If you feel that the pathways of college admissions and financial aid are labyrinthine, I would not challenge you about that perception. "Straightforward" is an adjective few veterans of the processes would use.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines pandemonium as a chaotic situation (https://www.merriam-webster.
What were high school students (grades 10 and 11, in particular) doing at this time last year? They were marking their calendars for campus visits. High school seniors were making calculated decisions about at which college to matriculate, from among several letters of acceptance. Campus life was a much more exciting prospect to those seniors than to their parents.
Then March arrived, along with the national, two-week shut-down to flatten the curve. Longest two weeks of my life! How about yours? So many excited first-year students have suffered through "virtual" higher education, and many from their parents' homes. I wonder how many parents now wish their college student was, in fact, away at college?
What will life look like for current high school seniors, come August, 2021? I have no idea; nor do the colleges; nor does anyone I know of, save the Lord God.
Here are my suggestions for 2021:
· High school seniors plan on campus life, somewhat modified by COVID-19 restrictions. However, also develop an at-home contingency plan. That includes re-organizing space in your house to create a dedicated study room. Include purchasing a new laptop computer with software suitable to the demands of college. Ask your college(s) what they recommend; particularly in your proposed major. For example, one of my former students, and now a rising college senior, needed a very sophisticated software program, with correspondingly powerful processors, for her engineering classes this past fall. Her plan to share with classmates was cancelled by the fact that she could not meet with any of them, even though she was living in a university-owned apartment, conveniently off-campus.
· High school juniors double down on your efforts for campus visits. Contact the colleges on your "Top Six" list. Ask about visiting. For campuses offering "virtual tours" only, schedule an appointment for that (or get the dates those are being offered). Write down every question you can think of. You may find yourself online with just one or two others, providing you a valuable opportunity to get some personal attention. Furthermore, be certain you set foot on the college campuses you are seriously considering, even if it is a private, unscheduled and unofficial visit. It is important that you see the campus, walk around the grounds, and visualize yourself there. Does it feel like the right place for you?
· High school sophomores surely, I mean surely(!) by the fall semester of 2023 campus life will have taken some form of predictability. Therefore, rather than concentrating on "Where?", concentrate on "Why?" For what reason are you going to college? To what end? Is a college education essential to your career-plans following high school? Do you know what those career plans look like? Why not? Those questions, and other similar questions, are much more important than where you will fulfill your higher education; at least for now.
One last fact to mention, and that is regarding financial aid. Big, big changes are coming to the financial aid formulae for the college years beginning Fall 2023-Spring 2024. The changes do not favor the middle class.
It is no secret that college education in the US is expensive. In fact, most students in the United States require student loans to finance their education. There are two types of financing solutions available to them -- federal student loans and private student loans. Even though most students choose to go with federal student loans, looking at other financing options available can help you select a financing option that works best for you.
Federal Student Loans
The five types of federal student loans include:
1. Direct Subsidized Loans
A direct subsidized loan means it is funded by the government. It is a cost-effective loan, allowing undergraduates to borrow money for tuition and related expenses. With a direct subsidized loan, interest does not accumulate for the student while they are enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, including for six months after graduating.
Interest begins to accumulate after the grace period, which means the student needs to start making the required payments unless they get a deferment. Direct subsidized loans are based on the student's or their family's financial status. For this reason, it is difficult to qualify for this loan.
2. Direct Unsubsidized Loans
A direct unsubsidized loan accumulates interest over the lifespan of the loan. The student is responsible for paying off the loan with interest. Interest can add hundreds and sometimes, even thousands of dollars to the total repayment amount.
3. Parent PLUS Loans
The Parent PLUS Loan is available to the parents of the undergraduate student. It offers a fixed rate and flexible loan limits. Parents can only qualify for this federal loan if they have a good credit history. A bad credit card history is:
· Current delinquency of 90 or more on over $2,085 in total debt.
· Over $2,085 in total debt in collections or charged off in the previous two Read more
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