Posts Tagged ‘budget’

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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The Wall Street Journal has an interactive community where users can ask questions or share advice on a given topic. This week, the Journal Community is discussing the best way to pay for college. Feel free to share your tips here on SCHEV’s blog, or visit the WSJ website to see what their readers have to say.

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Good news for students attending private colleges or universities! Students at these institutions may pay a little less in tuition and fees this year, according to a survey by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

The study found that while tuition and fees at private, nonprofit colleges and universities is increasing an average of 4.5% for the 2010-11 academic year, private colleges are increasing institutional student aid by an average of 6.8%. The 2010-11 increase in institutional student aid comes on top of a 9% increase last year.

The bottom line? Students and their families should not rule out private, nonprofit institutions just because of their price tag.

What do you think? Would you be more likely to attend a private college or university if a significant financial aid package could reduce your out-of-pocket expenses?

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One of the duties of the Council of Higher Education is to make budget recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly. Given the current economic situation, the Council chose to make its higher education budget recommendations in a different manner this year. 


At its October 21 meeting, the Council approved a resolution that focuses on short-term strategies to help students and institutions to respond to Virginia’s economic situation. Council recommendations included:


1. Setting financial aid as the highest priority for any additional funding. This includes aid for both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Virginia residents attending the Commonwealth’s nonprofit, private institutions.


2. Giving the institutions the flexibility needed to increase tuition appropriately to help offset any necessary general fund budget reductions—provided that institutions be required to dedicate 5-30% of such tuition increases to need-based financial aid for in-state students.


For more information about the Council’s recommendations, visit our web site.

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In our second installment of Secrets from the Inside, we spoke with Brad Barnett, Senior Associate Director in the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships at James Madison University.

Briefly, what do you think is the most exciting or attractive feature of your institution?
JMU is a beautiful campus located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Outside of the sheer beauty of the campus, I think one of the most exciting features of JMU is that we have kept that “small campus” feel even though we have grown to around 17,000 students. Our low student to professor ratio and average class size of less than 30 students are a true testament to the JMU efforts.

What is the single most important piece of financial aid information you think students should know?

Follow the prescribed deadlines and rules, and have patience. Going through the financial aid process can be time-consuming, but students who pay attention to the details will successfully navigate this process. Remember, financial aid officers are here to help.

Secondly, learn to budget. Too many students are starting college without any idea of how to manage their own money, even a task as basic as balancing a checkbook. Having these skills intact will truly help a student be more successful in college, as well as after graduation.

What is the most common financial aid mistake you see, and how can students and their families keep from falling into that trap?

The financial aid process can be a little overwhelming, especially for first time students. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is not the most user-friendly document, but it is the one we are required to use for federal and state aid at public colleges in Virginia. Paying attention to the details ensures deadlines are met, questions are answered completely and accurately, and students do not miss out on maximizing their aid potential. Understand that applying for financial aid requires a time commitment and organization and you will minimize the risk of losing out on aid by missing the details.

What is the most creative cost-saving method you’ve heard about from students?

I have been teaching financial literacy on a college campus for about the past decade. In all that time, the most creative cost-saving method I’ve heard of is donating plasma. It seems like donating plasma has become a way for students to earn some spending money with minimal work, while providing a much-needed service to others.

What is your favorite cartoon character and why?

I consider myself nothing more than a big kid when it comes to cartoons, and Bugs Bunny and Wyle E. Coyote are two of my favorites. Bugs is creative, always finding a way to outwit his opponents. However, when it comes to perseverance, Wyle E. Coyote takes the cake. This character never reaches his goal of catching the Road Runner, but that doesn’t stop him.

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