Posted On: 2005-10-10
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Hi, this is R&B Pop Recording artist, Natalie Brown and you're listening to the Financial Aid Podcast. Good morning, it is Monday, October 10, 2005. It is Columbus Day here in the United States but I am at the office anyway because I'm going to be out next Monday for some family stuff. So next Monday, of course, will be a New Music Monday on the Financial Aid Podcast so be sure to stay tuned for that. I want to special thanks to Natalie Brown, the singer, for that wonderful audio intro that she recorded. A completely unsolicited recording I might add. So, thank you to Natalie for that.
It is Columbus Day as my friend Joe Anderson would say, Extermination of Indigenous People's Day. So, I thought I'd cover a little bit of trivia about Christopher Columbus. It's very interesting, in fact, if you don't already use it, check out Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that has a ton of information. Some of it a little dodgy because anyone can edit it. Anyone can write in it, but as a resource overall it is a very good one. Among other things about Christopher Columbus and the legends about him, for one thing, the idea that the earth was flat was a literary myth created by Washington Irving. Columbus did not encounter opposition because he thought the earth was flat. He encountered opposition because he thought the earth was much, much smaller than it actually was. The debate was not that he's sail off a cliff, it was whether or not he could circumnavigate the earth without running out of food or getting stuck in windless regions. And there are windless regions. There's a section of the earth called the Sargasso Sea, which is square in the middle of an area that superstitious people like to call the Bermuda Triangle. The Sargasso sea, for whatever reason, is kind of like being in the middle of a hurricane where you have all these winds going around it but in the center it's really, really calm. That's just the way it's set up. So if you were completely dependant on wind power and had not back-ups whatsoever, not even ores or motors or anything like that, then the Sargasso Sea could be a very bad place to end up. Columbus was not the first European to reach the Americas. Leaf Erickson, in the 11th century, set up a very, very short-lived colony at L'Anse aux Meadows. There's also a whole bunch of other people who have almost certainly made it here. And finally, America was not named after Columbus for one reason. He thought he had discovered India and actually never made it to the American continents. America is actually named after the Italian Explorer, Amerigo Vespucci who reched, what is now the coast of Brazil in 1501 and his name was applied to all the maps that we have by a cartographer Martin Waldseemüller and of course Amerigo Vespucci, America, South America as we know it now, but North America as well. The article in Wikipedia is very good. I highly recommend that you read it. It has a lot of good history in it. I'll put a link to it in the show notes which of course are at www.financialaidpodcast.com. When you have holiday's like that it's a good idea to check it out. With that, let's move right onto the news.
Topping the news today, an article in the Boston Herald talking about not hurting yourself when seeking college aid. Apparently, the article points out that a lot of parents do harmful things to themselves such as pulling money out of retirement, changing their retirement plan, taking larger mortgages and things like that. All things that are perceived to help you qualify for more financial aid and actually that is not the case. That point of the article is very good. The article has a few things that are not so good. One point that they make is that the Stafford and Plus loans all family's are eligible for no matter what their income level. That's kind of sort of true but not. Stafford loans are governed by the eligibility on the FAFSA; especially the subsidized component. The unsubsidized component is not based on- you have to be declined for the Plus loan in order to get the unsubsidized Stafford loan. So, the Plus Loan, of course, is a credit-based loan. If you want more information on either the Stafford or Plus loan, check out our website at www.stafordloan.com and www.parentplusloan.com. The other point in the article I'm not real fond about. It says, "Remember that the majority if not all financial aid a family qualifies for will likely come in the form of a loan or loans rather than grants or scholarships." Well, we've talked about that a lot and the reality is, if you don't do anything than yes, obviously you'll be forced to take out loans. But, if you are an active, aggressive, out-there scholarship hunter, then the majority of your financial aid may come from scholarships. But, you have to be willing to put the time in, you have to be willing to put the effort in. If you do, then the loans are probably going to be very small or the strategy I like to recommend to people is that student loans are very, very short-term loans. They are the loans that help pay the bills while you are hunting for scholarships. So what you do is, if you're already in school or just about to start school, you take out student loans as a way to bridge the gap between the bills and the money you expect to take in from scholarships. Take out these student loans and then you work your butt off finding scholarships. Scholarships! Scholarships! Scholarships! You take as many as you can get and you take the proceeds from the scholarships and apply them to your tuition and you also apply them to your loan balances to knock those down as fast as possible. The article is, I guess, acknowledging the fact the most students don't actively hunt for scholarships and they wait for someone to find them. But I know that Financial Aid Podcast listeners are very motivated students, very aggressive students and families who want to make education affordable. So, I know you're out there hunting for scholarships. Don't let articles like this shake your resolve. Keep hunting for those scholarships. Keep hunting for other people's money that you don't have to pay back. So that's that article.
A brief note for the parents, according to his, if you are a parent of a new born or a baby less than a year old, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents no longer allow their babies to sleep, not only on their stomachs, but no longer on their sides now, in an attempt to reduce the rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Also new - offering pacifiers. It's not clear why pacifiers protect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but apparently using a pacifier with a baby cuts down on that risk as well. So, something new there as well. Not to much else in the Higher Ed news but it is a Monday, sot it's going to be a slow day. There were a couple of funny things. There was one thing here. Federal Grand Jury in Washington Sate indicted eight individuals on charges for conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with what authorities call diploma mills that operate under the name St. Regis University, Roberts Town University, and James Monroe University. If you have a diploma from any of these institutions you might want to check that out. You may need to actually go and get a diploma from an accredited institution that is being actively pursued by the Federal Government for fraud.
Let's kick off a cold and foggy Monday, first with a promo for CC Chapmen's U-Turn Café and then we'll hear some Podsafe Music. C.C. Chapman, if you don't listen to the show I highly recommend it. It's a great mix of Podsafe Music. It's a lot of fun to listen to. It's got all kinds of really good music that you probably wouldn't expect to hear in podcasts. You'd hear some things that you'd swear would be hits if they were on terrestrial radio. But in a lot of ways we're glad that they're not because otherwise you wouldn't hear them on podcasts. I'm sure for the artists it would be nice if they hit it big and I certainly encourage anyone who listens to Podsafe Music to buy the songs from the artist. Enough of my ranting. Here's C.C.'s promo followed by some Podsafe Music
New Podsafe music from Natalie Brown. Of course I'm going to play some music from Natalie Brown. She did that really nice intro for us. That was, You Got to Believe. You can check out her website at www.natalie-brown.com.
Alright, let's tap into the mailbag. I got some mail over the weekend. First question is from Tom Strutt who says, "I got a MEFA loan and didn't realize that repayment starts in February. Can I apply for a different type of loan and pay this one off?" For those of you who don't know MEFA loans are Massachusetts Education Financial Aid Loans are private student loans. Private student loans, obviously, can not be consolidated with federal student loans. One of the reasons for that is that all federal student loans are guaranteed by the U.S. government. Private loans are guaranteed by various banks and intuitions so they are very different in terms of their structure. They have different interest rates and everything. Can you consolidate that? Yes you can. There's two different ways you can do that. If you are still enrolled in the school, or if you have a past due balance of $30,000 or less, you can get an ACT Education Loan to pay off that loan; or if you see yourself going back to soon fairly soon. If you're not, if you want to do private student loan consolidation you can also do that as well. That is similar to federal student loan consolidation which is you can stretch out the repayment period to 10 years, 20 years, if you have less than $40,000. If you have more than $40,000 you can stretch it up to 25 years. The repayments, of course, are variable rates based on the primary, the Wall Street Journal primary. The reason that they are variable interest rates is because, again, all private student loans are backed by individual financial institutions and so they can not have the same assurances that the market is going to behave the same way as the federal government can. The government, of course, owns all he money. Private loans, and private loan institutions do not. You can find out more information and apply for a private loan consolidation at our website www.studentloanconsolidator.com. That's the best way to take care of that.
Also, someone was asking if I've every done a piece on tax scholarships. John Pierson asks to do about a piece on tax scholarships. It's a name adopted by the members of the college planning committee to make optimum usage of the tax code including tax incentives. We've covered that to a greater or lesser degree when we talk about the FAFSA and basically ways of reducing your Adjusted Gross Income. To look at this at greater depth, I'm sure we could take a closer look at the tax code. Maybe as we get closer to January we will because of course the FAFSA. Definitely check out www.fafsa.com or www.fafsa.net. Both of those websites contain information about different ways to reduce your financial profile really so that you appear to have less money than you really do and then of course you qualify for additional financial aid. So take a look at those websites and as we get closer to January we'll obviously take a more detailed look into this area. It's important. You want to qualify for as much aid as possible.
Ok. Let's take another piece of Podsafe Music. I think we're going to do one last a piece from the Portuguese/Brazilian artist, Angel Errado
Great new Podsafe Music from Monik.
Alright, let's talk a little bit about a scholarship. Today's scholarship will be the Embry Riddle Pathfinder Award Pathfinder Scholarship; future pathfinder scholarship for the Embry Riddle students from the state of Washington. According to the university press release, Embry Riddle will establish five annual scholarships to high school seniors based on individual academic achievement and leadership qualities. The scholarships are valued at $20,000 each based on a four year academic program at $5000 a year. Eventually the program is expected to grow to 20 Future Pathfinder Scholarships annually. The scholarships will be given to Washington students enrolling in a full-time undergraduate program at either of Embry Riddle's two locations in Prescott, Arizona or Daytona Beach, Florida. The scholarship will be renewed annually as long as the student remains full-time and maintains a GPA of 3.0 or greater. Selection will be based on information submitted on a student's application as well as a separate scholarship application essay. Future Pathfinder Scholarship recipients will be recognized annually with Museum of Flight Pathfinder honorees at the Pathfinder Awards Gala. You can submit your application at www.erau.edu or www.museumofflight.org and of course I'll put links to this in the show notes. So, Embry Riddle Aeronautic University Future Pathfinder Scholarship is today's scholarship update.
Alright, let's finish out today's show with one more piece of Podsafe Music. Let's celebrate the end of summer with Brother Love's, Summer Time.
(Music) That is a great piece of Podsafe Music and a great way to end the summer. So, that is going to do it for today's show. As always, if you have comments, questions, recommendations, suggestions, criticism or dirty jokes, all that's welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any audio feedback you can also send me an MP3 file at that address. I'll be more than happy to play it if it's appropriate. If you're not subscribed, get subscribed. It's very easy; www.financialaidpodcast.com. You'll also find today's show notes there with links to everything we discussed. Until next time, see you soon. Take care.