Why Are National SAT Scores Down?

Over the years I’ve written about countless ways and reasons to be financially prepared for college.

After all, without proper financial preparation, students and their parents can easily be saddled with decades of debt.

That said, a recent study came out about academic preparation for college that turned my head.

It was the College Board’s just-published annual report on college and career readiness… Read the rest of this entry »

The College Graduate “Underemployment Epidemic”

It’s an epidemic that few talk about, yet it’s sweeping through our nation… affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

I’m talking, of course, about the epidemic of underemployment, and how it’s affecting our country’s new college graduates.

Keep reading to learn what’s happening… and how your college-bound child can not only keep from falling into this trap… but actually prosper. Read the rest of this entry »

The 5 People Who Can Help You Get Into Your Dream College

Every year, millions of high school students vie for admission in the few thousand colleges in the United States.

That’s a lot of competition. It can seem like you are up against impossible odds and that you are alone in overcoming them.

Not so. Getting into the right college isn’t an easy task, but it’s a task you don’t have to undertake alone.

Here are five people who can help improve your chances of getting into the college of your choice. Read the rest of this entry »

Questions To Ask the College Admissions Department: Part 2

Recently we published a series of questions families should think to ask college admissions departments… before making any big school-related decisions.

In response, our readers followed up with some more great questions, which we’ve answered in today’s College Made Simple.

Remember, knowing what questions to ask is half the battle. Read the rest of this entry »

Which Is Better for College Classrooms: Laptops or Tablets?

The world is more interconnected now than it has ever been, and technology has become an absolute necessity for most types of work.

Higher education is no different, and your college-bound kids will be hard-pressed to achieve a degree without some sort of access to computers and the internet.

Thanks to this need and the aforementioned status of technological advancement, a new debate has arisen over the best computing hardware for college: Laptops vs. Tablets.

We’ll look at both Read the rest of this entry »

What Questions Should I Ask the College Admissions Department?

When your child begins searching for the college of his or her dreams, you are going to be bombarded with more facts, figures, and statistics than you will know what to do with.

Some of it will be useful, some of it will be unnecessary fluff, and together it will most certainly be overwhelming.

It can be difficult to sift through this wealth of information and find the answers you need. However, oftentimes it is even more difficult to know what questions to ask in the first place.

Thus, we’ve put together a list of questions Read the rest of this entry »

5 New College Scholarship Frauds To Look Out For

With so many families looking for scholarship money to offset today’s huge tuition bills, it’s more important than ever to know the facts…

You see, the number of scholarship scams and frauds are ever-increasing, and the tactics used to separate families from their money have taken on new levels of deception.

Knowing what to look for and how to avoid these scams can be your greatest protection.

In fact, we’ve discovered some new tactics to look out for – so we’re sharing them in today’s report. Read the rest of this entry »

The College Student Loan “Crossfire”

Students looking to take out new federal loans to support their college educations were expecting their interest rates to double – as the 6.8% interest rate kicked in on July 1.

That would have meant a 1/6th increase on monthly payments once a student graduated and the loan entered repayment.

Students can now breath a sigh of relief, though, as the Senate last week approved a bill that allows undergraduate students to borrow at 3.9% for this school year. Read the rest of this entry »

Little-known Secrets about the SAT Prep Industry

Getting accepted into a great school, getting a rock solid education, landing a dream job…

For many students, it all starts with the SAT. And there are a lot of SAT preparatory businesses lining up to help these students.

I talk with a lot of SAT tutors and instructors in different parts of the country. And I’ve learned some insider secrets that really surprised me Read the rest of this entry »

Financial Aid Traps To Avoid, Part 2

In our last story we reviewed 3 financial aid traps to avoid:

  • Misunderstanding the aid you’re awarded
  • Fear of high prices, and
  • Drawing from your retirement to help with expenses

Today let’s look at three more, to help get you in the best position possible for aid. Read the rest of this entry »

6 Financial Aid Traps Every Family Should Know About

Traversing the world of collegiate financial aid can feel like you are navigating a maze.

And if you go into the process blindly that is exactly what it will be: a confusing tangle of dead ends, backtracking, and worst of all, traps.

Luckily, we are here to help you plot a safe course through that maze so you can reach the financial aid waiting for you at the finish—the financial aid you deserve. Read the rest of this entry »

The Shocking Reality of America’s College Student Loan Debt

Dear College Made Simple reader,

Take a guess at how collective debt college graduates currently owe.

$500 million? $50 billion? $500 billion?

Getting warmer. All totaled, student loan debt has exceeded the $1 trillion mark.

Few of the major news outlets have reported this startling fact. But the reality is – this $1 trillion student loan debt figure breaks down to a rough average of $35,000 per college graduate. Read the rest of this entry »

The Priceless Value of a College Degree

The cost of college tuition has skyrocketed in recent years. And within a few months, we’ll find out if interest rates on federal loans are going to double.

It’s always been tough paying for college, but it was always deemed a necessity because a college degree was well worth it.

Today, a lot of people say that’s not the case anymore. They say it’s not worth the tens of – sometimes hundreds – of thousands of dollars. They say that you should just dive right into the work force and start earning instead of learning. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Use Twitter To Aid Your College Search

Twitter is certainly popular, but can it actually help a high school student’s college search?

Turns out, Twitter can help students get financial aid and increase their chances of being accepted into colleges of choice.

But as with anything in social media, you have to know where to look, how to sort through the mindless chatter, and how to drill down to the core information that will help the most. Read the rest of this entry »

What Are the Colleges with the Highest Acceptance Rates? (and other FAQs)

Today we’re going to dig into the College Made Simple mail bag, and answer some specific questions about colleges and universities with highest acceptance and graduation rates, and more. (We compiled data from multiple sources including collegeatlas.org and U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings.) Read the rest of this entry »

Frequently Asked Questions on the SAT Fee Waiver

In the process of searching for the right college, there are many little expenses that crop up along the way. When added up, these small fees can be bend household budgets and put another financial burden hard working students and parents.

But some fees are avoidable. The SAT Fee Waiver is one of them.

So much of students and parents’ attention to the SAT exam is focused on test performance that they overlook the fact that they can take it for free.

Here’s a highlight of the SAT Fee Waiver’s biggest features. Read the rest of this entry »

When Is the Best Time To Take the SAT? – Frequently Asked Questions

In today’s installment, we’ve assembled a list of some of the questions families most often have on the SATs. If your child is gearing up for the SATs, please refer back to the CollegeMadeSimple.com Free Reports section for more helpful insights.

– Scott

Q: When is the best time to take the SAT? Read the rest of this entry »

Financial Aid Probation vs. Suspension

With the cost of higher education these days, more and more families are relying on financial aid in order to put their kids through college.

When you receive your financial aid package, make sure you take the fine print seriously!

You don’t just need to know where the money is coming from, how much will have to be paid back, and when. It is also essential that you understand that the support is conditional. Read the rest of this entry »

The College Perkins Loan Crisis, Part 2

In our last story, we took a look at a Bloomberg.com report that detailed a financial crisis being faced by those who utilize federal Perkins loans to pay for college.

Thanks to the current state of the economy, this need-based loan (reserved for students with some form of financial ‘need’) is being defaulted upon in record numbers, which could lead to fewer available funds for those who will rely on the Perkins loan in the future.

However, the most serious danger may lie in the post-college world for Perkins borrowers Read the rest of this entry »

The College Perkins Loan Crisis: Part 1

It is absolutely essential that you understand all of your financial options before jumping into any student loans.

After all, we are witnessing the “perfect storm” of a poor job market keeping graduates from finding employment that will allow them to pay off student loans, while the cost of college rises faster than inflation. Ever-increasing numbers of students are being forced to take out loans to pay for their education. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Tackle the Most Difficult SAT Problems

For many students, the SAT (or the ACT) represents one of the biggest hurdles to getting into the college of their dreams.

And with such a wide variety of subjects, it’s crucial that students handle their “problem areas” – the tough questions, if for no other reason than to allow ample time for the more manageable exam questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Transferring Colleges: Frequently Asked Questions

The importance of planning for all aspects of college cannot be overstated.

Families must ready themselves for standardized testing, applications, admissions and rejections, financial aid, personal finances, and so much more.

You must even prepare for the unexpected, such as your “diamond-in-the-ruff” college choice turning out to be a lump of coal. Read the rest of this entry »

Housing: A Different Way To Offset The High Cost Of College

Some families are finding new and innovative ways to save money in college.

Scholarships and grants are one thing – but the inventive are often taking advantage of entirely unrelated conditions.

One such thing is the real estate market. Read the rest of this entry »

College Planning Network: What People Are Saying

Often times with these reports, I get so caught up in sharing the insights and tips that help families throughout the entire admissions process… that I completely forget to pass on something just as important:

And that is, what our clients think about us… and just how, exactly, we’re helping them.

So here’s a quick look at some of the feedback Read the rest of this entry »

4 Things To Do Before Heading off to College

Getting into college is exciting and exhilirating in so many ways. Yet there’s usually very little time to prepare – before your student leaves home for school.

That’s why we’ve put together a brief run-down of the important things to square away with your student – before they leave the nest for their first year at college. Read the rest of this entry »

The College Tuition Freeze: A New Trend?

These days it can sometimes feel like colleges are raising their tuition rates even faster than you can send them a check.

After all, tuition increases are well outpacing the growth of inflation.

Each year, it seems, it’s the same thing: “College X will increase tuition 5 percent next year to help pay for new office buildings. College Y’s tuition will jump 10 percent due to budget cuts.” Read the rest of this entry »

How To Know What To Spend on College

It’s a simple plan: Invest money in a college education now, and your child increases his or her earning power over their lifetime.

After all, those with college degrees still earn a lot more than those without four-year degrees.

Still, as the cost of obtaining that college degree gets increasingly higher, more and more families are looking at the cost of that degree in much different ways. Read the rest of this entry »

Does Financial Aid Have an Income Limit?

You would be hard-pressed to find a parent who did not want to receive some sort of financial aid for their college-bound children, but far too many never even attempt to qualify.

In fact, many people assume that if they make too much money or have too many assets, then they have no chance of receiving any aid. Read the rest of this entry »

Is College About To Get More Affordable?

For many families, their view of college has morphed over the years. College, it seems, is no longer simply very expensive, but often prohibitively so.

That may be changing.

Due to bleaker job prospects, fears tied up with the recession that started in 2008, and prices possibly reaching an inflection point, the spiraling cost of college may just be slowing down. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Make the Cost of Textbooks As Cheap as Possible

It is easy for textbooks to get lost in the shuffle of college financial preparations.

After all, when compared to $40,000 in tuition or $10,000 in room and board costs, buying a few books may seem less significant.

But when we take a step back into the real world and reflect, paying nearly $1,000 for one semester of books seems like a travesty! Read the rest of this entry »

How To Find the Colleges that Give Out the Most Financial Aid

As you probably know by now, there are a whole host of variables in determining financial aid.

It starts with your income and assets, as well as your Expected Financial Contribution, which helps determine if and how much financial aid your child will receive.

But, just the same, there are in fact ways to get ahead of the game, Read the rest of this entry »

FAFSA Questions: Taxes, the SAR, and CSS Profile

The New Year has students and families everywhere preparing their FAFSAs (Free Application for Federal Student Aid.)

January 1st is the earliest one can submit a FAFSA – and, as we’ve noted many times – the earlier, the better.

If the FAFSA is still on your family’s college planning agenda, here are some of the most common questions pertaining to it… Read the rest of this entry »

Need-Blind vs. Need-Aware in the College Admissions Process

Sometimes it is important to remember that, deep down, colleges are businesses.

Certainly, the goal of these “corporations” is primarily to educate rather than profit, but they also face many of the same financial challenges as any other company. Read the rest of this entry »

What Is the “College Base Year?”

Most families know the junior year of high school as the most important and most pivotal time period for their college-bound children.

After all, there’s SAT or ACT prep, making and narrowing your college list, and many more college planning considerations.

But the truth is… colleges and universities see things through an additional lens – one that’s even more important… Read the rest of this entry »

3 Ways To Reduce College Costs

No matter how much planning you do, it’s the sort of question that can keep you up nights:

How can we afford college?

It’s not just the ever-rising tuition costs, either… there’s also all the attached spending. And if you have two or more children in school at the same time, the costs of going to top schools can really appear prohibitive. Read the rest of this entry »

Tips for Avoiding FAFSA Scams

Dear College Made Simple reader,

During the long process of applying to different colleges, the last thing you and your family need to worry about is identity theft or fraud.

Sadly, fraud is common, especially with FAFSA applications. Read the rest of this entry »

Waitlisted vs. Deferred in the College Admissions Process: What It Means

No matter your child’s academic credentials, you should always prepare to face any of the possible outcomes of the college admissions process.

The system is no longer as simple as “Accepted” or “Rejected.” Read the rest of this entry »

How the FAFSA Differs from the CSS Profile

In our last article we provided you with information on the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid); a form which determines your eligibility for federal grants and loans as well as some grants and scholarships from the colleges themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

FAFSA vs. The CSS Profile

While the cost of college can be incredibly daunting, there are millions of dollars in financial aid grants and loans out there every year for those who navigate through the process most efficiently.

In order to receive that financial aid, there are a couple forms you will need to know about: the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. Read the rest of this entry »

SAT Frequently Asked Questions: Part 2

Today’s story is a continuation of our FAQ series on the SAT.

If you want your child to go to college, than at some point they will more than likely have to face this testing process (or the ACT).

Their best tools for success will be preparation and knowledge Read the rest of this entry »