Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

From finding the best fit, to meeting application deadlines, to figuring out how to pay for it all—the college process can be daunting and intimidating. There is help! Virginia is offering a series of three collaborative events designed to help guide Virginia students and their families through this process.

Mark your calendars!

  • College Nights in Virginia – November 1-15, 2013.
    For more information, visit www.collegenights.org.
  •  Virginia College Application Week – November 18-22, 2013.
    For more information, email iamtheoneva@gmail.com.
  •  Super FAFSA Week – February 1-8, 2014.
    For more information, visit www.vasfaa.com/super.

See the flyer for more details.

1-2-3 Flyer

Easy as 1-2-3!


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Have you subtracted your financial aid awards from your college tuition bill to find that you still have a remaining balance? If so, don’t panic!

Many colleges offer convenient tuition payment plans to assist you with paying your remaining balance. These plans usually divide your semester costs (tuition, on-campus housing, dining, and fees) into manageable installments throughout the semester.

To find out what payment plan options are available at your college, contact your college’s student accounting or financial aid office. Make sure to ask about requirements and costs for participation as payment plans may require that you apply by a certain deadline and pay a small fee to enroll. When reviewing your options, choose a plan that best fits your needs.

Also, be aware of and prepared to pay for expenses that are most likely not included on your bill, such as books, supplies, and off-campus housing (if applicable). If you need assistance paying these expenses, contact your college’s financial aid office to inquire about alternatives.

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Trick or Treat?

Just in time for Halloween, we share some frighteningly real information with you about figuring out the cost of college. More than 7,000 schools nationwide were required to post on their websites by October 29 a net-price calculator to to help current and prospective students, families, and other consumers estimate the net price of attending college. Whether learning the net cost of your dream school is a scary surprise or a neat treat, at least you will have a more accurate idea of which colleges are affordable for you and your family.

To learn more, read this Associated Press article or visit the website of  the Title IV college or university that interests you.

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Interested in graduating from college with no debt? Check out this visual how-to that shows the key characteristics of students who graduate without student loans.


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Having a tough time comparing your financial aid award notifications to figure out which institution is offering you the best package? Check out Peter Van Buskirk’s hints in his column from US News & World Report.

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Stay Focused!

ECMC CoverDuring the holiday season, it’s easy to lose focus on your college application responsibilities. It is important that you remain focused and stay organized, so that you don’t miss important application deadlines. By now, most early admission deadlines have passed, but there is still time for you to apply to colleges and universities for regular decision. Regular admission deadlines, to begin school in fall, are in January and early February for most colleges and universities.

Here are some tips from ECMC’s Opportunities booklets that should help keep you on track through December:

  • Continue preparing for the FAFSA.
    Even though you cannot submit your submit your FAFSA until January 1, it is never too early to prepare.

  • Research and apply for scholarships.

  • Finalize portfolios, audition tapes, or writing samples.
    Complete these if they are required for admissions or scholarships.

  • Follow up with your references.
    Make sure they are finalizing letters or forms that must be submitted to your colleges.

  • Complete revisions of all applications and essays.
    Review them with a parent, teacher, or school counselor.

  • Submit all revised, complete admissions and college academic scholarship application materials before the holiday break.
    Keep copies for your file. If you submit your applications online, verify that they were received.

For more tips and information about the college application and financial aid process, visit www.ecmc.org/details/opportunities.html.

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Have you been dreaming of attending a private college or university but think you will not be able to afford tuition? Good news! Virginia residents wishing to attend a private institution within the Commonwealth may be eligible to receive a Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG).

In 1972, the Commonwealth of Virginia created VTAG as a way to assist residents who attend accredited private, nonprofit colleges and universities in Virginia. VTAG is a non-need based grant and is available to undergraduate students as well as graduate students enrolled in health-related professional programs.

For a full list of participating institutions and program requirements, download the VTAG brochure from the SCHEV website.

The annual deadline to apply is July 31st.

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