Don’t rule out private colleges

7 Nov

A former student of mine is now attending Dominican University of California in San Rafael on an athletics/academics scholarship that provides full tuition.

While the window of application opportunity may be closing by the end of this month for some public universities, most private universities are still accepting applications. There are many advantages to attending a private college:

  • Smaller class size
  • Opportunity to get to know your professors better
  • Better chance of getting the classes you need
  • Greater likelihood of being able to design a major of your own
  • Higher chance of graduating in four years — in fact, some four-year private universities guarantee this
  • And even though the tuition costs are significantly higher than those of public universities, often the private colleges have huge endowments from their alumni, so that you can get large scholarships and university grants. Because you can most likely graduate in four years (if you don’t mess around!), the overall cost may be the same as that for a four-year college. The oldest of our four children attended Biola University in southern California. There she got a leadership scholarship, was able to live in the dorm for as many years as she wanted, made wonderful friends, got a great job as an assistant to the English department’s dean, and received an excellent recommendation that got her a job teaching immediately after graduation. Our out-of-pocket was no higher than that for our other three children who attended public universities.Give private colleges a chance! Apply and see how the financial aid might play out.Any good news out there? Where have you been accepted to college thus far?

    Coming April 2018 to an online or mortar bookstore near you, 50 Life Lessons for Graduates–a perfect gift gift for high school and college graduates. Save time, money, and heartache from 50 millenial college grads who share their best life lessons.

Free money for college

1 Nov

Many states have grant programs that assist students with college expenses. Grants are money gifts that do not need to be paid back. In California a student who demonstrated financial need according to the guidelines is receiving the following this school year:

  • University of California: $12,630
  • California State University, $5,472
  • Eligible private colleges, $9,084.

If you do not live in California, do a search on college grant money in your state by Googling like this: “your state name + financial aid.” For example: “Oregon + financial aid.”

In California you must do two things to be considered for a Cal Grant, and requirements are similar in other states:

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between Oct. 1 and Mar. 2 (www.fafsa,ed.gov) — listing the schools for a Cal Grant FIRST.
  • Make sure your high school has submitted your Cal Grant GPA verification. Verify this with your high school counselor.

The California Student Aid Commission encourages all students to apply for a Cal Grant, even if they THINK their parents make too much money (for income/asset limits, http://www.csac.ca.gov/facts/2018-19_income_and_asset_ceilings.pdf.

It is possible that a family’s income picture can drastically change overnight — so it’s good to have the paperwork requirements in place if that happens.

See your counselor today for more information!

 

Hey, parents! I’m VERY excited that this wonderful gift book for grads will be available this coming spring from Worthy Publishing–just in time for your grad and their friends. More info on ordering will be coming soon! 

Do you really need all that senior “stuff”?

25 Oct

   What’s the key to all things grad?

Around this time of year salesmen visit high schools selling various senior “wares,” including the following items: caps/gowns/tassels, commencement announcements, class rings, senior keys, “official” thank-you notes, senior class t-shirts and sweatshirts, and more.

The final pricetag can be hundreds of dollars. Here’s a breakdown of what you need….

The Essentials:

  • Cap, gown, and tassel: You need these so the senior can participate in commencement. However, your school might provide these for you, depending on where you live. School districts in the state of California are required to provide the cap, gown, and tassel–but you probably have to return at least the gown so the school can re-use it. The district may allow you to decorate the top of your cap and keep it, as well as the tassel. Check with your school’s guidance counselor or senior class advisor to make sure. If your state requires schools to provide these, you cannot assume you can KEEP them.
  • Thank-you notes: Every single graduation gift needs to be acknowledged with a thank-you note. My rule as a parent was that my children could NOT use the item or cash the check until the thank-you note was written. However, you need not purchase official thank-you notes–they’re much cheaper in discount stores.

The Optional Items: Folks, everything else is optional. Students can graduate without any of the other “stuff” the salesman might offer, and you should shop around, as these items can be purchased in many different places. Here are ideas for saving money:

  • Commencement announcements: Typically, these are NOT invitations, as your school may have a limit on the number of people any one senior can host at the ceremony. Check with your school first if you plan to send invitations, as opposed to announcements. However, seniors are often anxious to buy a host of these, in the hopes of garnering all kinds of money and other gifts. You should understand that an announcement (or invitation) is NOT a request for a gift. It is simply sent to share to share the joy and excitement of the event. The traditional embossed invitations with the school name on them are still available through Josten’s or other school supply companies, but you can also purchase your own photo or other cards to send to family and friends. PLEASE follow these social etiquette guidelines: (1) Don’t hand them to people–send them through the mail. (2) Don’t give them to teachers and other school staff members. They will probably already attend the ceremony, and you should not make them feel obligated to give you a gift. (3) Mail them out at least one month in advance. (4) If you’re using formal invitations, address the outer envelope with the full name (Mr. and Mrs. John Jones) and the inner envelope with how you address those people (Grandma and Grandpa).
  • Class rings and senior keys: These jewelry items can be purchased through several different venues now. I even saw a Groupon ad today for “Personalized Women’s Rings” selling for $59 with school-type designs that you can personalize. These can cost hundreds of dollars for something the student may only choose to wear through the end of this school year.
  • Senior class t-shirt/sweatshirt: These are available for purchase through school suppliers, but often a senior class will create its own t-shirt and/or sweatshirt for purchase. Check with the school first.
  • Souvenirs: Folks, everything else is just “stuff”–items that will probably get boxed up. Choose wisely as you consider those autograph dogs, other jewelry items, extra tassels, senior bag, water bottle, key chain, and photo frames.

 

I’m super-excited that my book, 50 Life Lessons for Grads, will be released in April 2018. Pre-orders for the book will be available soon. Look here or at your favorite book store or website for more information!