06.06.12 | UPDATE: Stafford Loan Interest Rates

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

Recently, the U.S. Senate rejected President Barack Obama’s plan to maintain the 3.4% interest rates on federal student loans. If both parties are unable to agree on terms by the July 1 deadline, the rate will jump to 6.8%.

Both parties agree that the rates should remain at 3.4%, but paying for an extension of this proposal would cost $6 billion. So the question is, where will this money come from?

The Democrats are proposing the money come from shutting down a Medicare loophole that business partners can currently use to save money, while the Republicans suggest that eliminating a preventative health fund could provide the funding.

Background

In 2007, when interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans were 6.8%, the Senate approved a law that temporarily reduced the rates to 3.4% for low and middle-income students. While the rates are expected to return to 6.8% on July 1, President Obama is urging legislators to keep those rates at a more affordable level for students and their families.

Learn more about Stafford loans so you can prepare for the upcoming semester.

05.09.12 | Skipping class costs how much!?

Posted in Financial Aid, financial aid tips, Scholarships, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

The Cost of Skipping ClassIt’s 7:30 on a monday morning and your alarm clock goes off. You turn it off and roll over for 5 more minutes of sleep. When you finally roll out of bed and look at the clock, it’s 11:30 and you’ve missed your class. Not a big deal, right? As it turns out, skipping class might cost you more than you think.

According to the recent infographic from StudentScholarshipSearch.com, skipping just one class is a waste of $20 if you attend a public college, or $50 if you’re at a private school. This may seem like it’s not a big deal, but wasted money can add up fast! If you’re paying for college with loans, you’ll be paying interest on that class’s cost too!

Still not convinced you shouldn’t skip class? What if i told you that “those who wasted time in college are 3x more likely to be unemployed”? That got your attention, didn’t it?

To find other ways skipping class can hurt you, check out the True Cost of Skipping Class infographic.

03.08.12 | Avoid these top scholarship mistakes!

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

Scholarship MistakesStudent loans can be a crucial part of paying for college, but don’t forget there are other options that should be exhausted first- like scholarships. Many students know they should apply for scholarships, but either don’t have the time or get frustrated when they don’t win. We want to help, because let’s face it, free money for college is better than high-interest money for college.

StudentScholarshipSearch.com has developed an awesome infographic to help students win money: The Top 5 Scholarship Application Mistakes. Learn about some of the most common reasons why students are unable to snag a scholarship, and what you can do to turn your luck around.

While you may not win all of the scholarships you apply for, hopefully the tips from this infographic will get you on your way! And remember, apply apply apply!

01.18.12 | Paying for college: What you should know

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

Misty makes some excellent points in this video, especially for families who are applying for financial aid for the first time. She mentions that the FAFSA is free, and we can’t stress this enough! For families who have questions about the FAFSA, feel free to pose a question to the financial aid experts at FinancialAidForum.com, or check out some of the other common questions from families.
(more…)

01.16.12 | Check out the FAFSA Help Guide eBook

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

FAFSA Help Guide eBookIt’s FAFSA season again, and thanks to FAFSAOnline.com, we’re providing students and families with a downloadable FAFSA Help Guide to the online form. This detailed guide will answer the most common questions about filing the FAFSA, as well as provide some useful tips to help you get the most financial aid. Best of all, it’s free!

What information can you find in the FAFSA guide?

  • Filing your FAFSA before taxes
  • Tax credit information
  • Determining a student’s dependency status
  • Defining a parent
  • Using IRS Data Retrieval

And much more!
(more…)

01.10.12 | 2012-2013 FAFSA: What’s changed?

Posted in FAFSA, Financial Aid, News by Student Loan Network Staff

Father and Daughter on ComputerThe Department of Education has been making great strides in streamlining the often-confusing online FAFSA form. This year, students and parents should find it much easier to navigate through the process, as well as collect the information necessary to file the form.

Here’s what you can expect to find in the improved 2012-2013 FAFSA:

  • Easier online navigation- The sections and questions have been reordered to make it easier to navigate. This best part of this is that the system now knows where you left off, so if you fill out the form over a few sessions, there’s no more searching for your next steps. Plus, it’s “skip logic” has been improved. This means that the system will eliminate unnecessary questions based on what you’ve already answered, making less work for you!
  • (more…)

11.09.11 | Financial Aid Basics

Posted in Consolidation, FAFSA, Financial Aid, financial aid tips, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Financial Aid 101 eBookJanuary is quickly approaching, and you know what that means? FAFSA season. Filing your FAFSA is a critical step in the financial aid process. However, if you have never applied for financial aid before, everything can get overwhelming, and fast! This is why you should know your options beforehand. You can then apply directly to a loan lender.

Major types of financial aid:

  • Private scholarships and grants
  • Federal grants (Pell, Academic Competitiveness Grant, SMART, FSEOG)
  • Federal student loans (Stafford, Parent PLUS, Graduate PLUS, Perkins Loans)
  • Federal work study
  • Private Student Loans

How to apply:

Scholarships and grants
Private scholarships and grants have individual applications and deadlines. While the application process can be time-consuming, every little bit helps!

Federal aid
The FAFSA is your application for all of the federal types of financial aid listed above. Students need to submit it starting January 1st of each year, and the sooner you file, the better!

Private loans
If you’ve exhausted your scholarship and federal aid resources, then it’s time to apply for a private loan. Each lender will have different interest rates and benefits, so it helps to compare your loan options to find what’s best for you.

For more information on the different types of financial aid and for a helpful financial aid calendar, check out our Financial Aid 101 eBook.

10.06.11 | Free Financial Aid Webinars for Students

Posted in Financial Aid, Repayment by Student Loan Network Staff

Girl on laptopLet’s face it, financial strategy and planning is not always on the forefront of college students’ minds. There is a lot of great information out there to help students budget while in college, but many busy students don’t have the time or will to read it. Enter Financial IQ Webinars by Great Lakes.

Great Lakes is a student loan servicer that is providing free webinars to students on financial literacy topics. Open to all students (not just those whose loans are serviced by GL) the webinars will focus on Money 411, Credit Card Smarts, and Student Loan Repayment – Everything you need to know.

For busy students, these hour-long webinars can be a relatively quick and easy way to get a little more finance-savvy. Below you can find a list of these webinars with dates, times, and more detailed information.
(more…)

09.29.11 | What happens to financial aid if you withdraw from school?

Posted in Financial Aid by Student Loan Network Staff

girl with questionsHere at StudentLoanNetwork.com, we get a lot of questions from students and parents. One of the more common ones involves withdrawal; If a student withdraws from school, what happens to financial aid? The short answer is, it depends.

What does it mean to withdraw?

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? A withdrawal from school is when a student ceases to be enrolled before the closing of a period of enrollment. The actual date depends on your school and how semesters are arranged. Dropping a class or two does not count as a school withdrawal, and the following standards do not apply in that situation. Note: You always want to officially withdraw, as an unofficial withdrawal may lead to failing grades and a poor transcript.

What happens to federal aid?

In the case of a withdrawal, your school is required to return a portion of your Title IV aid to the Department of Education. This includes only the federal aid you received, private loans are treated differently. The exact amount returned depends on when you withdraw from classes. If you withdraw after you are 60% through the semester, all of your financial aid is considered “earned” and will not be returned to the government. However, a withdrawal before this date requires some calculations by your financial aid office to determine how much of the funds were considered used.
(more…)

08.30.11 | How do you fill your financial aid gap?

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

Fill the Gap Infographic: How Students Pay for College

If you’re like most students, federal aid may not cover your whole Cost of Attendance. Between tuition, books, housing, and all of the other expenses you face in college, federal financial aid can only stretch so far. To help fill the gap, students turn to a variety of sources to help them get to that diploma.

Some of the most common ways students pay for school include private loans, part-time jobs, and parental help, just to name a few. To learn more tips and tricks to help pay for school, check out the Fill the Gap infographic.

» View the Fill the Gap Infographic: How Students Pay for College

Now it’s your turn. We want to know how you pay for school. Did you get a private loan? Maybe saved up money since middle school?

Leave a comment and let us know how you pay for school!