For direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans the numbers are:
4.66 percent – Undergraduates
6.21 percent – Graduate students
7.21 percent – Parent (PLUS) loans
These rates are locked in for the 2014-15 school year only; if you have a student that will be entering college in the fall of 2015, you will receive the new rates next year at about the same time.
We welcome to the show Christina Craig, who has been in college counseling and admissions for the past 10 years before starting her own private counseling company, Craig College Counseling.
Christina has a different take on the admissions process, calling it fun and enjoyable. Not something you’ll likely hear from the family trying to tackle the process on their own. Her job is then to alleviate the stress from her clients and part of her services is taking on the college essay.
Here are the topics we covered:
- Why do colleges require an essay?
- Does each essay have to be started from scratch?
- When should you get started?
- What should you know before you get started?
- What if the student has struggled in high school, or is not a good writer?
- What makes a good essay?
- Show the first draft to an English teacher or counselor, NOT a parent; they’re often too close to the student to make the best judgment
- The story should reveal the best about the student
- Avoiding common mistakes
- Christina’s Top 3 Tips
- Use an appropriate email address for all college correspondence
- Stay organized
- Have real, concrete reasons for why you want to apply at each school; don’t just throw applications against the wall to see what sticks.
We received a question from an attorney who is handling the estate for a family where the father passed away, leaving two children in college and three children, 16 and under, who might also be entering college. The dad’s wishes were to distribute equally assets into five trust accounts for his children, which equal $20-$25,000 each. The attorney wants to know if it would be best to terminate the trusts and deposit the money into an UTMA or 529 accounts, or for the two currently in college, to pay the funds directly to the schools.
While the circumstances are difficult, it’s important to look at how each of these options will affect the overall financial aid picture for each of the children.
- Why an UTMA is NOT a good choice
- How trusts are no protection from financial aid
- Why the 529 may be the best option
- Things to consider before you make a direct payment to the school