Credit: what is it and why should you care?

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Educating yourself on the basics of what credit is and how it affects you is key to making wise economic decisions.

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Decoding Financial Aid

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As you begin the process of applying to college, you will notice that college and university financial offices tend to have a vocabulary all their own.  Don’t panic!  It is completely normal and to be expected, so don’t be intimidated and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for clarification if at any point you feel confused. 

Acronyms in particular tend to be intimidating.  Seeing a string of capital letters popping out at you from the page can make you wonder if you’re actually reading English!  Don’t let it shake you!  Very often, once you know what words the letters represent, the meaning becomes clear without any further explanation.  Think of them as the text abbreviations of the financial aid world.  Most young people recognize acronyms like LOL, TBT, TBH, etc., because these are used often in everyday messaging.  If you take the time to familiarize yourself with a few basic financial acronyms, the mystery of it all will disappear and you’ll feel much more confident when it comes time to discuss your options with your school’s financial advisor.

Three very common acronyms that are used when discussing the financial side of college life are FAFSA, COA, and EFC.  You may have already come across these since they are frequently mentioned during the admission process.

 

FAFSA = Free Application for Federal Student Aid

This is a form that enables you to determine how much financial aid you can receive from the federal government*.  The form can be completed entirely online from the comfort of your own home by visiting fafsa.ed.gov or you can check out their app: myStudentAid. You will need to have some documents handy in order to complete this form – go ahead and view the list here so you know what to expect.

(By the way, any NEW student at TBC who completes and submits their FAFSA by November 1, 2018 is eligible for a $500 scholarship!  If this applies to you – don’t miss out!)

 

COA = Cost of Attendance

Your cost of attendance includes direct education expenses (tuition, fees, etc.) at your college of choice plus estimates for indirect expenses associated with your college education.  Financial aid offices develop COAs by student classification: campus resident students, commuter students, etc.  All students in a certain classification will have the same COA.

Typically, your COA will include:

  • Tuition
  • Miscellaneous fees (registration fee, graduation fee, etc.)
  • Meal plans/food
  • Housing costs
  • Textbooks
  • School supplies (computer, printer, materials for projects, etc)
  • Transportation

 

EFC = Expected Family Contribution

The EFC is a measure of how much the student and his or her family can be expected to contribute toward the student’s COA for a given academic year. Each school’s financial aid office uses your EFC to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school.  Your Federal Student Aid eligibility should be the same at all schools.

If you would like to dig a little deeper into how your EFC is calculated, you can learn more here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/next-steps/how-calculated

We hope this helps as you move forward in your college search and application adventure.  We wish you all the best!  Please do not hesitate to contact us at Trinity Baptist College if you have any questions we can help answer.  You can email us at financialaid@tbc.edu or call us at 904-596-2451.

 

*and under which category your eligibility falls: need-based or non-need-based.

What does a budget do? {Or: How to eat churros instead of gas money.}

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Budgeting.  What emotion do you associate with that word?  Boredom?  Fear?  Stress?

It should make you feel secure.  In control.  Confident, even.

There is a misconception floating around that budgets are restrictive.  That they zap all the joy out of life and limit your dreams.  That they make you give up your churro addiction. Continue reading

What’s the difference between grants and scholarships?

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Are grants and scholarships two different ways to say the same thing?  Or are they actually different?

This is a question that may be rolling around in your mind as you look ahead to your college search.  The world of financial aid can sometimes sound confusing and intimidating.  The truth is that minimal research on your part can answer most of your questions.  Financial aid advisers are there to help with the rest!  So, when you do get that far in your college search, be sure to take advantage of the advice that they have to offer! Continue reading

Three ways to maximize your study sessions.

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At this point in your life you are very familiar with classwork, exams, and, of course, studying.  If you’re in college, no doubt you are studying.  At least a little!  The question is, are you studying effectively?  Continue reading

Dealing With Goodbye

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People get weird when it’s time to say goodbye.  Especially when it is a long-term goodbye.  Yes, even adults.

Maybe you can identify yourself in one of the following examples:

  • You get hyper and say ridiculous things that are completely immature or flat out make no sense. But you continue to jabber on and on and on, following no particular train of thought, anxious to plow through becauseyoucan’thandlethestressandwantitobeoveralready.
  • You get super sensitive and cry about every look, feeling, or slight inconvenience.  Why did she look at me like that?  *sniff*  He really said that?  *tear trickles down cheek*   Why won’t this suitcase just zip up already?  *full-on river of tears floods face*
  • You go waaaaaay off the charts in the opposite direction and distance yourself emotionally. Your stoic expression rivals George Washington’s likeness on the one dollar bill.

What is it about saying goodbye that throws people into a tailspin?  It’s like we morph into overgrown toddlers hiding behind our parents on the first day of preschool.  Here’s the good news: getting weird about goodbyes is actually pretty normal.

The simple answer?  Goodbyes are hard.  You cope by pulling out whatever internal armor you have at your disposal.  And while that might get you through the moment, it may cause you to miss out on the positives to be found in the circumstances or, worse, cause the goodbye to end on a negative note.

As you approach THE goodbye that is dropping off your child at college, you may be wondering how you will handle the scenario.  In your mind’s eye this young adult is still eight years old and needs help combing his/her hair.  (There are so many moving parts, memories, mixed feelings, and uncertainties about this transition that it is easy to dwell on the negatives and become overwhelmed.)  Instead, try to focus on the positives!

If you need some help coming up with those positives, maybe these will help get you started:

  • The simple fact that they have reached this milestone means they are growing, learning, and taking strides toward adulthood.
  • They are here largely because of YOU and your support, guidance, and advice.
  • Hopefully, this season of their life will help them continue to mature and impact the world around them in amazing ways.
  • They are confident enough to take this step and venture out on their own.
  • ______________________ (Your turn! Fill in the blank!)

Here’s to a successful shift from high school to college… make it memorable! (In a positive way!)

Keyboard shortcuts every college student should know

We humans are funny.  No matter how easy something is, we are always looking for a shortcut.  This could stem from a genuine desire to be as effective as possible… but then again, it could come from laziness.  You may have heard the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  But swapping the word “necessity” for “laziness” sounds more accurate. Continue reading