02.15.13 | Evaluate College Costs with the College Scorecard

Posted in College Admissions, Financial Aid, News, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

College ScorecardEarlier this week, President Obama talked about the new College Scorecard tool in his State of the Union Address. This new tool provides college data to students and families going through the college selection process and aims to provide some statistics that allow families to assess the return on investment.

Tool Features

The College Scorecard allows users to evaluate colleges on:

  • Costs
  • Graduation rate
  • Loan default rate
  • Average borrowing
  • Employment outlook

While historically, many families have chosen schools based on social environment, location, and academic programs, college costs are now a driving factor. The College Scorecard allows families to make better decisions around college expenses, by providing average borrowing and default rates of schools.

07.01.11 | College Decision Factors: Poll Results

Posted in College Admissions by Student Loan Network Staff

We recently posted a poll, asking students why they chose the college they did, and we got a lot of really great feedback! More than 1,000 students nationwide shared their college decision factors, and the results may be surprising!

Deciding factors in your college decision

In today’s economy, with the combination of high college price tags and fewer jobs, I expected to see tuition costs as the number one factor. While this was the case, it was followed closely by other factors, and was, by no means, a landslide victory. This indicates that while tuition and financial aid were large factors for determining college attendance, students still had other priorities when making their college choices. I should also point out that while tuition costs was at the top of the list, financial aid packages came in next to last. This reveals that some students rather search for a college based on a lower total cost, rather than getting the most out of financial aid. So, if you are ruling out pricier colleges, make sure it’s for a good reason; if your top school is too expensive, you can always appeal for more aid, or take out a private student loan to cover the cost.

The other most common factors in the college decision process were proximity to home and friends, as well quality of the academic programs. It seems that many students are still basing their choices on what the college can provide for them academically, while still keeping costs low.

There were also a number of surprising answers popping up in the “other” category. Below are just a few of the not so common reasons for choosing a school…

  • Family legacy
  • Campus/dorm aesthetics
  • Sports
  • Online classes
  • Security
  • Atmosphere
  • School/class size
  • Availability of family housing

While we ranked the options in order of popularity, we can’t forget that college decisions include a variety of factors, and students rarely choose a college based on one criterion. Those of you for whom college expense is a high priority may want to check out this helpful college expense worksheet. You can fill in all of the expenses associated with college to get an estimate of how much you can expect to pay during the months you are in school.

06.18.10 | 4 Important Grad School Considerations

Posted in College Admissions, Graduate Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Find more tips at Graduate Center!Ah, the ever-present question. In truth, there is no clear cut answer, but there are some definite graduate school tips that make life much easier and can decrease your stress. Let’s explore some factors to weigh when deciding when to start your graduate degree:

1) Do you know what you want to study?

This question probably sounds silly, but just as it was important to have a solid idea of what you wanted to do in undergrad, planning for graduate school is even more vital. Don’t fling yourself into a general studies program; spend the time to research and figure out what you want to study well beforehand and be strategic about the timing. (more…)

06.04.10 | Have you considered teaching?

Posted in College Admissions, College Life, Financial Aid, Graduate Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Teaching Schools | EdvisorsFrom personal experience, I know as well as anyone that picking a major can be difficult – both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. You probably have tons of different interests, feel somewhat unfocused and want to find some direction.

One idea I’d like to pose to you is going to school to be a teacher. If your first reflex is to say, “Oh teachers don’t make any money!”, that urban myth is entirely unfounded in modern times. Just the other evening, I was looking over average salaries for high school teachers in Massachusetts, and there were maybe 2 or 3 schools out of a list of hundreds that had averages below $50,000 annually. (more…)

04.06.10 | Hey! Where is my Student Aid Report?

Posted in College Admissions, FAFSA, Financial Aid, Stafford Loan by Student Loan Network Staff

Typically, you wait two to six weeks after sending in your FAFSA before receiving your Student Aid letter. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) will outline how much your estimated family contribution will be toward your college tuition costs. A copy of this report will be mailed to the school you are attending and/or schools you are planning to attend. If you have already received your SAR, click here for information on what to do next.

If you have not yet received your SAR, you should first contact your school’s financial aid office so you don’t miss out on any deadlines, and to see if they received their copy of the report.

After you have done that, contact the Department of Education at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).