Thursday, August 13, 2009

There Is Financial Help For Needy College Students!

There is help available for families struggling with paying tuition for their kids!

Applications for student aid are up!

More and more families are appealing denied decisions for aid packages to get additional assistance as more and more parents are being rejected for loans.

Schools say they are doing what they can. For example:

  • One college that usually accepts aid appeals until mid-June has suspended their deadline so families whose fortunes suddenly change can appeal their aid package at any time. "We had so many families that seem to have financial circumstances that were changing negatively, we made a decision to continue to accept the appeals," says a spokesperson for the learning institution. The college's financial aid office has dealt with households with severe investment losses, small business owners whose companies have nose dived, families where both parents have lost jobs and a student who returned home for spring break to find her family's house in foreclosure.

  • A university is handling a 20 percent increase in aid appeals. Most of the appeals are due to job losses.

  • Another college that gives out about $1.1 million in grants to needy students says that year's pot of money has gone faster than usual, but the grants went to needier families than in years past.

  • A university has launched a campaign this year, so far raising $234,000 for students needing emergency aid to remain at the school. The money started being disbursed this month. It comes during a year when appeals are up 52 percent over last year and applications for government aid rose 12 percent as many higher-income families apply for the first time.

If you're having trouble with tuition bills, here are some options:

  • Pay through installments. Most schools allow you to pay tuition over a 10-month period. You'll pay a $50 to $100 fee, but you won't pay any interest. If you can swing the payments, this is better than a loan.

  • Get aid from Uncle Sam If you must borrow, government loans are the way to go. The fixed interest rate is lower than what private loans offer and the repayment terms are friendly. It's not too late to apply for a government student loan program. In fact, you can do so any time during the academic year. For instance one government student loan program limits this year are $5,500 for freshmen, $6,500 for sophomores and $7,500 each for juniors and seniors. In one particular government student loan program the new fixed rate for the loans are subsidized, meaning the government pays the interest while students are in school, is 5.6 percent. The rate for non-subsidized loans is 6.8 percent. You must show financial need to get a subsidized loan, but any student can qualify for a non-subsidized loan.

  • If student loans aren't enough to cover the tab, parents can take out a specific loan to make up the difference. The fixed rate is 8.5 percent, or 7.9 percent through the government's direct lending program. Parents can postpone repayment until six months after graduation. Parents must pass a credit check to get this loan.

Uncle Sam last year started cutting parents a little slack if they had fallen behind on a mortgage or medical bills. If parents are denied a the loan, students can borrow more under the government student loan program. The limits are $9,500 for freshmen, $10,500 for sophomores and $12,500 for juniors and seniors.

There are websites where strangers agree to lend students money and the website acts as the middleman in the transaction. About 10% of the students using these sites are funded and the terms are comparable to other other private loans.

It may be too late in the game to find scholarships for this coming fall, but it can't hurt to try searching online. If anything, you'll get a head start on scholarships for next year.

Over $90 Million Dollars

In Grant Money

Is Still Available

In Texas!

Non-profit organizations in the Texas area are eligible to apply for Millions in federal grant money to help them get back on their feet again. The grants will be distributed to agencies in any county declared a disaster area because of Hurricane Ike.

The grant money can be used in a wide array of organizations that provide services such as case management, adult and child day care, food programs and mental health care.

Unfortunately many of the smaller social service agencies that are eligible to apply for these same grants have little experience in applying for them. It would be very beneficial to them if they had a connection to a professional grantwriter or consultant who could help them to apply for these kinds of grants!

Applications for funding must be in by Aug. 25!.

The council will approve funding for agencies Sept. 15th.

Agencies seeking funding want to be able to use the grant money for:

  • One hospice care center has cited that the hurricane and a slowing economy have strained the agency’s ability to provide hospice care regardless of the client’s ability to pay. Says a spokesperson, "Getting some of the federal money could prove vital to keeping those services going".

  • Another non-profit organization that serves families of young patients who receive cancer and burn care would like to receive the funding to repair a broken elevator so it can make better use of its second floor.

A grant for $186,574 will allow a food bank to help launch a program stressing proper nutrition and fresh produce for low-income families. The food bank is launching a
two-year pilot program that seeks to supply fresh produce to area families. The food bank organization is a major supplier of emergency food supplies made available to low-income families in a local area region. Teaming up with an interfaith council provides the project established links to city neighborhoods. The hope is that by promoting proper nutrition and access to good food at affordable prices that program will produce results, particularly in the area of childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity in the area nationwide is "a perverse form of malnutrition" where often the most affordable foods are the least nutritious. "We want to learn ways to make affordable and nutritious food available to families.

The organization will explore urban agriculture, community gardens, and ways to bring produce grown on farms around the local area into the city's neighborhoods and corner stores and make it affordable to low-income families.

Animal Shelter Receives

$100,000 Grant!

An animal shelter has received a grant from a foundation to purchase enough vaccine to inoculate all its incoming dogs and puppies against kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis) for approximately one year. Kennel cough is similar to the common cold; it is a contagious virus that shelter managers would like to eradicate.It spreads rapidly, and treatment is costly. Shelters are often compelled by their budgets to euthanize otherwise adoptable dogs to stop the spread of the disease. The real key to stopping this scourge is prevention, and that's the aim of these kinds of grants: stopping kennel cough before it gets started.

The grants are part of a foundation's program. Funding is made possible through the foundation's partnership with another animal organization and individual donations.

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