Category Archives: Blog

The Top 25 Happiest Schools

The Top 25 Happiest Schools1. Yale University
2. Harvard University
3. Rice University
4. Stanford University
5. Bowdoin College
6. Pitzer College
7. Occidental College
8. Colby College
9. Emory University
10. University of California-Davis
11. Southern Methodist University
12. Rollins College
13. Hamilton College
14. University of California-Los Angeles
15. University of Southern California
16. Cornell University
17. Wellesley College
18. Colorado College
19. Smith College
20. James Madison University
21. Purdue University
22. Vanderbilt University
23. Bucknell University
24. Santa Clara University
25. University of California-San Diego
Source: Newsweek

Best & worst private college graduation rates by state

The 10 Best & worst private college graduation rates by state

States with the highest six-year grad rates among private schools
1. Massachusetts, 75.7 percent
2. Connecticut, 75.2 percent
3. Maryland, 73.5 percent
4. California, 72.9 percent
4. Rhode Island, 72.9 percent (tie)
6. Pennsylvania, 72.6 percent
7. Washington, 71.4 percent
8. Indiana, 69.3 percent
9. New York, 68.5 percent
10. Vermont, 67.3 percent

States with the lowest six-year grad rates among private schools
1. Alaska, 26.5 percent
2. Nevada, 33.8 percent
3. Delaware, 36.3 percent
4. Hawaii, 43.0 percent
5. Kansas, 44.1 percent
6. North Dakota, 44.8 percent
7. Alabama, 45.0 percent
8. Mississippi, 48.2 percent
9. South Carolina, 50.4 percent
10. Oklahoma, 50.7 percent

 

How to chip away at your Student Loan Debt without making additional payments

Below is a list of states, companies and services that will make your loan payments or forgive your Student Loan Debt
1)Kansas offers as much as $15,000 toward student-loan repayment for people who relocate to areas beset by population declines. In Kansas, the perk has attracted 411 applicants representing 33 states.
2)The city of Niagara Falls, New York, offers a loan repayment plan to attract young people, and Nebraska is looking into creating one, partly out of concern that the Kansas program would lure college graduates across their shared border.
3)The broadest, most comprehensive path to loan forgiveness may also be one of the nation’s newest: the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). Passed by Congress in 2007, the program promises to absolve remaining balances on the federal student loans of qualifying borrowers who make 120 monthly loan payments under eligible plans. To meet the program requirements, you must be working full-time for a public service employer at an organization in the public sector, 501(c)(3) or other nonprofits while you make each of the 120 payments.
4)Since 2006, Boston-based American Student Assistance has offered full-time employees as much as $2,400 a year for loan repayment, while part-timers can get a smaller benefit.
5)Student-loan assistance is more common in health care than in other professions. Thirty states and Washington, D.C. have repayment or consolidation plans for dental or medical workers, according to a 2011 American Dental Association report. Several private health-related companies also offer the incentive.
6)Health-care providers, including St. Louis- based BJC Medical Group, has begun to offer repayment plans in compensation packages for physicians over the past few years.
7)Tenet Healthcare Corp., which owns or operates hospitals and health-care facilities across the U.S., promotes loan-repayment incentives in its job ads.

Cedar Education announces 5 Common Myths about College Financial Aid

Understanding financial aid awards can be a tricky proposition unless students know what they are looking at. When starting to evaluate the cost of college, remember not to rule out a college based on its stated cost, be wary of net price calculator results, and don’t assume all student loans are the same.

When a student receives their financial aid packages from the colleges to which he or she has been accepted, that’s when the due diligence process really begins. Since schools present their financial award packages in different ways, and even use different names, it can be quite confusing to the student and their parents.

Students should research and weigh their options carefully and avoid making any of the following assumptions:

Myth 1: All components of financial aid awards are free money. Financial aid packages could include two distinct categories of aid: money students won’t have to pay back and money they will. It may sound pretty simple, but it’s important to recognize what is essentially a gift scholarship or grant aid and what students have to work for or pay back; such as work-study positions and student loans.

Myth 2: Awards will be ongoing. After discerning what is scholarship or grant aid, understand that those numbers may change in subsequent years.
For example, if a student receives a merit award, does he or she need to maintain a certain grade point average to continue to qualify?

Myth 3: The total cost of a student’s financial aid package is what he/she will actually pay. A prospective student needs to dig deeply into each college’s website for all of the fees and add-ons not typically included in tuition and room and board, such as travel, books, and even social expenses.

Myth 4: The total cost will remain constant through graduation. Unless the student is enrolled in a school with a tuition guarantee program, there’s a good chance that costs of attending college will rise each year.
This is especially true for state schools that are facing budgeting issues.

Myth 5: Students can’t negotiate. If the financial aid package from a student’s top-choice school is not what he or she expected, it usually doesn’t hurt to contact the admissions office. If he has received a better offer or if her financial situation changes, it may warrant a phone call to state your case.

Also, remember to shop for private student loans and that a private student loan consolidation, post graduation, might make a lot sense.

Student Loan Changes for 2012

On Sunday, July 1, several changes to federal student loan programs took effect. If you’re a current or soon-to-be college or graduate student, read on to see if you’ll be affected.
For undergraduate students:
The interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans taken out as of July 1, 2012, will remain at 3.4 % for one more year. But under a temporary provision that lasts until July 1, 2014, holders of subsidized Stafford loans taken this year and next will no longer enjoy an interest-free grace period after graduation. For the next two years, students with subsidized Stafford loans still won’t have to enter repayment until six months after they graduate, but interest will accrue during that time period.
In your last year of school, talk to your financial aid office about government options for students with federal loans, including Income-Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Abernathy recommends.
Separately, students without a high school diploma or GED (excluding home schooled students) who are enrolling in college for the first time are no longer eligible for federal student aid, including loans. Such students that have already completed some college will still be eligible for federal aid.
For graduate students:
Graduate students are no longer eligible for government-subsidized Stafford loans. Grad students can still take out unsubsidized Stafford loans, for which interest accrues at a rate of 6.8 percent during school.
Graduate students with federal loans will be eligible for the government loan repayment programs after graduation, including Income-Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, as well as unemployment deferment.

Cedar Education Lending Endorses Proposed New Senate Legislation

Cedar Education Lending endorses the Know Before You Owe legislation introduced March 29 by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). According to Durbin, “two-thirds of students with private loans are unaware of the dramatic difference between Federal student loans and risky, higher-interest, private student loans.” The senators are particularly concerned that students apply for and exhaust all efforts to receive Federal aid before they apply for private student loans.

The Know Before You Owe Act of 2012 would empower students to exhaust their Federal financial aid options, which are more reasonable than the terms of private loans. Federal student loans have fixed interest rates and offer an array of consumer protections and favorable terms, including deferment and forbearance in times of economic hardship, manageable repayment options such as the income-Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs.

The Act would specifically require private lenders to: certify with the school that the student is enrolled and the amount the student is eligible to borrow in Federal loans; provide the borrower with quarterly updates on their loans, including accrued but unpaid interest and capitalized interest; and, report information to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about their student loans. In addition, institutions of higher education would have to inform students about their Federal financial aid availability and their ability to select a private lender of their choice, as well as inform them about the terms and conditions of Federal and private student loans.

“Cedar Education Lending is ahead of the curve on this legislation,” says Harvey Berkey, COO. Unfortunately, the Federal government doesn’t have sufficient funds to supply necessary financial aid and support to all needy students. Students often require private loans to supplement their Federal aid. Cedar Ed supplies Private Student Loans and, after graduation, Private Student Loan Consolidationw to enable students to completely fund their education.

From inception, Cedar Ed has been completely transparent with regard to its lender policies, terms and provisions. Students are clearly cautioned to review all Federal aid prior to seeking a Cedar Ed private loan. All terms related to potential Cedar Ed loans are made clear to the student in advance. Cedar Ed already makes sure its lender certifies with the borrower’s school that the student is enrolled and provides the loan funds to the student through the school, not directly to the student. The student receives timely reports providing information including accrued but unpaid interest and capitalized interest.

“We feel we have already been complying with this legislation and we endorse it completely,” added Mr. Berkey.

Cedar Education offers 5 Facts to Consider in Your College and Career Planning

 Facts to Consider in Your College and Career Planning

While the summer has just begun for many graduating high school seniors, Cedar Education Lending urges these students to use the time to carefully consider their choice of college. They should think about what their majors will be and also shop around for private student loans to help bridge the gap between the cost of attendance and federal loans and grants received.

With the cost of college tuition far outpacing the increase in inflation and average starting salaries over the past 10 years, students are faced with a daunting outlook. It used to be that college freshman could take their time and figure out what they wanted to do with their lives,” commented Harvey Berkey, COO of Cedar Education Lending. But now the decisions freshmen make could greatly impact their future,” he added. Cedar Ed points enumerates several important things for young adults to keep in mind when planning both their college & career paths.

1)Only 49 percent of 2009-11 undergraduates found full-time jobs in their fields of study within a year of graduation.
2)The Class of 2012 faces increased competition from unemployed and under-employed 2008-11 graduates and laid-off workers with more experience.
3)The average student loan debt is about $25,000
4)Tuition, room and board at many private colleges is over $50,000 per year and rising.
5)Starting salaries are lower than 10 years ago (adjusted for inflation).

Students and parents should ask themselves some tough questions: What is the likely return on their college investment? What will be the jobs that are in demand 5 to 10 years from now? What jobs will soon be obsolete?

According to a recent study by Georgetown University, college graduates made 84 percent more over their lifetime than those with only high school diplomas. But upon a further analysis of 171 majors, it shows that various undergraduate majors can lead to significantly different median wages.
Petroleum engineering majors make about $120,000 a year, compared with $29,000 annually for counseling psychology majors, according to the study. Math and computer science majors earn $98,000 in salary while early childhood education majors get paid about $36,000.

Students must consider what kind of debt they should assume to fund their studies. Does taking on over $100,000 in student loan debt to fund a psychology major make sense? Maybe the student is better off finding a college that is more affordable.
Students should also remember that when they graduate, they should consolidate their federal student loans and refinance their high interest rate private student loans with a private loan consolidation.

Federal Student Loan Crisis?

There has been a lot of focus on the pending rate interest rate hike on federally subsidized Stafford student loans potentially doubling in July from 3.4 to 6.8 percent.
This may sound alarming until you realize the rate increase would only affect new loans. Let’s say that the rate hike does happen, what will that mean in potential repayments? The rate hike will end up costing the average federal student loan borrower an additional $6 a month. What’s an additional $6 a month? Maybe it’s two Starbucks coffees, or you go to one movie every 2 months instead of every month, or maybe you pack one more lunch a month? Granted, $6 a month can add up over the life of the loan, but should we label this increase a “crisis” deserving all of the media attention that has come with it? In reality, the hype around student loans may have more to do with politics than changing what’s truly wrong with the student loan debt market, the escalating cost of tuition. Over the past 10 years the cost of private college has jumped more than 60%, nearly three times as much as incomes over the same period.Is that crisis worthy?

Trends in Private Student Loans

With so much talk about student loans, we thought it might be helpful to analyze some of the current trends in the student loan industry.
Almost 2.9 million students have private loans, according to recent data by The Institute for College Access and Success.  Private student loans make up only about 15% of the $1 trillion in outstanding student debt though.

Much of the outstanding private student loan debt was amassed before 2008 when credit standards were less stringent and lenders were more plentiful.

Private loans typically carry higher rates than Federal loans because students often don’t have a credit history.Private loans are also not guaranteed by the government.Much of the outstanding private student debt was amassed before 2008 when credit standards were less stringent and lenders targeted the education market often through direct marketing to students.

Private student loans to students peaked in the 2007-2008 school year at about $22 billion, according to the College Board. Private student loan lending dropped to about $6 billion in 2010-2011 as lending standards tightened, lenders exited the market and federal loan limits increased.

 

Private Student Loan Debt

The average American nuclear family needs a little extra help sending a son or daughter off to school. Surely, the wealthy family here or there can simply write up a $30,000 to $100,000 dollar check to cover the cost of the public or private colleges and universities, but the majority of people do not have such a large slush fund.
This is where student loans come in. For many students and parents, the first stop is federal financial aid, scholarships, and grants. But often these do not cover the full cost of attendance, which includes not just tuition, but boarding, meals, school supplies, and other odds-and-ends costs. When federal and state financial aid options have been exhausted and they’re often exhausted before you can cover all of your bases, you should consider private loans as a way to bridge the gap. Some students may even choose to apply for private loans to cover the entire cost of attendance, the option is there.
Private student loans are more lenient in their requirements than federal loans. Usually, all you’ll need is a letter of acceptance from a college or university or an unofficial transcript. Conversely, with the required Federal Application for Federal Student Aid as part of the federal loan process, you’ll need to supply a lot of additional information about yourself and your family.
For young students trying to navigate finance planning, the option for private loan cosigners is attractive. A cosigner is essentially somebody, usually a parent, who acts as a safety net for both you and the private loan company by promising to ensure that if the student cannot make payments themselves, the cosigner will. Also, if your cosigner has stellar credit, this may mean a better interest rate for you. (Cosigners come into play often in a young persons life. For example, you want that awesome apartment in Manhattan that requires proof of an income you don’t yet have even though your job allows you to pay the rent? Your parents can cosign if they meet the income requirement.)
It’s true that you’ll probably have more flexible repayment options with federal loans, and you should always try to find grants and scholarships first because they do not require payback. Also, it is important to remember that some private loans do have deferment options (payment postponement), while others do not. Federal loans always have a deferment period of up to 36 months, or three years. If they are subsidized, they pay the interest accrued during the deferment period; if they are unsubsidized, you will be responsible for that interest. But the reality is the same for both federal and private loans: all loans must be repaid, regardless of the way, shape, or form.
Like everything else in life, use good judgment when choosing a lender for a private student loan. You’ve done enough shopping around in your life for sports equipment; it doesn’t hurt to gather information and compare rates, terms and repayment options. The decision you make today with your private student loans are just as important as the decisions you made when choosing your school and major. Loan repayment may take decades, so you want to be sure you are with a lender you trust and that you feel is accessible and understanding of your needs.
The horror stories are out there: an unwitting student slapped with high and hidden fees and interest rates. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, just do your homework. Really, it’s that simple. If you are prepared, then you shouldn’t have to encounter any surprises. Don’t let the excitement of undergraduate or graduate school cause you to overlook these very important realities. Going to college often marks the beginning of adulthood, and there are very real adult decisions to be made starting from the very beginning.
There are plenty of good loan options out there. Look up as much as you can online about the major loan companies, then call and ask to speak to a representative. If your questions still haven’t been answered, try to find someone to speak with in person and schedule an appointment. Don’t rush this, and take notes, those same spectacular notes that got you accepted into college in the first place.
One benefit of private student loans comes after graduation, when you find you have all of these little bills to pay. private student loan consolidation can make things easier by having only one monthly payment with one interest rate. And, generally speaking, you’re given a six-month grace period after graduation before you have to start repayment of either a private or federal loan.
Private student loans checks are usually mailed straight to the school. Remember, private loans can also be used to cover any school-related expense. This includes rent on an apartment while you’re going to school, or weekly groceries. Things like your computer, Internet bill and cell phone bill are usually considered school-related expenses, too.
The bottom line is that there are plenty of ways to pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree. You don’t have to let money get in the way of your future, with so many options out there for you and students just like you. The most important thing is to remember that you worked hard to get accepted and you need to enjoy the experience of higher education. A handy and helpful student loan can help you do just that.