08.15.11 | Hidden College Costs

Posted in College Life, financial aid tips by Student Loan Network Staff

College students with electronicsHigh tuition prices are no surprise to many students and parents, and there are a variety of financial aid options to help cover the costs, including grants, loans and scholarships. What schools often fail to mention is the other costs of going to college. Unfortunately, there are many more expenses than just tuition, room and board, and books. Here are some of the most common hidden college costs that you should budget for.

One-Time Expenses

Orientation – For most students, orientation only happens once, and it’s a good thing, too. Many traditional universities charge students who attend freshman orientation. Before you attend, make sure you know what your school expects from you financially and if you can afford it.

Dorm essentials – Freshman year will most likely be your most expensive year at college. This is because of all the first-time (and hopefully last-time) purchases you need to make. From extra-long bed sheets to shower caddies, the small essentials can really add up. Luckily, if you take care of your things, you should make it through college without having to re-buy anything.

Computer accessories – While most students do factor in a laptop, many forget to include the accessories in the budget. With the laptop also comes the warranty, case, flash drives, and other various software you may need for your coursework.
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07.29.11 | Results: What’s left on your back-to-school-list?

Posted in College Life by Student Loan Network Staff

Last week we asked students what was left on their back to school lists. With almost 3,000 votes, we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback! Here are the results…

back to school

 

With books and course supplies leading the pack at 26% and 21%, many students are still waiting on some important items! You’ll have to make sure to hit up the back-to-school sales in August for all your dorm room essentials. But there were also a lot of necessities that weren’t on this list. Some of the “other” supplies that students responded with are:

  • Food
  • Toiletries
  • And kitchen supplies

All of these supplies can take a toll on your wallet; luckily, there are still last minute funding options for students who are stuck. Private student loans can help with many of these extra, last minute expenses like laptops, course supplies and books.

Start funding your last minute expenses today!

07.21.11 | What’s Left on Your Back-to-School List?

Posted in College Life by Student Loan Network Staff

We’re coming up on the back to school season, and that means one thing – back to school shopping! There are a lot of expenses that can pile up in August, so we want to know what you still need. Have you been saving for a car or computer? Are you waiting for dorm supplies to go on sale? Let us know what’s left on your list!

Once you’ve voted, don’t forget to check back next week for the results!

07.13.11 | In the News: Last minute tuition hikes and cuts to financial aid packages

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

We’ve all heard the news about the trouble state governments have had this fiscal year, and the proposed budget cuts to deal lower debts for next year. What you might not know is that your higher education could be on the chopping block, especially if you attend a public college where more of the costs this fall may be pushed to the students. As this fiscal year comes to an end, the budget needs to be finalized in each state and as a result of government cuts, many public colleges will lose large fractions of their funding. To make up for the funding gap, universities are trying to lower spending, but have also decided to hike student fees, some as much as 22%.

“With freshman orientation right around the corner, many college students and their parents are about to get a surprise that could derail years of careful financial planning: last-minute tuition increases and cuts to financial aid packages promised just a few short months ago,” SmartMoney* reports. “As states have finalized their budgets in recent weeks and months, cuts to public college funding have started to trickle down to parents and students. Since March, at least 19 states have cut money for public colleges. Some states, including Illinois and Georgia, are also slashing grants awarded to students just a few months ago. Still more families won’t find out about changes to tuition and financial aid packages until the end of the summer or even after the semester begins — what experts say is the longest delay ever.”

Some of the states that should expect to see the highest increases for public college tuition are Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Washington, Nevada, Tennessee and New Hampshire. As these last minute changes are unveiled, students are beginning to wonder how to make up for these added costs and if they’ll be able to enroll this fall. Most students have already tallied their funds from family contribution, federal aid, grants, scholarships, and their summer job – and were all set for September. If your school does end up raising your tuition costs, one quick solution to fill the gap is to apply for a private student loan today. Affordable private loans give you the versatility to pay for all your education-related costs and the flexibility to apply when you need the funding most – which for some of you might be right now. Also, it never hurts to keep applying for more scholarships. New scholarship opportunities are added to Student Scholarship Search every day.

We hope your school is not hit by the budget cuts, but if it is, please come back and let us guide you to some more funding sources.

*SmartMoney Article: Last Minute Tuition Hikes Hit Students (7/11/2011)

06.24.11 | Deciding Factors in Your College Choice

Posted in College Life by Student Loan Network Staff

Now that most students have made that tough choice of what college to attend, we want to know how you chose! Students may consider a wide variety of factors to help in this decision, but was there one or two aspects that put your school ahead? Tell us about it what made you choose your school!

(Note: you may select up to two answers)

06.08.11 | “What Are Your Summer Plans?” Results

Posted in College Life by Student Loan Network Staff

Thanks to all of you who voted in our recent poll, “What are your summer plans?” We’re back to bring you the results! Not surprisingly, it looks like the majority of voters (roughly 37%), plan to work this summer, while taking classes came in second at 24%. It’s awesome to see so many students making the most of their summers, but I’m glad 21% of students are also taking some time to relax.

It’s interesting to see that travel (11%) beats out getting an internship (7%), especially considering the growing importance of internships. In this economy, getting ahead through internships is a great alternative for those who can’t find jobs, though instead of money, you’d be getting college credit. This seems counterintuitive, but getting real world experience can helps students land jobs faster and may even open a lot of doors in the process.
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05.27.11 | What are your summer plans?

Posted in College Life by Student Loan Network Staff

Do you have a job lined up for the summer? Are you planning a great vacation? Taking a summer class? Whatever you’re up to, we want to know about it! Take our poll to let us know what you’re plans are this summer…

03.28.11 | Your Guide to Off-Campus Housing

Posted in College Life by Student Loan Network Staff

StudentsThe decision to move off campus is not one that everyone can make easily. There are a lot of factors that can affect where and when you move out of your school residence halls to your own place. Most schools require freshmen to live on campus their first year, and some even through junior year. Before looking into off-campus housing, make sure to check your school’s housing policy. If you’re going ahead with the process, here are some things for you to consider.
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02.01.11 | Take a Semester Off, The Right Way

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

Taking a semester off from school can sometimes get a bad rap. I’ve often been told not to take a semester off, because “you might not go back”. While this can certainly be the case, taking a semester off can also have many benefits. It can help you to save money in the long run or give you a needed rest. Whatever your reason, there’s a right way and wrong way to take a semester off. Read on for tips on how to make the most of your semester off. (more…)

01.26.11 | Student Budgeting, Save on School Supplies and Getting out of Debt

Posted in College Life, Financial Aid, Student Credit by Student Loan Network Staff

Creating a budget and managing it is not as simple as it sounds. It is very easy to make the initial commitment to live by a frugal budget, but it is much harder to maintain. College education heads outside of the classroom as students learn to manage their own finances. They will hopefully learn the necessity of a frugal budget and effective money management techniques to build good credit. It can be frustrating for students who have not even created a solid financial history if they need to seek credit repair help from a credit repairing agency.

Read ahead for some tips to help you save money, and avoid bad credit. (more…)