April 15, 2015
Say good-bye to your tax refund if you have past-due student loans.
In most cases, creditors are unable to touch tax refunds. Not so with student loans.
While credit card companies and other private debt collectors are barred from garnishing money coming to taxpayers from Uncle Sam, some federal and state creditors can help themselves to tax refunds via a process known as ‘offsetting.’ Under the Treasury Offset Program, these entities get a whack at your tax refund if you have an outstanding debt in certain categories, including:
- past-due child support payments
- back taxes
- any unemployment compensation owed to the state
- past-due student loans
This is another reason to pay your student loans on time, or better yet, make sure you only take on as much debt as you can afford to pay back.
April 13, 2015
While most colleges that use the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE do include the value of your home in calculating eligibility for financial aid, there are some exceptions.
PROFILE Schools That Ignore Home Equity*
- Bard College
- Bucknell University
- California Institute of Technology
- DePauw University
- Hamilton College
- Harvard University
- Princeton University
- Santa Clara University
- University of Virginia
- Washington University, St. Louis
- Whitman College
*This list was compiled last year, and changes may have occurred since then.
Additional information about how other PROFILE schools treat home equity can be found by clicking the link above.
- Schools that only use the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine eligibility for financial aid do not use home equity in the calculation.
- Schools that use the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE to determine eligibility usually use home equity in the calculation, but often the amount is capped as a percentage of a family’s income.
Running the Net Price Price calculator for a particular college will usually show if home equity is counted, but the best way to be sure is to ask the school.
Schools can be flexible in awarding financial aid, and Lynn O’Shaughnessy reminds us of this important point:
By the way, how schools treat home equity can also depend on how desirable an applicant is.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy, “Will Your Home Equity Hurt Financial Aid Chances?”, The College Solution, August 7, 2014.
March 10, 2015
High school history teacher Kate LeSueur wrote that she wishes to “enlighten” us “on the discrepancy between the price of my education and the salary of an altruistic career such that of an educator”.
She compared a master’s in education with a master’s of business administration, pointing out that individuals with MBA degrees typically enjoy substantially higher salaries and lower student debt levels.
Why is it that we both went to school for the same amount of time and both earned master’s, yet my degree costs more and I get paid significantly less? I am not arguing that I deserve $90,000 a year — only that the cost of my education should be comparable to my salary. Society expects us to accept a fate guaranteeing small paychecks and large student loan bills. I am writing to say, America, we aren’t going to accept it much longer.
I find it hard to accept the rather sweeping statement that teaching is an altruistic career. Although teacher unions have long maintained the message that all their efforts are “for the children”, I don’t buy it. I’m not claiming that teaching is rampant with evil, money-hungry people, but neither are most other professions. A typical MBA working to keep his employer profitable is no less deserving of special adoration than is a typical teacher. And many people who earn generous salaries show their altruism in other ways, such as donating their time and money to worthy causes.
Furthermore, it’s troubling when the government gets in the business of deciding which jobs deserve special treatment, like the most generous Income Based Repayment benefits that are reserved for government and nonprofit employees. George Leef points out the consequences of this politicized meddling.
… Whenever the government gets involved in an activity that is not properly any of its business, we get the infamous trio: waste, fraud, abuse, and then the politicians feel the need to meddle still more in an effort to solve the problems they’ve created. The federal student-aid programs are a perfect illustration. Repayment of loans is being politicized, with easy terms for students provided they make the “right” choices in employment. That will only further misallocate resources and help to keep the higher-education bubble inflated.
Kate LeSueur, “The price of a good education, $80K and counting”, cleveland.com, March 01, 2015.