhist Church about the current state of education, particularly changes to the college admissions process as a result of the near holistic COVID-induced disruption. I’ve highlighted several issues in the following post, as well as included the full recording. Questions about widespread test-optional admissions dominated our conversation, as a multi-generational precedent in…

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Paying for College: Risk Versus Reward

The 1200% increase in college tuition over the last four decades, outpacing inflation by nearly 1000%, is Reason Number One parents often anxiously ask me about how their kid can apply for scholarships. As the conversation unfolds, many often also reveal having saved some for their children’s college expenses, though the amount is woefully inadequate, and are now looking for…

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The 2021-22 FAFSA Is Open

The 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA, which U.S. universities use to determine what, if any, financial assistance for families, opened on October 1, 2020. Parents and students can submit the form online, only requiring some time and patience to complete, what can, on first glance, be reminiscent of a complex tax form. Furthermore,…

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Merit Scholarship Concerns

At some universities, SAT and ACT scores are used to award merit scholarships, in addition to being a metric for admissions. (Merit scholarships are awarded regardless of a student’s family’s financial status and based on an applicant’s qualifications, like GPA and SAT or ACT scores.) Many parents are concerned that their children will miss merit scholarship opportunities, if they do…

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Student Loan Interest Rates for 2020-21

Federal student loan interest rates for the upcoming 2020-21 school year will be set lower than the 2019-20 school year. The 2020-21 rates will be as follows: Undergraduate Direct Loans: 2.75% Graduate Student Direct Loans: 4.3% Parent PLUS Loans: 5.3% Student loan interest rates are set annually and apply to any loan taken during that school year. The interest rates…

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Student Debt in Seven Charts

Not all student debt is ruinous.  However, borrowing can be complex.  Loans spend tomorrow’s income today, and for college students, a promise of tomorrow’s income is spent to pay for expenses in the present day.  Understanding recent growth in student loans and the challenges of repayment can help potential student loan borrowers consider both the benefits and the risks before borrowing. For the last 30 years,…

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Wait…I Have Student Debt?!?

In a recent survey published by the Brookings Institute, current college students with student debt were unaware of the exact loan amounts, as well as what they’d eventually repay.  At $1.2 Trillion and growing daily, total student debt may be more complicated than we, as a society understand. Highlights of the findings are below: At a public four-year colleges, 24% correctly estimated their…

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Ahead of the Curve: December 13, 2013

From the News: How to Stop Worrying about College Rejection, Washington Post December 9, 2013 Could LinkedIn’s University Pages Make the Difference in the College Admissions Process?, CBS Los Angeles December 6, 2013 College Admissions Offers May Be Easier to Obtain, Los Angeles Times November 25, 2013 From Clients: End of the Semester: “studying” for finals is a relative term.…

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Top 10 Remarks NOT To Make At Holiday Gatherings

Seniors and their entire immediate family are experiencing the college application process close up and personal. So in the spirit of holiday giving, if you don’t make ANY of the following top 10 remarks to a college applicant, they’ll appreciate the super-bonus holiday gift: 10. “So, where are you applying to college?” 9.  “What are you planning to major in?”…

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Choosing Colleges With The Price Tag In Mind

Price is increasingly becoming a factor in choosing colleges for application, and enrollment.  67% or two-thirds of families surveyed recently for a Sallie Mae study, eliminated potential colleges at some point in the application and research process based on price, with 40% not even researching colleges after learning the yearly costs.  Our clients are following similar trends, as more questions…

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Ahead of the Curve: October 23, 2013

From the news: Overscheduled Children: How Big a Problem, New York Times October 11, 2013 #PSAT — Students Tweet Amusing Reactions to Standardized Test, Washington Post October 16, 2013 Higher Price Pays Way Into Some College Classes, San Francisco Chronicle October 16, 2013 Army Realigns Reserve Officer Training Program, U.S. Army October 2, 2013 From our clients: “ARRRGH! I don’t…

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