September 26, 2009

Do You Have Questions About Financial Aid?

Most people get confused and frustrated when filing out the financial aid FAFSA application. You are not alone, we all eventally get there too. You have options before completing your FAFSA application. You can either talk to your Financial Aid Advisor at your college or go to this website for more questions:

FAFSA Online

Ask your questions here

September 25, 2009

Student's Guide to Debt Relief

The original title is "The Poor Student's Guide to Debt Relief." This guide is distributed by, an Edvisors Company. You don't necessarily need to be poor to be in debt. This is an excellent guide for all college students or future college students. I found this short guide very useful and I would like to share this with you:

Virtually every college student these days carries some debt, from student loans to student credit cards to library fines and more. Recent studies quote some outlandish numbers - the average graduating college student carries $4,138 in credit card debt and $22,500 in student loans. Managing that much debt successfully right out of college can be incredibly difficult and stressful. Read More

September 19, 2009

Free Scholarship Listing for College Students

This 200 Free Scholarship List is created by Black Excel, and it is their lastest. They have featured over 1,000+ scholarships on their website. Remember that most groups provide scholarships on an annual basis, so don't stress yourself over any one particular deadline. Students are advised to target "good" scholarship sources...and apply every year!

200 Free Scholarships For Minorities

September 13, 2009

Should My Child go to Public or Private College?

The dilemma continues to ponder most parents today. Should I send my child to public or private college? The rush to public and community colleges comes at a tough time. Some public schools are making even deeper budget cuts than private schools. At some universities, plans are in place to cut back their academic programs, close campuses, and to eliminate a merit scholarship program. And some states are capping student enrollments. As for enrolling in specific programs such as nursing, most likely you will be put on a wait list for who knows how long.

At these times, it is beneficial to finish school faster to get the primary job quicker. Yes, you will have to pay back student loans, but you will also be working in the field a lot sooner than the college student whose enrolled at a community college. By the time that student finishes state or community college, you will have your student loan already paid off or half way paid off because you took the high road and they took the slow road. Needless to say, whichever route you take may not be the wrong one, but the one most beneficial in your current life situation.

September 11, 2009

Avoiding Scholarship Scams

Before we dive into search techniques, it’s super important to cover this important topic. There is no shortage of con artists and scams when it comes to paying for college, and spotting them early can save you money and heartbreak.

Here’s the golden rule of scholarships:

Money flows to the student, never the other way around.

Any scholarship, grant, foundation, or organization that’s legitimate won’t ask you for a penny out of your pocket.

Scholarship scams also exist in the form of identity theft - taking valuable information such as date of birth and social security numbers and selling them outright to identity theft groups around the world.

Any one of these signs should be a red flag that you may be dealing with a scholarship scam:

Asking for money. Reputable scholarships are free to apply for and free to receive. Scams typically charge for the application, or use deceptive language such as reserve your scholarship with your credit card number”.

Reputable scholarships never need to charge money!

Asking for lots of non-relevant personal information. Scams that pay off for criminals using identity theft ask for lots of personal information typically not relevant to a scholarship application such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, and other financially-related information.

Claims of exclusivity. A fair number of scams make the claim that their information cannot be found anywhere else, and therefore you should pay for their services. In the age of Google, information exclusivity is a thing of the past. Don’t pay.

Claims of guarantees. The truth of scholarship hunting is that there are no guarantees.

No one can guarantee that you will be awarded a scholarship, and any company advertising a paid service making such a claim is likely a scam.

Receiving letters of potential awards you never applied for. Scholarships are in such demand that no awarding agency needs to make unsolicited awards to recipients. This includes, by the way, email notifications of any kind about scholarships that you never applied for.

“Free” seminars with an upsell. The latest trick that some companies and individuals are using is the free financial aid seminar offer. These seminars typically promise great financial aid information, but end with a hard sales pitch to attend a future paid seminar, buy books, DVDs, or other materials (usually at high prices). There are plenty of free financial aid seminars offered by high schools and colleges that are worth attending instead. Check with your guidance office or financial aid office for details on those.

The most important thing you can do when it comes to scholarship scams is to trust your instincts. If something feels, sounds, or seems fishy, it probably is. With the Internet and other freely available resources, there is no shortage of legitimate scholarships to apply for.

Remember again the golden rule of scholarships:

Money flows to the student, never the other way around.

Beware any scholarship claim to the contrary.

To read more on scholarship tips go to:

This guide is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No
Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Source: Christopher Penn and the Student Loan Network

August 13, 2009

Stafford Loans as Low as 2.48%

It's a perfect time to attend college. The interest rates for Stafford loans are continuing to drop. In 2006, the interest rate for a fixed loan was 6.8%.

Stafford loans carry a fixed rate throughout the life of the loan. The rate may depend on your year in school when the loan is disbursed and whether you are a dependent or independent student at that time.

The interest rates for subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduate students are:

For loans first disbursed July 1, 2006–June 30, 2008, the interest rate is fixed at 6.8%.
For loans first disbursed July 1, 2008–June 30, 2009, the interest rate is fixed at 6%.
For loans first disbursed July 1, 2009–June 30, 2010, the interest rate is fixed at 5.6%.
For loans first disbursed July 1, 2010–June 30, 2011, the interest rate is fixed at 4.5%.
For loans first disbursed July 1, 2011–June 30, 2012, the interest rate is fixed at 3.4%.
For loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2012, the interest rate is fixed at 6.8%.

* For all subsidized Stafford loans disbursed to graduate and professional students, the interest rate is fixed at 6.8%.
* For all unsubsidized Stafford loans disbursed to undergraduates and graduate students, the interest rate is fixed at 6.8%.
* The interest rate on Stafford loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 1998 but before July 1, 2006 is variable and may change on July 1 of each year, but will never exceed 8.25%. The rate is based on:
o The 91-day T-bill rate +1.70% during repayment periods.
* Starting July 1, 2009, the interest rate on variable rate loans during school, grace and deferment periods is 1.88%.
* The 91-day T-bill rate +2.30% during repayment periods.
* Starting July 1, 2009, the interest rate on variable rate loans in repayment is 2.48%.

July 25, 2009

Find Cheap Nursing Books

Want to find cheap text books? These books are on auction right now on eBay. Only a few days left to put your bid in!

The Language of Medicine - Eighth Edition
by Davi-Ellen Chabner, BA, MAT

Item Condition: Brand New - Never used! Comes with CD-ROM

The Language of Medicine - Eighth Edition

Item Number: 160366670857

Foundations And Adult Health Nursing by Barbara Lauritsen Christensen, RN, MS and Elaine Oden Kockrow, RN, MS

Item condition: Used - Like New
CD-ROM Enclosed was never used, still in sealed envelope!

Foundations and Adult Health Nursing

Item Number: 160366670066

BRAND NEW 2009 - Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses, Eleventh Edition
20th Anniversary Edition with Full Size CD-ROM
Authors: Judith Hopfer Deglin and April Hazard Vallerand

Item Condition: Brand New- Never used

Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses

Item Number: 160366669440

July 17, 2009

Medical Dictionary for Nursing School

Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary + Taber's Electronic Medical Dictionary on CD-ROM for Windows

Bonus DVD Inside! FREE Online & Mobile for one year!
Item condition: Brand New

This item is on auction right now on eBay. Only a few days left to put your bid in!

Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary + Taber's Electronic Medical Dictionary

Item number: 160366672284

July 10, 2009

Going to College? Drug Guide for Nurses

New Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses Eleventh Edition
20th Anniversary Edition with Full Size CD-ROM Enclosed

Find cheap books online.

Just copy & paste item number below in search address of
Item number: 160363615363

On auction now on! Only a few days left to put your bid in!

May 15, 2009

College Degree Nearly Doubles Annual Earnings, Census Bureau Reports

This information was released four years ago by the U.S. Census Bureau News, and has not changed since the release on March 28 ,2005:

New information from the U.S. Census Bureau reinforces the value of a college education: workers 18 and over with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $51,206 a year, while those with a high school diploma earn $27,915. Workers with an advanced degree make an average of $74,602, and those without a high school diploma average $18,734.

According to new tables released on the Internet titled Educational Attainment in the United States: 2004, 85 percent of those age 25 or older reported they had completed at least high school and 28 percent had attained at least a bachelor’s degree — both record highs.

April 12, 2009

How to Pay Down Your Student Loan to Zero

If you read my eHow article How to Get Free Money for College, it entailed an enormous amount of information. If you are already in college and qualified for the Pell grant or State grants, these steps break it down for you. Having student loan debt is no fun. It can improve your credit or ruin it. Take advantage of how federal money is handled at your school' s financial aid office. Read How to Pay Down Your Student Loan to Zero
for more information. Or, for translation purposes, choose your language using the Google Translate tool on the right column to read below:

After your first day at school, the clock is ticking. Based on what you qualified for in student loans or grants, your financial aid office has to wait 30 days to process your loan funding into your account.

Your student loan and grant disbursements will be posted to your account in increments. Disbursements are based on your school terms or semesters. Typically, right at the time your term or semester begins, monies are in your account already.

Keep in mind, your tuition is also being posted as well. Your tuition can be charged upfront, by term or semesters. Let's say your total tuition is $28,000 and there are four terms. In your first term, $7,000 is charged to your account.

Let's say you qualified for grants, scholarships and Stafford loans, this is what your first term disbursement would like:

Pell grant -$2,515; Subsidized loan -$2,200; and Unsubsidized loan -$1,600; Scholarships -$1,000; State grant -$735 = -$8,050 total

Term tuition charge $7,000 - $8,050 disbursements = -$1,050 credit
Your financial aid office will mail you a stipend check for $1,050!

Now, you open up the envelope and you think you just won the lottery -- WRONG! You still owe the government money! Immediately, take this check back to your financial aid office, and tell them you want to reduce your student loan balance. Do this every time you receive a stipend check, do not spend it!

Financial aid will do two things; take the check back and refund your loan amount, or tell you to deposit the check in your bank account and write out a payment check to your student loan lender. Doing this requires discipline. If you're not disciplined, take the check back as soon as you receive it. Holding on to it will doom you to heavy loan debt. Remember, temptation is your enemy!

Return the stipend check every time you receive it, and you will be able to reduce your federal loan down to nothing. Even if you end up with a small loan balance, this could give you really good credit if you make on-time payments each month. Your student loan will be paid off in a matter of a few months.

March 29, 2009

How to Avoid Making a Bad Impression When Applying for a Job

I am a contributing writer for and have found useful information that relates to college. This author was kind enough to share his articles to my blog site. His name is Neil O'Donnell, a career and an academic advisor for students and alumni at a liberal arts college. Additionally, he is an author of fantasy-genre manuscripts. Here's what he wrote:

After examining hundreds of applications, I have encountered countless resumes and cover letters that destroyed any chance of an applicant getting an interview. What are the things that will negatively impact your chances of getting an interview? The list presented here details major missteps applicants have made in my experience.

Step 1:
To Whom It May Concern. This phrase should be avoided at all costs. Admittedly, there are some instances where you will not have a choice. In most cases, however, a contact person will be listed in the job ad. If no contact person is listed, call and ask the company if there is a specific person you can address your cover letter to. It’s worth the time to do this.

Step 2:
Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss. A mistake here could land your resume in the shredder. Frankly, it annoys me when I receive a cover letter where “Ms.” precedes my name. My first name, in no derivative, is feminine. Consequently, when I encounter such a gaffe, I discard the application and move on to the next. If the name of the contact person makes it difficult to discern the individual’s sex, simply write “Dear Director Smith” or “Dear John Smith.”

Step 3:
Proofread. One or two typos is one thing. More than two typos, and your application is one step closer to the shredder. Have a friend read over your resume or cover letter for grammatical and spelling errors.

Step 4:
No Crazy Fonts or Paper. I don’t have the best eyesight in the world. Consequently, any resume printed with hard to read fonts or on overly-bright paper will hurt my eyes. So what? Such resumes won’t be thoroughly read, limiting the effectiveness of the application and the applicant’s chances of getting an interview. Use white or ivory colored paper with Times Roman 12-point font, and, please, no glitter.

Step 5:
Submit On time. Sending in a resume late makes for a bad impression. If you learn of the opening AFTER the deadline to submit has passed, contact the company and ask if resumes will still be accepted. Such a move will put your application in a better light.

Step 6:
Don’t Continually Ask About When Decisions Will Be Made. Constantly checking on the status of your application will annoy the company/hiring manager. It’s one thing to call and inquire as to whether your resume was received. Calling each day to check to see if a decision was made is just a bad move.

March 28, 2009

How to Find a Career Path and Gain Useful Experience as an Undergraduate

I am a contributing writer to and have found useful information that relates to college. This author was kind enough to share his articles to my blog site. His name is Neil O'Donnell, a career and an academic advisor for students and alumni at a liberal arts college. Additionally, he is an author of fantasy-genre manuscripts. Here's what he wrote:

We've all faced the dilemma that "you need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience." For undergraduate students (and to some extent grad students), this is a particularly disturbing reality, which causes more anxiety than it ought to.

How do you overcome this trap? Ultimately, it comes down to a student spending her or his college years wisely. For my advisees, I recommend the following series of steps, which provides a better chance of competing for jobs immediately upon graduation. How do I know these steps work? These are the steps I took, which allowed me to successfully compete with other applicants who had experience and advanced degrees while I only recently graduated with my bachelor's.

Step 1 - Freshmen Year:
• Take “Strong Interest Inventory” or other career assessments in your college’s Career Center – discuss results with a Career Center Counselor (feedback from career center staff provides valuable direction)
• Speak with campus professors related to majors you’re interested in pursuing as potential careers. Make sure to ask them about specific career options within the major and courses you should consider taking (and why?)
• Ask professors what entry-level (summer) jobs would provide valuable experience. Ask what volunteer experiences would also be helpful (both for gaining knowledge and experience).
• Start working on a resume with Career Center staff.

Step 2 - Sophomore Year:
• Continue working with professors for course advisement. Focus on classes that relate to your long term interests.
• Discuss internship possibilities with your professors (what are good options for those pursuing careers in your selected major). Also discuss whether graduate school is a necessity.
• Continue adjusting/updating your resume with counselors in the Career Center.

Step 3 - Junior Year:
• Start looking at graduate schools; ask your department advisor for direction in selecting graduate programs that best suit your long term interests/career goals
• Complete an internship or seek job experience as directly related to your career path as possible.
• Continue adjusting/updating your resume with counselors.

Step 4 - Senior Year:
• Apply to graduate schools. Apply to at least three to four choices.
• If internship experience changes your thoughts about career options, try to find another experience related to the new direction.
• Build list of 3 to 5 references for use in applying to graduate school and/or jobs. Ask each reference to supply you with a reference letter, and submit those letters to your college career center to be placed on file for future use.

March 25, 2009

How to Win Money Playing Craps

This post has nothing to do with free money for college. I just wanted to share my knowledge in the game of craps. It's a leisurely hobby of mine when I visit Nevada.

This crap strategy is for avid crap players only. If you are familiar with the game of craps and pay off odds, this strategy is for you. It doesn't matter if your bankroll is $1,000 or $200. You can win more money playing the hardways because it only cost $1.00 each. These steps are long and very detailed. You may want to take notes before trying out this strategy at the crap tables: hardways working.

March 20, 2009

Tips for Finding the Right Scholarships - Find Money for College

When searching for scholarships on the internet, refine your searches to find the right scholarship. You can save time by using these keywords instead of scholarship or scholarships alone:

  • endowment

  • fellowship

  • foundation

  • fund

  • trust

    • Just add the name of the college or major of interest in front of these words. For example:

      Cal State University San Bernardino endowments
      Cal State University Los Angeles fellowships
      Cal State University San Bernardino foundation
      Cal State University San Bernardino scholarships


      nursing scholarships, fund, foundation, trust

      criminal justice scholarships, fund, foundation, trust

      single mothers scholarships, fund, foundation, trust

      minority scholarships, fund, foundation, trust

      When adding the keywords to your college, major or type; use plural as well as singular words, such as foundation vs. foundations, trust vs. trusts, etc. These are magic words that only the search engines will find in detail. Using both singular and plural keywords will help cut down your search time.

      For additional scholarship information go to "How to Win More Scholarships."

      March 19, 2009

      Graduate from College Earlier

      Most students take more than five years, and sometimes even longer, to earn their bachelor's degrees at public colleges and universities. Students who take AP (Advance Placement) courses and exams are much more likely to graduate in four years. A 2008 study by the College Board, found that AP students graduated in four years than those who did not take AP. For example, graduation rates for AP English Literature students were 62% higher than graduation rates for those who took other English courses in high school. AP students have the flexibility to double their major or study abroad without putting at risk graduation in four years. Talk to your high school guidance counselor to schedule AP courses.

      Reference: The College Board; Linda Hargove, Donn Godin, and Barbara Dodd, "College Outcomes Comparisons by AP and Non-AP high school experiences."

      March 17, 2009

      Parent's Who Don't Qualify for Grants

      The average college graduate leaves school with over $19,000 in student loan debt. Finding a scholarship helps reduce or even eliminate the amount you will need to take out in loans. But, what happens when you only get a handful of scholarships, if any?

      According to the College Board 2008 report, students who took AP (Advance Placement) courses in high school accumulated a year's worth of credits. Also, graduated from an undergraduate program a full year early, and saved $30,000 in college tuition. Students who take longer to graduate from a public college or university typically pay between $8,000 and $19,000 for each additional year. The typical college cost per year for a four-year public college is $7,662 for in-state students, and $18,529 for out-of-state students.

      Talk to your high school counselor for more information regarding AP courses or go to

      March 8, 2009

      What If I Don't Qualify for Free Money?

      Did you or your parent's file your FAFSA application? What were your results? The results would be on your SAR (Student Aid Report) that you received in the mail or by email. The SAR would indicate your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). The EFC determines whether you or your dependent qualified for any free money, such as Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), State Grants, and local or community grants.

      If your EFC was over 1000, you probably did not get enough grants (if any) to cover your tuition costs. what to do? If your parent's or grandparent's credit did not qualify for an education loan, you or your dependent will most likely get stuck with the student loan debt, right? You don't need to sweat it -- you have the option to apply for scholarships. Yes, it's a lot of work, but taking the extra step to get free money is worth the effort.

      Did you know you can apply for scholarships while in college, and even if you're halfway through your last year? Also, there are scholarships to help you pay off your school debts. And, it's not too early to start searching for scholarships while you're in high school. It may be evident that most scholarships are catered for the top academic achievers or for the most neediest (poor) students. But, did you know that there are many scholarships available for everyone? Seriously, there are some ridiculous scholarships out there, such as the Duck Tape Prom Dress Award for students who attend their prom wearing just duct tape. Sounds silly, but it pays $3,000 to the winning recipient.

      The number one killer of scholarship applications is missing the deadline. The second reason would be incorrect information; such as misspelling of names and words, missing information, such as leaving required boxes blank on the application form, or failing to include required documentation. The third reason is not following directions on the essay requirements. If the essay requirement specifies 500 words, then write it for that amount, no more or less.

      The best method to avoid missing deadlines, use Microsoft Outlook on your computer or use the Google calendar to remind you of deadlines of each scholarship. The best chances to winning a scholarship is to be organized and apply for one scholarship each day. When you reach 100 scholarships take a break, and then start over again. Winning scholarships is a numbers game. The more you apply, the more chances you can win. Let's say you find 100 opportunities; and 10 of them you qualify for and apply to. Your chances of winning one of these is much greater than just applying for a handful at a time. Keep in mind...for every one scholarship you are awarded, you have to apply for 10 scholarships:

      100 scholarships = 10 scholarships you qualify for = 1 scholarship award winning

      Small is the new big. If you are awarded 10 scholarships for $1,000 or one scholarship for $10,000, the net effect is the same -- this means you don't pay $10,000 out of pocket or in loans. For each scholarship you are eligible for is worth applying, because a small group of scholarships will add up to one big amount.

      The most important fact about smaller scholarships ,($500-$1,000) tend to have fewer competitors than larger ones. Most people search for the big awards and neglect the smaller ones. Your chances of winning the smaller scholarships are greater, because most people apply for the bigger ones. For example, if only two people applied for the small scholarship, that would give you a 50% chance of winning. That's a bet you should seriously take.

      Reference: Scholarship Search Secrets, A publication of the Student Loan Network, Christoher S. Penn ,

      If you haven't already -- check out the following scholarship websites:

      March 7, 2009

      How to Get Free Money for College - Part 2

      If you did not apply for the FASFA application yet, it's not too late. If you live in California, you missed out on Cal Grant. Cal Grant applications are due March 2 of each year. When it comes to free money, Cal Grant can pay you up to $18,000. With the economy in California looking quite gloomy, who knows if Cal Grant will be around in the next two years.

      This is why it is imperative to apply for as many scholarships as possible right now. You don't need a high GPA or be in the low income range to apply for scholarships. One requirement, be "pro-active!" Who says getting free money was easy? The more you plead and beg, the more chances you have in winning that one scholarship. Once you get that one, keep going. Apply, apply, apply and never give up! Being in the financial aid industry myself, I have seen some students go to college for absolutely free. If you're writing is not that great, have someone else proofread and edit your essays. The key is your story, life experience, and goals. Your essays must be real and touch the hearts of those reading it. Some scholarships don't require essays, choose the one you think that suits you.

      Here are two scholarship sites that do not require essays, merit or low income:

      February 12, 2009

      SEEKING GRANTS - Free Money - Need-based financial aid


      Cal Grant A for Undergraduates = Up to $9,708 annual award
      Deadline to apply: March 2
      Forms required: FAFSA, verified GPA
      **Eligibility requirements: 3.0 high school GPA or 2.4 college GPA, financial need

      Cal Grant B for Undergraduates = $1,551 (first year) $9,708+$1,551 annual
      Deadline to apply: March 2
      Forms required: FAFSA, verified GPA
      **Eligibility requirements: 2.0 high school GPA, financial need

      Cal Grant C for Technical and career students = $3,168 annual award
      Deadline to apply: March 2
      Forms required: FAFSA, Cal Grant C Supplement Form
      **Eligibility requirements: Financial need

      Cal Grant A & B Transfer Entitlement Awards for California Community College students = Up to $9,708 annual award
      Deadline to apply: March 2
      Forms required: FAFSA
      **Eligibility requirements: verified GPA 2.4 Calif. Comm. College GPA, financial need, graduated highs school after 7.1.2000.

      Federal Pell Grant for Undergraduates = $500 - $5,350 annual award
      Contact your financial aid office
      Forms required: FASFA
      **Eligibility requirements: Financial need according to your EFC and COA

      Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) for Undergraduates = $4,000 annual award
      Contact your financial aid office
      Forms required: FAFSA
      **Eligibility requirements: Financial need according your EFC and COA (not all colleges offer FSEOG)

      Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) for Pell Grant-eligible 1st & 2nd-year students attending at least half time
      Up to $750 first up to $1,300 second year
      Contact your financial aid office
      Forms required: FAFSA
      **Eligibility requirements: Must also receive a Pell Grant; must successfully complete a rigorous high school program; 3.0 cumulative college GPA

      National SMART Grant for Pell Grant-eligible 3rd & 4th-year students attending as least half time = Up to $4,000 each year
      Contact your financial aid office
      Forms required: FAFSA
      **Eligibility requirements: Receive a Pell Grant and major in physical, life or computer sciences, technology, math or engineering, or certain foreign languages

      University of California Student Aid for UC under-graduates and graduate students = Average grant award $8,500
      Contact your financial aid office
      Forms required: FAFSA
      **Eligibility requirements: Financial need

      State University Grant for CSU under-graduates & graduate students = Fully system wide fees
      Contact your financial aid office
      Forms required: FAFSA
      **Eligibility requirements: Financial need

      **Other eligibility requirements may apply.

      February 11, 2009

      Cal Grants are Free Money

      You can receive up to $9,700 for college or up to $3,000 for career or technical training each year from the state of California. Your Cal Grant follows you to whichever California school you choose. A Cal Grant can be used at any University of California, California State University or California Community College, most independent colleges, and many career and technical schools in California. You can even use it to transfer from a community college to a four-year college or university. The best part about this is…you don’t have to pay it back!

      How do you apply for a Cal Grant?

      1. Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible starting January 1 and no later than the postmark (or electronically transmitted) deadline of March 2.

      2. Submit your verified Cal Grant GPA (or GED, SAT or ACT score under some circumstances) by the March 2 deadline.

      2.00 GPA (minimum) + 2 Forms (FAFSA & GPA Verification) + 1 Deadline = Up to $9,700 annually.

      Go to for Cal Grant Income and Asset Ceilings

      February 10, 2009

      What's an EFC? The Results of your FAFSA

      Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

      Your expected family contribution, or EFC, is the amount of money the government believes you and your family could reasonably contribute toward your education for the school year. Calculated using a federal formula to evaluate the information you provide on your FAFSA, you will find your EFC on your Student Aid Report (SAR), which you will receive after submitting your FAFSA.

      Your EFC will stay the same no matter which college you attend. However, you may be eligible for different types and amounts of aid at different colleges, since each college has its own cost of attendance (COA) and financial aid funds.

      Keep in mind that your EFC may or may not be the actual amount you end up paying for college. For example, your college’s cost of attendance includes actual costs for tuition and fees, as well as average costs for housing, food, transportation and personal expenses. You may spend less or more than these averages. If your college is unable to meet all of your financial need, your actual contribution may be more than your calculated EFC.

      Your College Cost of Attendance (COA)

      Each college has its own student budget or cost of attendance (COA), which includes tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, food, transportation and personal expenses for the school year. It may also include money for a computer.

      Your COA will vary depending on where you live (with your parents, on or on campus) and the college you attend. If you have children or other dependents that require care while you go to class, your COA may also include these expenses. If you have a disability, let your college’s financial aid office know about any related expenses that are not already covered.

      Your Financial Need

      Each college you list on your FAFSA, and are accepted to, will determine your eligibility for financial aid, also known as your financial need.

      Your COA minus Your EFC = Your financial need

      Your financial need will vary from college to college because each college has its own COA. Find more information on your SAR (Student Aid Report), results from your FAFSA application.

      February 9, 2009

      GEAR UP Awards

      If your child received a federal GEAR UP award for college while in middle school, you may use the funds to pay for college if you complete your high school education on time and enroll in an eligible post secondary school within a year. Your annual fall letter from the California Student Aid Commission will explain how to access your award. You'll find general information on the GEAR UP program at For questions, call toll-free 888-224.7268 or e-mail

      New Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

      Under the new Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008, if you served at least 30 days of continuous active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces after September 10, 2001, you may be eligible for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. This program provides funding for tuition, fees and other education-related expenses. For Eligibility and benefit information, visit

      If you are currently in the military or reserves, take advantage of the Montgomery GI Bill. If you are not signed up, do so today. This resource only lasts for so long after your discharge. Use it as soon as possible to pay your bills, rent, transportation, computer for school, or for miscellaneous expenses. You do have to pay into it to accumulate your balance while you are serving, but it's worth it in the long run. You never know if your job will be stable after you leave the service. Your education will always be with you, nobody can take that away from you.

      February 8, 2009

      How to Get Free Money for College - Part 1

      President Obama is restoring our privilege to seek college options, based on a news release to increase Pell Grant from $4,050 to $5,350 on Yahoo News.

      There are many websites out there with an abundance of information on how to get free money for college. But, what they don't tell's not easy. The truth is, it takes a lot of ground work on your part to find that free money. Once you find the school you are interested in, be prepared to ask your financial aid advisor a lot of questions. Before you do, have your homework completed and game plan in place.

      Keep in mind, most financial aid advisers are trained to process paperwork. They are not trained to find you free money unless you ask first. Finding free money is your job! Many become disappointed after their first appointment with financial aid. They believe that this person behind the desk is supposed to have all the answers and resources to free money. In a perfect world, they should. Well...guess again, they can only check your qualifications by having you fill out an application called FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA application can be found at

      If you don't qualify for the free money, you most likely will walk out feeling very disappointed. But, if you do qualify, the doors will begin to open for you. Depending on the type of college; most financial aid offices will have resources for free money, you just need to ask. Therefore, preparation is key before seeking a college education.

      Yes, free money is out there, but it's totally up to you to find it. The hardest part is qualifying. If you don't qualify for the free money don't be discouraged; there are other ways to fund your tuition, such as low interest federal loans. The reason why most people don't qualify for free money from the government is because it's all based on need. The needier you are, the more free money you can get.

      So...bottom line -- you have to be making minimum wage are no wages; or have a medium to large family size that makes less then $40,000 a year. If you are not under this category; don't quit your job or lower your income, or even make more babies just to show on your income tax return that you are needy. Yes, it helps to be needy to qualify for free aid; but can you afford to live day to day and go to college?

      The FAFSA application is based on your current federal tax return and the federal worksheet. Complete the FAFSA application online at On the worksheet, it will ask you to fill out everyone in your household that you provide more than half of their support. This does not include children that don't live with you and you provide child support. The amount of people you indicate on the worksheet should match the amount of people you claim on your federal tax return.

      For females, you should also include your unborn child if you are expecting in the year you are applying. If you are a single parent to be, your unborn child counts as part of your household. This changes your status to an Independent student, versus Dependent student.

      A dependent student is required to use the income of their parents to qualify. If you are considered an independent student, the income information is based on your sole support. How do you support yourself, do you work or does your parents provide for you? If you live with your parents and you don't work, you would indicate on the worksheet of the FAFSA the cash value you receive from support, such as food, rent, clothing, etc.

      In other words, how much allowance do you get? Even if you don't pay rent, your parent's do for you. They also pay for your food and clothing and gas or car expenses. This is considered cash according to the government. Figure the average costs your parents pay for you each month and times that by twelve months, this is your yearly income. If you're not sure how much your parents pay for you, just estimate the minimum costs per month. Remember, you're not working, so your income should be below minimum wage per year.

      See my post dated February 10, 2009, What's an EFC? The Results of your FAFSA for more information on how the FAFSA application is determined.