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6 Scholarship Myths That Just Aren't True

Posted on Oct 20, 2017 with No comments

Oct 20, 2017

It's that time of year again when high school seniors are applying for college and Mom and Dad are finding ways to pay for it. If you were smart the last 18 years you have been saving for college in a good 529 plan. Even though you have the money set aside for your childs college it's still a good idea to apply for FASFA money, every source of financing for college will be necesary.

Still there is one final thing many parents just do not do, and that is apply for scholarships. You are thinking that your child just doesn't have the grades to receive a scholarship but you may be suprised to know there are other qualifications a student posesses that will get them a scholarship.

There is a lot of bad information out there that says that scholarships are just to hard to get. Some students lose out on thousands of dollars just because of bad information. Let's break down some common scholarship myths and get more young people the money they need.

Scholarship Myths

Myth 1. Millions of Dollars of Scholarship Money Goes Unclaimed

Employer paid education benefits are included in the millions of unclaimed scholarship money and account for 85% of it. So in reality the number of unclaimed dollars is much less.

Myth 2. Competition for Scholarships is too Stiff

If you look hard enough you can find a scholarship requiring your specific talents or ideas. Not all are aimed at the student with the highest GPA or the the most community service hours.

Myth 3. Only the Best Students Receive Undergraduate Scholarships

Scholarships tend to honor those of specific majors and interests, as many universities offer full rides to students who have performed well in high school.

Myth 4. Scholarship Offers will Come to Me

This one is simple. If you do not put forth the effort, you won't reap the benefits. Scholarship agencies do not search for students. They only look at applicants.

Myth 5. Applying for a loan will Hurt My Chances for Getting a Scholarship

Every school is different, but most offer scholarships before loans can be taken out. And even if they do not necessary loans should not effect scholarship amounts.

Myth 6. Scholarships Require Exceptional Talent

This just isn't true. Many scholarships are random and based on luck, while others require simple essays about why you deserve the money.

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Ramen Risks: 3 Reasons A Student Food Budget Should Be Part of Your 529 Plan

Posted on Oct 12, 2017 with No comments

Oct 12, 2017

A 529 plan is one of the best ways to help save for college. It helps you to put money away for your child’s higher education, giving them a leg up when it comes to the expensive world of college. Unfortunately, too many family members fund their 529 plans with only tuition in mind. Below are three reasons why you should make sure that a food budget is part of the plan.

Students Need to Eat

It should come as no surprise that eating is one of the major priorities for students. It might seem a bit facetious to bring that up, but it’s easy to forget that your student is going to need to eat as well as pay tuition when he or she gets to college.

If he or she doesn’t have the money to eat, there will be options—but they definitely aren’t great. If you don’t want your student to spend his college years subsisting on ramen and cheap coffee, it may be a good idea to work food into your college savings plan.

Food is Expensive

As an adult, it’s a bit difficult to remember how hard it can sometimes be to get a solid meal. If you’ve got a steady job, you are aware that you spend money on food—but it’s just another part of your budget.

As a student who has just gone to school, though, the cost of food can seem astronomical. If a student doesn’t have help paying for his or her meals initially, you can expect him or her to struggle financially. If you don’t want to bail a student out later, make sure to fund his or her food budget early on.

Removing Stress

Adding a food budget to your 529 plan is also a good way to help remove some stress from the student in your life. While he or she will always be busy studying and adapting to a much more adult lifestyle, he or she doesn’t necessarily need the added stress of worrying about where his or her next meal will come from.

This kind of stress can contribute to issues like substance abuse or even to eating disorders, and treatment for these problems can cause more financial issues in the future. It’s also worth mentioning that severe problems require inpatient services at facilities like Center For Change and can take valuable time away from classes.

Make a food budget part of your 529 plan. Failure to do so simply puts too much of a burden on a student who is already trying to adapt to a new environment. While the budget doesn’t have to be excessive, it should be enough to help him or her survive. This small change can make a big difference in a college career.


College Car: 3 Ways You Can Save Money By Driving Yourself to School

Posted on Oct 4, 2017 with No comments

Oct 4, 2017

College Car

Going to college is an expensive prospect. It’s harder than ever to find ways to afford tuition these days and most students are looking for ways to stay out of debt when possible. What few realize, though, is that driving a car to college can actually make a huge difference in their finances. Below are three ways you can save money by driving yourself to school.

More School Options

If you’ve got a car, you’ve got better options when it comes to finding a school nearby. If you think about it, one of the worst limitations you can place on yourself is transportation. If you are counting on working while at school, you’d have to find a school that’s close enough to your job to attend if you want to make money.

With a car, though, you can greatly expand your radius. This means giving yourself more work options, more school options, and a better chance to shop for a tuition that you can afford.

More Housing Options

If you’ve ever looked at housing near a school, you know it’s expensive. Why? Because many would-be landlords know that their potential renters have to stay near school due to a lack of transportation. If you have a car, though, you don’t have to stay within walking distance of the campus.

You might find that rent drops quite a bit as soon as you get out of walking distance, which might end up saving you thousands of dollars every year. Even better, you’ll get a chance to live outside of the craziness of the university world—definitely a worthwhile goal itself!

Getting Out of the School Zone

A car also gives you the chance to shop outside of the school area. The businesses that are near universities operate on the same principles as movie theater concession stands and airport shops—they know the customer doesn’t have a choice, so they raise prices as much as they can.

If you’ve got a car, though, you can go shop where the locals shop and save a great deal of money during the school year. Don’t fall into the trap of university stores—drive to where you can find the deals.

Take your time to shop around at dealerships like Young Automotive Group for a great deal on a car. Once you’ve got a vehicle, you can start saving money. While you might spend a bit on your car payment and your gas, those payments should still be far less than what you would be spending without a car of your own.


Saving for College You May Be Doing It Wrong

Posted on Oct 2, 2017 with No comments

Oct 2, 2017

There's an explanation the typical class of 2016 graduate turned up with $36,162 in student debt. Granted the outrageous expense of college nowadays, countless students and their loved ones simply cannot pay for those substantial tuition costs, so they're compelled to get loans to fund their schooling.

Staying clear of huge levels of debt typically comes down to having ample savings-- an obligation that has the tendency to fall on parents more so than college students themselves. And in that respect, Americans appear to be doing a rather decent job. As of 2015, actually, 73% of U.S. households were actively saving for college, which illustrates a 15% rise from 2008, baseding upon a report by Vanguard.

However there's some unpleasant news to toss into the mix too: Although more people are setting funds aside for college, just 42% are saving through a 529 plan. And those who aren't could be making a massive blunder.

Turbo charge your savings

Even though 529 plans aren't the only choice for saving for college, there are many benefits to going this path. First, the cash you commit to a 529 gets to grow tax-free provided you apply it for college uses. With a standard brokerage account, any money you make from financial investments is subject to capital gains taxes, which implies you'll lose a part of your gains to the Internal Revenue Service and have less money accessible to pay for those tuition costs. You'll additionally be accountable for those taxes every year, which will leave you with less funds to reinvest during the course of your college savings window.

Along with tax-free financial investment growth, several states provide tax deductions for taking part in a 529. A couple of states even give tax credits, which are more beneficial than deductions on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Naturally, the one significant disadvantage with a 529 is that if you do not make use of the cash in your account for qualified college purposes, you'll be susceptible to a 10% penalty. That penalty, nevertheless, is just pertinent to your gains, and not your principal contribution. Say you fund a 529 with $40,000 of your own cash, which over time, your balance grows to $50,000. If your kid chooses not to go to college, you'll just be penalized on the $10,000 you made but didn't contribute directly.

Regardless of this one drawback, it pays to check out saving with a 529, particularly if your other option is to stick that cash in a traditional savings account. Imagine you're saving $500 a month for school over a 10-year time frame, however you put that money into a savings account paying 1% interest. After a decade, you'll have about $62,800, which isn't much more than the amount of your principal contributions.

Now see what occurs when we stick that very same cash into a 529. If your investments yield a reasonably conservative 6% average annual return, after 10 years, you'll has more than $79,000. That's a huge difference. Moreover, that $79,000 will be yours to withdraw tax-free given you're really utilizing it for college.

Save efficiently

Naturally, 529 plans aren't for everybody, however it still pays to save for college in the most tax-advantaged way possible. In this regard, Roth IRAs are even a fantastic bet for satisfying your objectives. Like 529 plans, Roth IRAs get to grow tax-free, and although they're designed for retirement, since you do not get a tax break for contributing, you're permitted to withdraw your money at any time to pay for other costs, like college.

Even though you're not eligible for a Roth IRA (namely, due to the fact that you make way too much cash), you can rather fund a traditional IRA for college savings purposes. Traditional IRAs provide the instant advantage of tax-free contributions, and while you'll generally deal with a 10% charge for withdrawing funds prior to age 59 1/2, an exception is made when the cash is used for qualified college costs.

Regardless of how you decide to save for college, the secret is to not just begin doing so early but also effectively. If a 529 plan does not interest you, consider saving in a traditional or Roth IRA instead. In this way, if you do not wind up requiring that cash for college, you'll have the ability to set it aside for retirement. Simply do not make the error of saving in a regular savings account, or maybe a traditional brokerage account, which could resemble the returns of a 529 or IRA yet provide no tax benefits to mention.

An estimated 49% of households state that regardless of their efforts, they're not on course to reach their latest college savings goals. The more strategic you are about saving, the higher your odds of covering your expenses, or at least coming fairly close.


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