Sunday, June 5, 2011

College Opportunity Knocks....... Yes, there is money to help with your college education!

Q:  I want to go back to school.   Is there any money to help California residents with college tuition?

A:    Yes!    There have never been more, and there are federal programs for Military and Military spouses too.    Anyone can apply and you should be proactive to get help with your costs!

Federal Work Study

If a student is offered Federal Work Study as part of his/her financial aid package, the College or University Financial Aid Office can usually  help students find a part-time job on or off campus. If possible, students will be placed in work related to his/her studies or career plans, or in community service. A student will generally earn between $8.50 and $14.50 per hour and be paid once per month.

Federal Pell Grants

Pell Grants are awarded solely on demonstrated financial need to every eligible undergraduate student who hasn't already earned a bachelor's degree or professional degree. Pell Grants don't need to be repaid. They can be used for tuition, fees, and living expenses. A student can even receive a Pell Grant if he/she is attending college less than half time.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)

Your college Financial Aid Office awards these grants to undergraduate students who have exceptional financial need, with priority given to Pell Grant recipients. Unlike Pell Grants, there's no guarantee every eligible student will receive one. In addition, funds are limited. These grants don't need to be paid back.

Cal Grants

Cal Grants are awarded on demonstrated financial need and academic achievement as measured by a GPA to undergraduate students who haven't already earned a bachelor's degree or professional degree. Cal Grants don't need to be repaid. They can be used for tuition, fees, and living expenses. Contact the California Student Aid Commission at 1-888-224-7268 or visit their web site at for more information regarding deadlines and availability of funds.

Federal Stafford Loans

There are two types of Stafford loans: subsidized, for which the government pays the interest while the student is in college; and unsubsidized, for which the student is responsible for paying all the interest on the loan, during college and after. A student can receive both types of loans at the same time.

The interest rate is currently 3.4 percent for subsidized loans and fixed at 6.8 percent for unsubsidized loans . After graduating, leaving school, or enrolling less than half time, a student will have a six month "grace period" before the first loan payment is due. All student loans must be paid back with interest. Typically a student will have 10 years to repay the loan.

Federal PLUS Loans for Parents

With PLUS Loans, a student's parents or stepparents may borrow up to the total cost of a student's education, minus any other aid that the student receives. PLUS loans are not based on a student's family's income or assets and are only for undergraduate study.

The current interest rate is fixed at 7.9 percent. Interest is charged from the date loan funds are first disbursed until the loan is repaid in full. Generally repayment starts within 60 days of the loan's final disbursement for the school year, so a student's parents may be repaying both the loan and the interest while the student is still in college.
Check with your employer too.  Many offer tuition reimbursement and some offer generous scholarships!
Best of luck as you continue to grow your options!   Patty DeDominic,  Coach to High Achievers

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