Archive for May, 2008

Most forms of Financial Aid cover tuition, room/board, fees, and sometimes books. But over time, the cost of living while attending college can add up. This summer, why not create a plan to save money at school next year? Below are some frugal tips gathered from former college students:

  • Buy necessities like shampoo, laundry detergent and toilet paper in bulk, before you leave home. On campus stores usually mark up these items more than bulk stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.
  • Use email or web-phone/video services to stay in touch with relatives and friends while you are away at school. Long distance calls can be expensive.
  • Buy used textbooks and save your reciepts in case a professor cuts a required text from the syllabus at the last minute.
  • Live with roommates and split the cost of everything evenly. Consider buying food seperately though… many an arguement has been started because someone else ate all the peanut butter.
  • Learn to cook. Eating out is one of the highest expenses cited by college students. Making a weekly menu, shopping strictly for that menu, and sticking to an at-home cuisine will save you a bundle.
  • Pack a lunch each day and invest in a good refillable water bottle. This way you won’t have to buy high-priced items on campus.
  • Make sure your apartment or dorm is near public transportation – and use it. Take advantage of your campus shuttles, too. Or bring your bike to campus and leave your car at home.

Do you have a cost-cutting tip to share? Submit a comment to this post!


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Let’s say you want to study Zoology, but cannot find a school in Virginia that offers a degree program in that field. You may still be able to go to an out-of-state school and pay in-state tuition.

Your first step is to make sure that your program is definitely not offered in Virginia.

SCHEV offers a Degree Inventory tool on our web site that might be of some use to you. Simply select “Degree Inventory” in the Students & Parents section of our web site. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the broad or specific program area that best suits your need. Once you hit “Display” the tool will generate a complete list of the public and private college and university offerings across Virginia that fit your description.

The state does help when degree programs are not offered in Virginia through a program known as the Academic Common Market (ACM). ACM is an arrangement among Southern states allowing students to pay in-state tuition rates at out-of-state schools while studying in <select programs not available at Virginia public institutions. Information on the ACM can be found on SCHEV’s website

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We recently received a comment from a student wondering why it was important to fill out the FAFSA and were pleased to find a five minute video on the FinAid website to help us explain. Created by FastWeb, the video is a great introduction to FAFSA and explains its importance in a quick and entertaining way.

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You’ve done it! Congratulations! After years of hard work, you are finally graduating from college with a degree. Now what? In addition to finding a job and working out the details on the next phase of your life, don’t forget that an important part of your future is paying back any student loan debt you may have incurred over the course of your college career.

While you may be aware that most loans offer grace periods before repayment is to begin (six months for a Federal or Direct Stafford Loan, nine months for a Federal Perkins Loan), don’t wait until your grace period is up to figure out your next steps.  The Financial Aid office at your institution can provide information on how the payback process works. If you have a federal loan, the U.S. Department of Education and Federal Student Aid has a good, online resource to help get you rolling.

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