Posts Tagged ‘Financial Aid’

College News Roundup

Up-to-date college news from this week:

College Student Pleads Guilty to POTUS Threats

A 20-year-old student at Miami-Dade College pleaded guilty this week to posting threating messages about President Obama to Facebook. Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr. might end up getting 5 years in prison for the threats. According to the AP:

“In the first post on Feb. 21, Serrapio said: “Who wants to help me assassinate Obummer while hes at UM this week?”

Then on Feb. 23, the day of Obama’s visit, the Secret Service said Serappio posted a second threat.

“If anyones going to UM to see Obama today, get ur phones out and record. Cause at any moment im gonna put a bullet through his head and u don’t wanna miss that! Youtube!” the message said.

Someone who saw the posts contacted the Coral Gables Police Department and the Secret Service dispatched two agents to Serrapio’s home, where Serrapio and his mother agreed to allow a search. There they found an iPad with one of the Facebook postings on it and a cell phone with a text message from one of Serrapio’s friends who had seen the messages.

“LOL you can get in trouble for sayin’ that,” the text said.

Serrapio replied that he was “challenging” the Secret Service and also issued threats against any agents who came looking for him.

“I wanna kill at least two of them when they get here,” Serrapio said in that text.

Investigators said the only weapons Serrapio possessed were two pellet guns. He was originally charged with threatening the agents as well, but prosecutor Seth Schlessinger said that charge will be dropped.

Serrapio said during the hearing he had just completed his second year of college. He declined through Ross to comment outside court.

Senator Franken Introduces Standard College-Aid Letters Bill

Senator (and former SNL star) Al Franken (D-MN) and eight co-sponsors are introducing a bill to simplify the financial aid process. Under this bill, Colleges would have to send all students their financial aid information in a standard letter so that families would be able to evaluate their options in a simple and understandable way. According to Bloomberg:

“Colleges send letters to students they’ve accepted outlining costs, scholarships as well as loan information. The letters are often confusing and fail to differentiate clearly between awards and the money a student might need to borrow to cover tuition and other expenses. There is no federal requirement to disclose interest rates or total loan payments as there are for other types of loans such as mortgages.

The bill would establish information that must be included such as the cost of attendance, the net amount a student is responsible for paying after subtracting grant aid, expected federal loan monthly repayment amounts and disclosures related to private loans, according to the statement.”

Any news going on your college campus? Share in the comment field below!


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15 Financial Aid Terms Cheat Sheet

As a high school junior or senior, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about “financial aid” and “student loans.” Your counselor is on your back about filling out a FAFSA, your parents are asking about interest rates, and all the fancy paperwork with charts and numbers about loans and grants and whatnot makes no sense to you.

It’s no surprise that you aren’t familiar with a lot of the terms being thrown around. As a high school student, you probably don’t have any loans yet. You likely don’t have a credit card yet. You may not even have a checking account or bills to pay. To save you from having to smile and nod through conversations about paying for college, here is a cheat sheet of the most common financial aid terms you need to know.

Financial Aid: Money the government lets you borrow for college if it’s determined your family is unable to afford it on their own. Need is based on your family’s income.

Interest Rate: The cost of borrowing money, expressed as a percentage of the total amount owed. This amount is paid back, on top of your total loan amount. The more money you borrow, and the longer you take to pay it off, the most interest you’ll be paying.

Loan: Money you borrow and will pay back with interest.

Stafford Loan: The most common form of student loan.

Subsidized Loan: A loan the government pays interest on while you’re in school. You’ll be responsible for the rest of the interest once you’ve left school.

Unsubsidized Loan: A loan you’ll pay the accumulated interest on once you’ve left school. You’re responsible for all of the interest.

FAFSA: An acronym that stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Think of it as a long job application you and your parents will fill out together, only instead of applying for a job, you’re applying to borrow money from the government to pay for school.

Academic Year: The school year, usually two semesters (Fall and Spring) or three trimesters.

Borrower: This is you. If you’re borrowing the money, you’re the borrower.

Master Promissory Note: A contract that states you’ll pay back the money you borrow.

Award Letter/Award Package: Documents your college will use to outline how much money you’ll receive for that school in loans and scholarships.

Grace Period: A six month period between when you leave college and when your first student loan bill is due. It’s a time to get your living situation and a job in order before you have to start paying money back.

Work Study Program: A program that helps students earn financial funding through a part-time work program at their college.

Default: Defaulting is officially defined as 270 days without making loan payments when you haven’t qualified for deferment.

Deferment: Pausing your student loans for a six month period when you’re incapable of making payments.

You can also pay for college with scholarships! Apply to scholarships that best match you by making your profile at Cappex today!

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Make Smarter Decisions When Paying For School with New “Know Before You Owe” Tool

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Last Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched the next phase of its Know Before You Owe student loan project with the beta version of the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper, an interactive, online tool designed to help families plan for the costs of college.

With student loan debt crossing the $1 trillion barrier, the folks at the CFPB believe that students and families need to fully understand all the moving parts of borrowing money to pay for college before they wind up thousands of dollars in debt and without a plan for their financial future. The new online comparison tool helps students compare college costs so that they can find the one that works the best for their fiscal future.

The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper has been released to the world at the height of the college decision making process. As students sift through their acceptance letters, for a majority of them, it comes down to how they will actually pay for school; however, unfortunately, financial aid information is often filled with hard-to-understand industry terms and unique guidelines to the institution sending it. How can a family make an educated decision on college costs if it’s too complicated to understand the source material?

CFPB’s Know Before You Owe student loan project began in October by collaborating with the Department of Education on a draft Financial Aid Shopping Sheet that higher education institutions could use to present families with a uniform, easy-to-understand explanation of the total cost of post-secondary education and their options for financing it. The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper builds on that by helping students to compare the information across schools.

The beta version of the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper has more than 7,500 schools and institutions in its database, including vocational schools and community, state, and private colleges. It draws information from publicly available data provided by government statistical agencies. With the new tool, students and their families can compare the following across multiple financial aid offers:

  • Estimated monthly student loan payment after graduation;
  • Grant and scholarship offers;
  • School-specific metrics such as graduation, retention, and federal student loan default rates; and
  • Estimated debt level at graduation in relationship to the average starting salary

The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper also includes a “Military Benefit Calculator” that can estimate education benefits for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. The calculator includes military tuition assistance and Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

And, of course, ease the cost of college with scholarships. Find your matches today at

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