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July Newsletter: Downloadable Student Loan Comparison Charts | Campus Visits | New Web Site

2 July 2014 2,354 views No Comment

Download Your Student Loan Comparison Chart

Summer. After a long, tough school year, it’s finally here. Time to kick back and relax, right?

It’s also the season when you have to make some decisions about how to pay for the upcoming academic year. What’s the most confusing issue: Understanding the different types of student loans.

To help you and your family figure it all out, we’ve put together easy-to-read charts — one for undergrads, and one for graduate/professional students — that compare the different types of student loans you may be considering. Find out which loans might be right for you.

Check out the comparison charts and download your copies now.

Ask the Edvisor: Your Questions, Answered

This month we received a question about visiting college campuses:

Q: I’m starting my senior year in high school this fall. My family and I are planning to visit some colleges when we go on vacation later this summer. What kind of things should we do or look for while we are on each campus?

A: Summer vacations and spring break are not the best time to visit colleges, as classes might not be in session and there may be very few students on campus. Touring a bunch of empty campus buildings will not help the student (or parents) make an informed decision about which college is the best academic and social fit.

The major differences between colleges are not in the faculty or the facilities, but in the students. Students spend more time learning from their peers than they spend sitting in classrooms listening to lectures. Having an opportunity to speak with current students matters more than the color of the brick underneath all the ivy.

Ideally, prospective college students should stay overnight in the dorms to get a good feel for the campus culture. Contact the college admissions office or campus visitors center at least two weeks before the visit to ask about the availability of an overnight stay. If staying overnight is not an option, the student and parents should split up after they arrive on the college campus. This will give the student an opportunity to ask questions without being intimidated or embarrassed by his or her parents. The answers will also be more candid. Splitting up also provides an opportunity to cover more ground and, perhaps, form different impressions of each college.

The parents should spend some time in the college’s financial aid office getting answers to important questions, such as whether the college meets full demonstrated financial need, how much the student and parents will need to borrow, whether the college practices front-loading of grants and what happens to the financial aid package when the student wins a private scholarship. They should also ask about any anticipated changes to the college’s financial aid or awarding policies. Parents should not expect a commitment as to the amounts and sources of any aid their student may be eligible to receive.

While the parents are exploring the campus on their own, they should pick a random college student and offer to buy him or her lunch if the student tells them what he or she likes and dislikes about the college. Ask the student to talk about what’s wrong with the place, the kind of information that doesn’t appear in the glossy brochures prepared by the college admissions office. Parents should try to spend more time listening than talking.

Before the college visit, the student and parents should do some research about the college, such as reading the information available on the college’s web site. The student should be prepared to answer the question, “What attracts you to our college?”

After the college visit, the student and parents should each send a thank you note to the people who helped them during their visit. College admissions staff, in particular, take note of the depth of the student’s interest in the college. To ensure the correct spelling and titles of the individuals met, be sure to ask for the person’s business card. This will also help with future possible contacts.

Our goal here at Edvisors is to help you make the best decisions about your college or university education. Part of that is answering your questions about student financial aid. We’ve added a section to our web site that will feature your financial aid questions and Mark’s helpful advice. Submit your question to be included in Ask the Edvisor.

Edvisors Unveils a New Mobile-Friendly Web Site

Edvisors Homepage

The information you need about the entire college experience, from planning and saving to graduating and repaying loans, is now available on an easy-to-navigate site with a fresh design and all-new content.

Here’s the value you can expect from the site:

  • Convenient: One-stop destination for information accessible on any type of device
  • Trusted: Quality content written by a team of financial aid experts with decades of experience
  • Helpful: Practical advice that steers students and families through a complex world

Check out the brand-new Edvisors.com.

When It Comes to Paying Tuition, How to Blaze a New Path

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) News invited special guests Miguel Palacios (Vanderbilt University) and Mark Kantrowitz (Edvisors) to discuss creative ways to pay for college.

Listen to the radio program now.

The Seven Scholarships

This monthly section of the Financial Aid Newsletter features an intriguing list of seven scholarships that share a common characteristic. We hope this section will make you smile and inspire you to apply for more scholarships.

Seven Scholarships for Future Federal Government Careers

  1. Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) Scholarships
  2. American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Scholarships
  3. CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service
  4. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Scholarship Program
  5. HORIZONS Scholarship
  6. Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP)
  7. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship Program

Featured Scholarships – NEW Weekly Drawings

This summer, the ScholarshipPoints program is doing drawings every week instead of once a month! To enter the upcoming drawings, simply log in to your account and spend your points before midnight Pacific on the date indicated. (The winners are announced on the next business day.)

Watch for our notification emails to see if you are a winner!

Stat Snapshot

Which payment plans are Direct Loans borrowers using?

Direct Loan Portfolio by Repayment Plan, Q2 2014

Source: Direct Loan Portfolio by Repayment Plan, Q2 2014

Financial Aid Term of the Month

Loan Servicer

A loan servicer is a company that manages sending out statements and coupon books and collecting payments on a loan, as well as other customer service functions. Some lenders service their own loans, while others outsource it to a third party company that specializes in servicing loans.

See more terms in the Student Financial Aid Glossary.

Helpful Links

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