November 11, 2014
Federal Work-Study is a program that provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate college students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses.
How does it work?
You apply for work-study just like you do all other forms of financial aid: by filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your financial need usually determines the amount of work-study you are eligible for.
You find work-study jobs through job banks or postings by the financial aid or college employment offices. In most cases, students will have the opportunity to interview with potential work-study employers. The interviews help students and employers find out if the job is a good fit. Sometimes the college arranges these interviews; sometimes the student does. Even if you are eligible for work-study, there is no guarantee you’ll get a work-study job. In the end, whether or not you are hired is up to the employer.
What kinds of jobs are available?
If you get a work-study job on campus, the college will usually be your employer. Typical jobs include working in the library or bookstore, serving other students in the dining hall, and assisting with college events. Off-campus work usually benefits the public in some way and should relate as closely as possible to your course of study.
How can work be considered financial aid?
Sometimes it’s difficult to see how working part-time during college could be considered “financial aid.” Keep in mind that the money you make from a work-study job does not need to be repaid, nor does it count against you when you apply for aid the following year. Plus, the smooth hiring process, flexible hours, choice and availability of jobs, and preset salaries of a typical work-study program usually make finding a work-study job easier than finding work on your own.
Work-Study can be an important benefit, with advantages over other types of jobs. Contact colleges to obtain details about their programs. The federal student aid site is a good source of information:
Federal Work-Study jobs help students earn money to pay for college or career school.
September 15, 2014
Which top colleges are most welcoming to low-income students? The Upshot used the percentage of students receiving Pell grants along with net price of attendance for low- and middle-income families to find the most economically diverse top colleges.
Most Economically Diverse
St. Mary’s (Ind.)
The biggest theme to emerge from our analysis is that otherwise similar colleges often have very different levels of commitment to economic diversity….
Similarly, by looking at schools on the list like Barnard and U.N.C.-Chapel Hill, it’s clear that otherwise dissimilar colleges show similar economic diversity.
How many low-income students actually graduate?
An additional data point that would be informative is the graduation rates for Pell grant recipients at these schools. That’s a significant measure of how well a college serves its low-income students.
Low-income families can look at these lists and search out other information to help them understand how welcoming a particular college would be for their child. Schools that partner with the Posse Foundation, a support program for that enjoys a 90% graduation rate for its participants, should be considered.
David Leonhardt, “Top Colleges That Enroll Rich, Middle Class and Poor, New York Times, Sept. 8, 2014.
September 9, 2014
The bottom quarter of earners with a college degree don’t make more money than the average high school graduate. And this hasn’t really changed much in 40 years.
This chart may explain why “college isn’t for everyone”, but additional considerations are important.
… First, we don’t know for sure how much money this bottom quarter of degree-holding earners would have made without their college education. Furthermore, much of this could boil down to career choice: there are many jobs that require a degree but don’t pay very well. If someone earns a degree for reasons beyond making more money, it could be that the upfront investment is worthwhile regardless.
“On ‘average’, it’s still worth going to college”, but be careful about making personal decisions on the “average” case.
Here’s some good advice:
In the meantime, students who are unsure of what they want to study or do are probably best advised to be very cost-conscious when choosing a college, and to be unafraid to wait until they are sure how they will use their degree before they start to pursue one.
Chris Matthews, “Why college isn’t for everyone, explained in a single chart”, Fortune, September 5, 2014.
August 18, 2014
How do you know if a particular college is likely to offer you a discount on their tuition price? Before you even apply, you can get an estimate by running your specific profile data through a Net Price Calculator (NPC), a tool that can be found on every college’s website.
Forbes ran a Net Price Calculation for five schools using several hypothetical scenarios. The results show discount rates (financial aid) that would be awarded given specified parameters.
… two types of students, one from a family with an annual income of $300,000 and another from a single-earner family making a mere $12,000 a year. We tested two different academic scenarios: a supersmart kid scoring 1540 on his SAT, with a 4.0 GPA and in the top 10% of his class, and a “B” student scoring 1250 on the SAT, with a GPA of 3.0 and in the top 50% of her graduating class.
The biggest surprise is that RPI gives more financial aid to English majors than to engineering students.
As you can see all the top institutions except well-endowed Amherst offer discounts or “merit” aid. Only Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) differentiates its aid on its calculator by the student’s intended major as well as by income and ability. RPI clearly wants more poets and is willing to pay for them. President Nixon’s alma mater, Whittier College in southern California, clearly isn’t eager to attract lower-income students. In our test it offered an additional grant of only $1,334 to the low-income overachiever. Even after its ample discount, the needy student’s family still has to come up with half the cost of attendance.
This illustration is a reminder that a Net Price Calculator can help guide your college search.
Lucie Lapovsky, “What’s Your Tuition Discount?”, Forbes, 7/30/2014.
August 14, 2014
Julie at the Family CEO has some wise words of advice for parents who are shopping for a college freshman going away to school.
1. Err on the side of less. Let them live at school for a while and figure out what they need.
2. Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons. Save them all (they accept expired coupons) and let the cashier help you figure out the best ones to use.
I wholeheartedly agree, based on my limited experience sending one child away to dorm life.
We went shopping at the crowded Bed, Bath, & Beyond store closest to my son’s campus the day before he moved into his dorm room for the first time. Among the other shoppers, I found I could tell which families had daughters and which ones had sons even before I saw the students who were accompanying their parents. A shopping cart overflowing with color-coordinated supplies invariably belonged to a girl, while the boys’ carts held fewer items with seemingly little color coordination.
Here’s Julie’s exchange with her son:
Reason #458 why boys are different to raise than girls:
Me: Do you want this laundry bag of Lindsey’s? We bought it for her when she went to college.
Grant: Why do I need a laundry bag?
Me: To carry your clothes back and forth when you do laundry at school.
Grant: I figured I’d just use a trash bag or something.
That sounds very similar to conversations I had with my son. It’s not uncommon for female college roommates to coordinate the decor of their shared space well in advance of move-in day. I’ve never heard of boys doing this. If boys agree that one of them will bring the fridge and the other will supply the rug,, neither is likely to ask about their room’s color scheme. In fact, they’ll probably not even think about a rug unless mom suggests it.