05.21.13 | How to Save Money on College Textbooks

Posted in College Life, News by Mark Kantrowitz

College Textbooks

Books and supplies add about $600 to $1,200 to your college costs each year. At lower-cost colleges buying books can bust your budget, sometimes even exceeding the cost of tuition and fees. Unlike tuition and fees, however, textbook costs are something you can control by buying and selling cheap textbooks.

Two of the best methods of saving money on textbooks include buying used textbooks and selling your books back to the college bookstore at the end of the semester. Each approach can save you as much as half of the cost of buying new textbooks, so if you combine them and are lucky, you could pay next to nothing for your textbooks. Unfortunately, faculty change editions periodically, so you won’t always be able to sell all of your textbooks.

Buying used textbooks isn’t as icky as it sounds. Often the used textbooks will have notes in the margins and highlighted passages that can help you understand the material and study for exams.

An alternative is to rent your textbooks. This doesn’t save you as much as buying used textbooks and reselling them after the final exams, but it guarantees that you’ll be able to earn some cash by returning the textbooks. As with reselling your textbooks, the main drawback is you don’t get to keep the textbooks.

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04.25.13 | The 6 Costliest Student Loan Mistakes

Posted in Financial Aid, Repayment, Scholarships, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Damaged Piggy BankMistake #1: Not comparing college costs

Colleges all write their financial aid award letters differently. Some count student loans as self help, others may include it in your financial aid total. Comparing your awards, item to item, can give you a better picture of where you stand financially with a school. Feeling ambitious? Figure out how much student loan interest will accrue over 4 years at each school to see how your choice can affect you when you graduate.

Mistake #2: Not applying for scholarships throughout college

The biggest student loan mistake you can make is taking out more than you need to. Many students stop searching for scholarships after their freshman year, but by applying regularly, you’re more likely to win money for school and need to take out less loans over your college career.
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04.05.13 | Happy Financial Literacy Month!

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

Piggy Bank in GrassDid you know that April is Financial Literacy Month? With the recent economic struggles, it’s clearer than ever that many students (and even parents) need some personal finance training, stat! According to the National Financial Educator’s Council:

“About thirty-four percent of parents have taught their teen how to balance a checkbook, and less than that has explained how credit card interest and fees work and ninety-three percent American parents with teenagers report worrying that their children might make financial missteps such as: overspending or living beyond their means.”

While parents can be a good starting point, “Around sixty-nine percent of parents admit to feeling less prepared to give their teenager guidance about investing than they do having the ‘sex talk’ with them.” Yikes!

In the spirit of Financial Literacy Month, we want to help you learn to manage your money! To kick things off, here’s a list of some great websites designed to teach you those much-needed money skills!

My mother always told me, “Don’t put it on a credit card if you can’t afford it in cash” and I’m free of credit card debt to this day! Share your wisdom and tell us some of your own personal finance tips by leaving a comment below!

Don’t forget to be on the lookout for more personal finance posts in the coming weeks or check out last year’s Financial Literacy Blog Series!

Source: http://www.financialeducatorscouncil.org/financial-literacy-statistics.html

03.04.13 | 5 Easy Ways for Students to Save

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

Saving vs. SpendingDeveloping good saving habits starts when you’re young, but many students don’t know where to begin. While we know it can be tough to save money when college expenses keep growing, every little bit helps.

1. Automate your Saving

If you receive a regular paycheck from a part-time or on-campus job, see if you can allocate a portion to automatically deposit in a savings account. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but by putting a little bit away into a separate account, you’re more likely not to spend it and can even earn interest on the savings.

2. Use your Tax Refund Wisely

Did you just get your tax refund or are you patiently awaiting its arrival? It might be tempting to spend all of the “extra” money right away, but don’t! Put it directly into your savings account to build interest for when you really need it. That doesn’t mean don’t treat yourself to something nice, just keep it reasonable.
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02.26.13 | Make the Most of College Savings

Posted in Financial Aid, financial aid tips, News, Student Credit by Student Loan Network Staff

February 25 – March 2, 2013 is America Saves Week, and to kick things off, student loan giant Sallie Mae released a national study on how Americans save for college. In “How America Saves for College: 2013” the statistics show that although most families are optimistic about their college savings, few are taking advantage of their options today. According to the study “Most college savers remain optimistic about their ability to save and plan to increase their savings in the next five years, though two-thirds don’t have a plan to achieve their goals.”

How Families are Saving

Much of the data has been compiled into an infographic, which shows a variety of ways families save, and the types of accounts they’re using. Of the families saving for college, only 27% choose 529 college savings plans. Other savings vehicles include general savings accounts, checking, investments, and even retirement accounts.

How America Saves for College

Best Ways to Save

Parent-Owned Accounts
Savings in the student’s name is assessed at a much higher rate than parent savings when applying for financial aid. While a maximum of 5.6% of parent assets count against a family, a whopping 20% of a student’s assets are used in financial aid calculations. When possible, keep funds out of the student’s name, and take advantage of incentivized savings vehicles over checking accounts, for example.
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12.03.12 | 14 Great Holiday Gifts for Students

Posted in College Life by Student Loan Network Staff

Stack of Gifts

Technology Gifts

  1. External hard drive – This was a life-saver for me in college. There were a few times when my USB drives were corrupted and unusable. Backing up all of your papers and other files on an external hard drive will eliminate the headache of recovering any missing files down the road.
  2. Digital camera – A digital camera is always a great gift to document all those college memories. High School seniors will also appreciate this as their senior year winds down.
  3. Noise-canceling headphones – College is…loud. Whether studying in the library or trying to sleep when there’s a party down the hall, these are great for all students.
  4. Laptop – This might be a little pricey for a holiday gift, but take advantage of sales this season. If you decide to pick out technology for your student, make sure know what features they’ll need beforehand! Computers with good graphics cards and a lot of RAM are great for streaming movies or playing video games, as well as the basics like word processing.

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08.16.12 | College Jobs for Freshmen

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

Freshman Jobs: Ways to Earn & Save Much Needed CashDid you know that 93% of Freshmen have off-campus jobs? Paying for college and living expenses is tough, that’s why we want to help you make money during the school year! It’s not always easy finding steady employment, but there are plenty of odd jobs for college students to earn cash, such as:

  • Babysitting
  • Mowing lawns
  • Shoveling snow
  • Delivering food
  • Being a bike courier
  • Stuffing envelopes

The options are seemingly endless! For more ideas on great jobs for college freshmen (both on and off campus), check out our recent infographic, Freshmen Jobs: Ways to Earn & Save Much Needed Cash.

While you’re there, let us know how you make money while in school!

07.10.12 | How to Have a Great Summer Before Leaving for College

Posted in College Life by CollegeKid

university-campus

Welcome back!  With summer vacation approaching its halfway point, many of you are probably starting to feel anxious about college.  Yes, you can’t wait to go, but you’re also starting to realize that you’re nervous about leaving home.  The best way to enter college is to enjoy these last few months at home, and here are some tips to ensure that happens.

Work Hard, Play Hard

You will want to put aside as much money as possible for spending during your freshman year, but don’t let work consume your summer.  Even if you’re working full-time, you still have the weekends off.  Use that time to hang out with your friends, or do whatever you’re passionate about.  After work, meet up with your friends instead of going home and watching TV.

Coordinate a Weekly Event

Plan an event with your friends to take place that same day every week.  This could be Poker Tuesdays, Whiffle ball Wednesdays, or anything else that you can think of.
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06.13.12 | The Freshman’s Guide to Saving Money: Preparing for College

Posted in College Life, financial aid tips by CollegeKid

Relaxing with MoneyCongratulations!  You’ve been accepted to college, and, in a few months, you will be leaving home to start the next chapter of your life.  As someone who just completed his freshman year, I can honestly tell you that this past year has been the best year of my life.  However, it has also been the most expensive. I learned how expensive college is the hard way.  After having worked close to full time last summer, I had $3.14 in my bank account by the end of the school year.  My goal is to provide you with tips on how to minimize your costs without minimizing the college experience.

Purchasing books

Don’t buy books from your school bookstore unless absolutely necessary.  Websites such as Amazon.com and Chegg.com provide textbooks at a much more reasonable price.  Amazon also offers a feature referred to as Amazon Student, where students who register with a valid .edu address qualify for six months of free two-day shipping.

Before buying a book for class, check if your school library has it available.  I had to read a book every two weeks for one of my classes last semester, and I was able to find almost all of these books in my school’s library.
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05.23.12 | Save money with your student I.D.

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

Savings AheadJust admit it, you’re jealous of children and senior citizens who get discounts on train rides and movie tickets, aren’t you? Well, you don’t have to be. Wherever you go to school and in any city across the United States, plenty of establishments will offer discounts if you show a school identification card.

College tuition and living expenses take enough of a toll on you and your family’s pocketbook, so it’s only fair students get a discount on daily activities and nightlife entertainment.

For discounts, here’s a list of places and things you should definitely use your student I.D. card for:

  • Airports, train and bus stations
  • Theaters and museums
  • Events, such as concerts, art shows and carnivals
  • Sports stadiums (for games or shows)
  • Electronics
  • Clothing
  • Food

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