Category Archives: Financing College

Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees

Working as a public service employee and buried in student loans? Well then, a portion of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 called the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program may be just what you’re looking for.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program  is meant to encourage individuals to find and continue full-time employment as a public service employee after college graduation.  You may qualify for forgiveness of your remaining balance due on eligible federal student loans after making 120 payments under certain repayment plans while employed full-time. Your payment count starts after October 1, 2007, so the soonest your remaining student loan debt could be erased is October 2017.

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Military Education Benefits and Services

Created in 2006, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Higher Education Veterans Programs connects Veterans, Service Members, and their families with educational benefits and services available to help them succeed in college. As part of the program’s valuable resources, MyMilitaryEducation.org was developed to offer information about military education benefits, Minnesota higher education institutions, and related issues from an experienced and professional support term.  Support services include:

  • 24/7 access to answers to over 250 “Frequently Asked Questions”
  • 7 day a week telephone assistance from support staff at 1.888.LINKVET (546.5838)
  • 7 days a week live-time help via web chat with support staff

At MyMilitaryEducation.org an individual can also be connected with other program services such as the Higher Education Veterans Programs Regional Coordinators and Veterans Resource Centers.

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The Great Scholarship Search

Cash for college doesn’t grow on trees, but there are a ton of scholarship opportunities available for you if you’re willing to put in some time and effort.

When searching for scholarships, we suggest you:

• Start early
• Only use FREE searches
• Apply to as many as possible
• Seek out less competitive scholarships
• Beware of scams
• Exhaust all your options

Where to look:

Your College – Most colleges have a certain amount of money allocated for student scholarships. You’ll likely need to be admitted to the college to qualify. Check with the student services office for additional information. Don’t forget about checking within your department too. If you have a specific degree in mind, there could be specific scholarship monies available for students in that program.

Charities & Foundations – National and local organizations sometimes have scholarship funds available. ScholarshipAmerica.org has private scholarships listed through these types of organizations. Check in with local organizations that you are affiliated with: your church, etc.

Organizations – Start with you (or your spouse’s) employer to see if scholarship funds are available there. Large organizations like Target and others offer national scholarships in large sums. For something less competitive, look locally at businesses in your region. Your local chamber of commerce might have a list of this information for you. Again, if you have a specific career path in mind, professional organizations within that field may offer scholarships to students enrolling in those programs.

High School Counselor – Even if you haven’t been enrolled in high school recently, the high school counselor might be willing to help you out. They likely get email notifications of available scholarships. Stop in and ask about scholarships for non-traditional or first-generation students.

Library or Bookstore – Publishers have put together scholarship guides that can be easier to search than websites. Check locally or online for these types of books.

Online – There are hundreds of websites for you to search for scholarships. Finding scholarships you qualify for can be time and labor intensive. Never pay a website to do scholarship searches. We suggest these free (and reputable) search sites:
o FastWeb
o AmeriCorps
o CollegeScholarships.org
o The SallieMae Fund
o CollegeBoard

Contributor: Nicole Seifert, Online Student Advisor

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