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Posted April 23, 2016 by

Financial aid secrets for college students

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With graduation season looming, high school seniors throughout the country are receiving their college acceptance letters and celebrating their impending sense of freedom. At the same time, parents are studying financial aid options and scratching their heads trying to figure out how to pay for the upcoming four (or more) years.

As the costs of attending college rise, it’s important to consider scholarships, grants, and student loans to assist with the hefty fees. There are also some innovative tricks that can help reduce this cost. Here are some insights gleaned from real university financial aid employees, parents, and former college students all high school seniors and their families should know.

Use your FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an important financial aid document college students shouldn’t skip. Even if they don’t think they’ll qualify for any money, it’s important to fill this form out annually. This is how the federal government and schools determine what type of aid to give students. There are many subtle things that can impact the grants offered, many of which are unknown to the average person, and may change the amount a family qualifies for.

Attend class

Many universities have strict attendance and truancy policies to prevent abuse of the grants offered. If a student withdraws from a class due to non-attendance in the first few classes or consistent unexplained absences, their course load may drop below the mandatory credits needed to qualify for certain grants. If you have a scholarship or grant already, make sure you know the terms and what’s expected from your end.

Become a Resident Advisor (RA)

Aside from tuition, room and board are the most expensive costs incurred during college. With the average college student paying $8,535 a year just for a place to stay, it makes sense to try to skimp on this fee. Students who work as a Resident Advisor often wind up with free or significantly reduced room and board in exchange for their services, making this one of the most lucrative student jobs available.

Learn to cook

While Top Ramen may be students best friend those first few months, anything prepared at home is bound to be more affordable than college meal plans and eating out at restaurants. Even if a student’s cooking skills need some brushing up, this is one of the easiest ways to save money. Don’t be afraid of the kitchen.

Find freebies

So much of an average college student’s budget is spent on personal expenses, which often includes entertainment. Seek free options available through the university instead. Campuses are loaded with free amenities, from swimming pools and libraries to dorm dinners, guest lecture speakers, and student clubs.

Join a credit union

Since credit unions are run as cooperatives, they can afford giving customers extra perks that wind up saving them a lot of money. They typically feature lower credit card interest rates, higher interest rates paid out on savings accounts, and reduced-fee ATMs and online banking services.

While the term “starving student” has origins in truth, it doesn’t need to be a reality for all. Instead, research financial aid opportunities and spend wisely to save money and stick to a good budget throughout your academic career.

If you’re interested in more information on financial aid, please visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Brooke Chaplan, guest writer

Brooke Chaplan, guest writer

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information on first time budgeting, see what a Bountiful Utah Credit Union might recommend. Brooke is available via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Posted August 31, 2015 by

Social Security Administration Voted #6 in Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Survey for Large Agencies

social security administration logoIt is important to most of us that we enjoy our work but difficult to know when you’re looking for a job whether we’ll be happier working for one employer versus another. A great way to know if an employer offers a great place to work is to ask the people who know the organizations best — their employees. Since 2003, The Partnership for Public Service has awarded federal government agencies voted among the best places to work. For 2014, the sixth best place to work among large agencies was the Social Security Administration. (more…)

Posted August 27, 2015 by

United States Department of Justice Voted #5 in Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Survey for Large Agencies

department of justice logoIt is important to most of us that we enjoy our work but difficult to know when you’re looking for a job whether we’ll be happier working for one employer versus another. A great way to know if an employer offers a great place to work is to ask the people who know the organizations best — their employees. Since 2003, The Partnership for Public Service has awarded federal government agencies voted among the best places to work. For 2014, the fifth best place to work among large agencies was the United States Department of Justice. (more…)

Posted August 25, 2015 by

United States Intelligence Community Voted #4 in Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Survey for Large Agencies

united states intelligence community logoIt is important to most of us that we enjoy our work but difficult to know when you’re looking for a job whether we’ll be happier working for one employer versus another. A great way to know if an employer offers a great place to work is to ask the people who know the organizations best — their employees. Since 2003, The Partnership for Public Service has awarded federal government agencies voted among the best places to work. For 2014, the fourth best place to work among large agencies was the United States Intelligence Community. (more…)

Posted August 24, 2015 by

How Fortune 500 Employers Use Data and Analytics to Drive Their Recruiting Decisions

Leading employers strive to recruit the right candidates and put those candidates into the right seats. For many of our Fortune 1,000 and federal government agency clients, that means hiring the best and brightest students and recent graduates. But how do you find these highly sought after candidates when your competition is targeting the same people? Combine a better candidate experience with better use of data and analytics for a winning one-two punch. (more…)

Posted August 20, 2015 by

United States Department of State Voted #3 in Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Survey for Large Agencies

department of state logoIt is important to most of us that we enjoy our work but difficult to know when you’re looking for a job whether we’ll be happier working for one employer versus another. A great way to know if an employer offers a great place to work is to ask the people who know the organizations best — their employees. Since 2003, The Partnership for Public Service has awarded federal government agencies voted among the best places to work. For 2014, the third best place to work among large agencies was the United States Department of State. (more…)

Posted August 18, 2015 by

United States Department of Commerce Voted #2 in Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Survey for Large Agencies

department of commerce logoIt is important to most of us that we enjoy our work but difficult to know when you’re looking for a job whether we’ll be happier working for one employer versus another. A great way to know if an employer offers a great place to work is to ask the people who know the organizations best — their employees. Since 2003, The Partnership for Public Service has awarded federal government agencies voted among the best places to work. For 2014, the second best place to work among large agencies was the United States Department of Commerce. (more…)

Posted August 11, 2015 by

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Voted #1 in Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Survey for Large Agencies

nasa logoIt is important to most of us that we enjoy our work but difficult to know when you’re looking for a job whether we’ll be happier working for one employer versus another. A great way to know if an employer offers a great place to work is to ask the people who know the organizations best — their employees. Since 2003, The Partnership for Public Service has awarded federal government agencies voted among the best places to work. For 2014, the best place to work among large agencies was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (more…)

Posted January 16, 2015 by

Bedroom Hacker? You Can Get a Career From That

Professional hacker working on laptop

Professional hacker working on laptop. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Hacking has long been considered the “black magic” of the Internet and tech communities. There are strict laws in place that are meant to prevent hackers from breaking into websites, databases and other prime online targets for malicious reasons.

Hackers who’ve been in the game for years often seek employment in other sectors. Their hacking skills are kept secret because anonymity can mean the difference between freedom and time behind bars, and frankly, just because being anonymous is “the thing to do” among hackers. Development in recent years, however, have led many would be criminal hackers on the path to success as gainful employees in the information security industry. (more…)

Posted August 05, 2014 by

Under 30 and Want an Entry Level Job in the Federal Government? You Are Wanted

If you are under the age of 30 and looking for an entry level job in the federal government, chances are employers want you.  Learn more in the following post.

When you think of where you’d love to get a job, does the federal government spring to mind? If you’re a Millennial, probably not. A recent Wall Street Journal article reports that the percentage of government employees under the age of 30 hit an eight-year low in 2013: a paltry 8 percent. That’s right: young people aren’t going to

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