Financing your education? Be sure to do your research

Hitting the books is expensive. Make sure you get as much help as you can.

Before applying for loans, make sure you check into grants, scholarships and financial aid.  Also check in with employers’ HR.  Numerous federal, state programs are out there for prospective students  Keep all options on the table as you search for savings.

Pursue grants and scholarships
The big advantage of scholarships and grants is that you don’t have to pay back the money — it’s given outright. Some scholarships are for tuition only, others cover related expenses like books, housing and so forth. There are three main groups that give scholarships and grants.

 The federal government and state governments have numerous programs, most of them based on the student’s financial need. The best known of these is the federal Pell Grant, given to undergraduate students. Another area of government aid is for people from community service programs like Americorps, or from the military.

Individual schools usually have grants for their own students. These are somewhat more common in private universities with large endowments, but may be available at public universities as well — for instance, grants for students who transfer from a community college.

Don’t rule out financial aid
Don’t assume that you make too much money to be eligible for financial aid.

 Although the financial aid staff looks at your household income, they also look at your circumstances — such as the size of your household. Make sure the school has all relevant information at the time of your application. For instance, tell them if you have unusual medical expenses, either as a one-time situation or on an ongoing basis.

Once the financial aid office has made an offer, if you think they’re expecting too much as your contribution, you can ask for a reevaluation.

In addition, if your circumstances change — even in the middle of a school year — let the financial aid office know right away. If you (or your spouse or parent) lose your job, for instance, that will obviously have a huge impact on your ability to pay your share.

File your FAFSA

If you haven’t already done so, file your taxes as soon as possible. You’ll need information from your tax return to fill out a FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the form you use to apply for all financial aid, not just federal but state and school-specific. You can find the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

The due date to be considered for federal financial aid is June 30. The deadline in Pennsylvania is May 1, except for some two-year programs, which have an August 1 deadline. In New Jersey, the deadline is June 1.

Check in with your employer
Many companies and unions offer tuition assistance.  Some plans assist not only the employee, but his or her spouse or children. Others cover only the employee, and sometimes only cover courses that the employee takes to improve his or her job skills.

Check with the human resources department to find out:
   
Who is covered
What courses, programs and schools are eligible
What the financial arrangements are (does the company pay the school directly, or do you have to pay tuition and fees up front, getting reimbursed after the term?)
Other terms and limitations (does the student have to achieve a certain minimum grade?)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…