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Education and Students Finance

Posted On: 2005-09-21Length: 27:25

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Good morning it is Wednesday September 21, 2005. This is the Financial Aid podcast thanks for tuning in here if you are just joining us. This is a podcast about all things education, finance and personal finance related when it comes to students. Got a great show today, got a lot of Podsafe music, also a reminder we've got two music shows coming up in this Friday and the following Monday. The Friday show is already built, it's already to roll just going to obviously wait for Friday for it but got a lot of great new Podsafe music bands in there, thanks to myspace and the Podsafe Music Network.

Let's get started today with the news. Oracle kicks people out of school, that is not quite true but it is almost true. If you are a student at Lansing Community College in Lansing Michigan, about 10% of the student body received no financial aid and were supposed to receive financial aid but due to a glitch in the schools financial aid software, they have had a huge short fall of financial aid. LCC has been trying to implement this $2.5 million Oracle software package over the last two years, the school has set up an emergency no interest loan for students as an emergency program to get students some aid until system gets back online and gets things tuned up. Unfortunate occurrences there at the Lansing Community College, hopefully they will get that straightened out if not they will hopefully get some other measures, maybe going back to paper and pencil, who knows. Yesterday the House of Representatives passed a three month extension of the Higher Education Act; the Act is currently under review at both the House and the Senate and was sent to expire at the end of September, had it expired no more Federal Financial Aid which would have very bad. The House passed the legislation which is basically just extends the existing Higher Education Acts. There are no changes to it; it is basically just extending the deadline out to December. Hopefully the vote on the Higher Education Act Reauthorization will have gone through. In other brief news around the world; Australia discovers erroneously revoked Visa's of 8,000 foreign students that would fall in the category of "whoops."

England has announced that it's going to give the SAT's a try. While some schools here like Drew University in the United States, actually dropping SAT's and ACT scores as conditions for admission. Looks like England is going the opposite direction moving towards standardized testing, so we shall see in another country implements it and see if it is as effective or ineffective based on your personal perspective. As I've just mentioned Drew University is dropping the ACT and the SAT scores admission officials have said that high school grades were a better way to judge applicants than the ACT or SAT. One thing that is important that we kind of covered briefly and has been talked about a lot is that standardized testing is extremely poor indicator of how successful a student will be in college and then how successful that student will be once they've left college. Most colleges, at least it's the general kind of idea is to try and get high caliber students as possible; again getting those high caliber students raises the prestige of your school by having more accomplishments and things and getting your school in the press more and at least in favorable like, and then once the student has graduated the more successful the student is the more likely it is that they will contribute as an alumni. Either with time or money, most schools obviously push quite a bit for money, but basically trying to get the best students that they can. If you have ever read-this is a very good book, "Freakonomics," by Steven Dubner-I can't remember the other author's name, but it's a book called "Freakonomics," it's a very interesting look at how numbers affect our daily lives and how economic principles can be applied to non-economic matters. One thing that was covered in the book was just how poor a predictor of success standardized testing scores are. Standardized tests really don't test your ability to collaboratly problem solve, they don't test your ability to think outside the box because the test is of course entirely within the box, and as result allows schools in the past have questioned their value and now it appears that some schools are actually moving away from that trying to figure out how to figure out what's going on in terms of success rates of students. Malcolm Gladwell, who I have mentioned a number of times, wrote the excellent article on his website at www.gladwell.com also about college admissions and how it's almost futile to predict or to try to predict the success of a student in college and after college. At least in Canada the way the system works, it's just sort of a lottery. You basically pick top two or three schools in Canada that you want to attend and the government has a lottery and you will get one of your choices which ever it may be. That is the news plus a little bit of standardized testing information. Let's move on to some Podsafe music, we are going to start off the day today, let's see we've got so much to choose from; let's start off with "Buried," by Interfrequency, new Podsafe Music Network.

(music)

New Podsafe music from Interfrequency that was "Buried," via the Podsafe Music Network. Go ahead and check out this stuff, I believe that they are in iTunes so check them out as well there. All right let's do a scholarship update. Today's scholarship update is a new keyword phrase for the scholarship search, if you haven't downloaded the Scholarship Searching Secrets Guide from the RSS feed, I strongly encourage you to do so. You must be subscribed to the show via RSS feed, there are directions on our website at www.financialaidpodcast.com for how to subscribe to the RSS feed. It's really quite simple you download iTunes, you install it, and then you copy and paste the URL that is on the website, www.feedburner.com/studentfinancialaidnews into the iTunes software and you will have the RSS feed that way you will get every new show as its released, or very shortly after it's released, plus the Scholarships Searching Secrets Guide. The tips and techniques in that guide will serve you very well in terms of find scholarships especially online using free tools so that you don't have to shell out money for a paid service. Again, like I said in the past there is nothing wrong with paying scholarship services as long as you know what the terms are and how it works. We at the Student Loan Network have a scholarship searching service called the Financial Aid Office Premium Scholarship Search, 2.4, 2.5 million awards worth about an aggregate; about $15 billion give or take. If you want to check out that service it starts at $29.95 a year that is access to the database, one important thing about scholarships search services is that you need to be aware of anyone who guarantees you a scholarship, there are no guarantees. There is a high likelihood that if you apply for all 2.5 million awards you would probably get something but there is no guarantee what so ever. Anyone who says that they will guarantee you a scholarship is not telling the truth. The premium scholarship search service at www.gotscholarships.com but the free guide which will probably do almost as well, it will just take your time to research it the scholarships yourself instead of having researchers do it for you, is in the RSS feed the Scholarships Search Secrets Guide, the 10 page PDF you will really enjoy it and I hope find it useful. Today's keyword plugs directly into that and the keyword phrase is "scholarship deadline." One thing about when you search for scholarships in a free search engine, if you just go with a generic scholarship or scholarships you are going to get a lot of paid services. You won't get quite as targeted results in what you are looking for, so you want to add the word deadline to your search query and the reason for doing this is that you will actually bring up a lot of the specific application pages for scholarships. You can find out the eligibility and the rules for them; tie that into any of the other search terms that you are using say if you are a Boston University student, you would type in Boston University scholarship deadline here and now you would see very targeted results for a whole bunch of different scholarships like the Dean Ellesbeth Mellsville Scholarship and let's see what this one is, deadline is in February it looks like and it has information about the award, $1,000 or so but this is a great way to find those scholarships you are looking for, so make sure you add in the word deadline to your scholarship search service and that is today's scholarship update. Incidentally I would remised if I did not give actually give you the URL for our paid services at www.gotscholarships.com and you can sign up for the paid service, at $29.99 starting at when you access to the data base. All right, let's do some more Podsafe music, we are going to do Sarah Blacker with "Miles Away."

(music)

Great new Podsafe music from Sarah Blacker, in spite of the intro acoustic guitar piece on that song which reminded me vaguely of Michelle Branch song, "Good-bye to You," the acoustic version. Clearly the influences are there, it could just be coincidental but still darn good piece of music. All right it is time for the mail call, let's hit the spam bucket. Every now and then I think I should actually read some of the spam just because some of it is pretty darn funny but it's also very, very off and not safe work the things that they are advertising. Here is one that is funny and I am going to toss it in just for fun. I am obviously am not going to buy it and would suggest that anybody else who wants to help quash the endless flow of spam, also avoid buying or being a part of anything that is advertised in that method. Someone is advertising $100 worth of ice cream for a participation in an ice cream survey. What's interesting about that is it's weird because most of the time people who are advertising you know Viagra, or stock market stuff and things like that-ice cream is kind of new so again, still wouldn't buy it because I don't approve of spam as a marketing method, I thinks it's pretty annoying and it's still pretty funny; ice cream.

One other question which came in yesterday via the phones, somebody wanted to know the origin of the Stafford Loan program name, not how to get one but actually what it was and it turns out that program was originally was called the GSL program, the Guaranteed Student Loan program that has since been in 1992 is re-named the Stafford Loan program after a Senator from Vermont. There is the trivia today. Amy Leonard writes in to say, I want to know how to pay off my student loan, please let me know how to get a pay-off statement and what else needs to be done. The easiest thing to do is to figure out, first of all who your lender is and generally speaking it's the company that you get bills from. If you don't get bills yet, you will; but the easiest way to figure out how to make payments is to actually go into the National Student Loan Database System, NSLDS we call it and look up your loans, look up your social security number and you will see everything that you owe and who you owe it too. From there contact your lender. If you are looking just to make payments and not actually a payoff a full disbursement of your of your loan, then you may want to look at student loans consolidations means lowering your monthly payment and you can do that at www.studentloanconsolidator.com. If you just want to pay the whole thing off and get it out of the way, check with your existing lender that is the best way to do that.

Brian Edward Wisdom writes in, my financial office will not give me any information unless I bring in paperwork, I've not received any paperwork to take to them, please let me know what to do. That is an unusual situation. If you haven't received any paperwork, have you applied for your FAFSA? Because one of the pieces of paperwork that comes back is SAR and that goes to both you and your schools financial aid office and you can apply online for that for free at www.FAFSAonline.com that's one possible thing that they are looking for. Another possible thing that they are looking for is an actual loan application so if you are looking for a Stafford Loan as Brian is here because you wrote into the Stafford Loan mail box then you can download a paper application or just apply online and receive one in the mail, just by going to www.staffordloan.com.

The last one today is a similar one Elaine McMann asks I took out a Stafford Loan to pay for my schooling last year. This year I decided to take a semester off but plan to attend next semester, and know that it is my responsibility to pay for this loan while I'm not in school but I don't know how to go about doing that. There is two things here, your loan will enter into repayment if you are out for more than six months but what happens is you actually go into your grace period six months from the day you drop below half time enrollment or the day you stop attending school, six months after that date, your repayment period begins. So if you go back to school before your grace period ends, you will apply to what's called the in grace deferment and your loans will be deferred, so you may not have to make any payments until you are done with school. If you take more than six months off then yes, you are going to be in repayment and you would make payments to your lender and they will send you the paperwork about who to make payments for. If you are working with your Student Loan Network then we will send you payment booklets in the mail along with information about your loan. If you are going to be taking just a semester off, then your grace period will still-you will use some of it, which means that when you finally do finish school you will have less of a grace period at the end to use, but you can certainly do that; otherwise you certainly make payments and if you are out for longer than that or you automatically kick your loans into repayment and waive your grace period. Which I would not recommend doing, then you would get your coupon booklets in the mail. That is the mail bag for today. Let's us finish off today with one more piece of Podsafe music.

(music)

New Podsafe music today from Holland Steel "Between the Lines," via Podsafe Music Network. You can check them out at www.podsafemusicnetwork.com and I believe in them for iTunes, in iTunes music store as well. All right that is going to do it for today's show, check out the show notes at www.financialaidnews.com/blog or just visit our home page www.financialaidpodcast.com and look for the show notes near the top, if you like today's show, great tell a friend and help two friends get subscribed to it, directions for subscribing are on the website as well. If your friends aren't real clear what a podcast is you will notice a PDF in the RSS feed, it says, What is a Podcast, one-pager, easy to print out, easy to share with friends, let people know about podcasting not just about this podcast but a lot of podcasts, really a ton of great podcasts out there. There is Accident Hash which is great music show, the Daily Source Code, Podcast 411, Skepticality a whole ton of podcasts that are just great listening on your commute, whether you commuting to school or to work, or you are just kind of chilling in your dorm room, or at home, whatever it is, whatever the case maybe, there is a podcast for you, almost certainly. Other wise, stay tuned, stay subscribed, if you are not subscribed get subscribed otherwise the free goodies will not make it their way to you and we'll see you tomorrow, take care.

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