MIKE’S MEMOS

The One Place To Get Insider Strategies On College Admissions, Saving Money On Tuition & Much, Much More

Financing Education with UTMA’s

Financing Education with UTMA’s

The Uniform Transfers To Minors Act (UTMA) is a law recommended by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1986 and subsequently enacted by most U.S. states. It provides a mechanism under which gifts can be made to...

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Colleges Value Demonstrated Interest

Colleges Value Demonstrated Interest

While colleges want to love you as an applicant, they may also want proof that you love them. They favor applicants who are likely to accept an offer of admission and to enroll in their institution instead of another to which they’ve also been admitted. The percentage...

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Section 127 Assistance Programs

Section 127 Assistance Programs

When companies compete for the best employees, the quality of their benefits packages is a key differentiator. Prospective employees look for a comprehensive package to improve their financial well-being and help prepare for the future. An IRS Section 127 Educational...

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529 Tuition Plans

529 Tuition Plans

The substantial rise in recent decades of the cost of a college education is a serious hardship for most families. Student loans may mitigate the difficulty temporarily, but excessive borrowing can become problematic in itself. A better approach for a family, one that...

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How to Crush Your College Interviews

How to Crush Your College Interviews

If you’re a high school junior, you should be planning ahead for the college interviews that will help you select the schools that are best for you. By speaking with you one-on-one, the interviewer can get to know you better on a personal level and experience your...

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Your Essays Should Make You Stand Out

Your Essays Should Make You Stand Out

If you’re a high school junior, you’re already aware of the importance of essays in college admissions. Essays are often the difference between acceptance or rejection. In an article in The New York Times, Janet Morrissey sums it up this way: “The essay is your...

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U. S. Military Student Financial Aid

U. S. Military Student Financial Aid

The U.S. Military funds the college education of service members through a number of programs and institutions. These include the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) the United States Military Academies, and programs for the Reserves and National...

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Federal Work-Study Programs

Federal Work-Study Programs

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program provides a way for students to earn money for their education by working at a part-time job while in college. There are about 3,400 colleges and career schools participating in the FWS Program. Colleges have varying amounts of...

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State Grants and Scholarships For College

State Grants and Scholarships For College

If you qualify for a grant or scholarship at the Federal level, you are also likely to qualify in your home state. States operate programs similar to the Federal Pell Grant Program in that they provide need-based funding that doesn’t need to be repaid. If your Federal...

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Seeking Private Scholarships

Seeking Private Scholarships

Private Scholarships What if you were admitted to your top three colleges but couldn’t enroll in them because the costs were too high, even with your Federal aid? You’d be forced to decline their offers and accept one from a less desirable college — not the end of the...

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Don’t Forget the CSS Profile

Don’t Forget the CSS Profile

How the CSS Profile Helps You  The College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile is required by about 400 colleges a few scholarship organizations.The form enables you to be considered for eligibility for a college’s institutional funds in the form of...

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Following Up After Submitting The FAFSA

Following Up After Submitting The FAFSA

This is our fourth post on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the U.S. Department of Education form that is submitted annually by college applicants and continuing students seeking financial aid for college. FAFSA data is made available to...

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The FAFSA Is an Important Step in Paying for College

The FAFSA Is an Important Step in Paying for College

The Federal government allocated $120 billion this year for grants, work-study programs, and  loans to help students pay for college. Yet 47% of this year’s applicants failed to submit the form that entitles them to their fair share of these funds. The...

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Federal Pandemic Relief and College Costs

Federal Pandemic Relief and College Costs

Federal laws were enacted in 2020 and 2021 to aid Americans adversely affected by the pandemic and to stimulate economic growth. Among their many provisions, these new laws took steps to alleviate the financial hardship suffered by colleges and students. One of the...

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The FAFSA and Federal Student Aid

The FAFSA and Federal Student Aid

An early step in every family’s college admissions campaign is performed by the parents. They forecast the amount of money that can be diverted from the family’s income, savings, and investments to pay for college. Next, they subtract from this amount the expected...

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COLLEGE INTERVIEW CHECKLIST INFOGRAPHIC

COLLEGE INTERVIEW CHECKLIST College interviews are a great way to enhance your application. While often not mandatory, they may be right for you. An interview lets the school get to know you a little better, and vice versa. It also shows "demonstrated interest" which...

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YODA’S WISDOM ON DEMONSTRATING INTEREST

Colleges "score" students on a lot more than ACT or SAT exam scores and GPA. They often also take into account a campus and/or college fair visit, the time you spend on their website or talking to a regional rep, submitting early action, and more. The name for all...

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PERFECT GIFTS FOR HIGH SCHOOL GRADS

It’s here! Graduation (and gift) season 2016. Sure, you can give the most popular and common gift: cash. And, welcome as currency always is, with a little thought, there are many equally valuable and appreciated tokens of your well wishes. We’ve compiled five sure...

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COLLEGE-ADMISSIONS COUNSELING: THE GOOD NEWS & BAD

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to the counseling your high school student is getting about college. Let’s start with the good news, shall we? Research shows that one of the key determinants (after family) of whether or not a student will even head to...

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11 SECRETS TO SLASH THE PRICE OF COLLEGE VISITS

Enjoy your college visits even more by cutting costs for those out-of-town trips.Apply these 11 strategies and save! No one debates the importance of college visits. Only so much can be gained by scanning websites and glossy college brochures. There’s nothing like a...

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INFOGRAPHIC: THE COMMON APPLICATION

The new essay prompts were just released by the Common Application (or Common App, for short). Wait. Back up! What’s the Common App, you ask? Nearly 600 colleges and universities have partnered to streamline undergraduate college admission applications. These are both...

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TRUE OR FALSE: EVERYONE IS A COLLEGE EXPERT

As you (or your child) approach college, you’ll find everyone is an expert: friends, co-workers, the person behind you in the checkout line. Each person has a particular set of experiences, albeit limited, and is sure their experiences apply to everyone, even if it...

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GOT GOALS THAT INCLUDE THE FAFSA? YOU SHOULD.

January 1st marked the opening of the 2016-17 FAFSA season, the government’s way of wishing all parents of college-bound and current college students a Happy New Year! If your goals and resolutions for 2016 include winning the college game, we can help. The College...

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A COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENT’S NOTES TO SELF

The college-bound student has so many things to keep in mind during their junior and senior high school years.There are just so many factors to consider, so many choices to make! So, in order to keep the big picture in mind, we’ve collected a few of the smart...

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DOING MY HOMEWORK ON COLLEGES: NOTE TO SELF

The junior and senior years of high school are packed. There’s all the academic, athletic and extra-curricular activities any average high school student already has. Plus, there are the added preparations for the transition to college: taking act or sat tests,...

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WHAT’S COLLEGE REALLY LIKE?

You may be a high school junior or senior, but you’ve spent most of your life being told what to do, what to think and what to say. Now though, you’re becoming an adult and it’s time to act, think and speak like one. One of the first shifts is to realize that not...

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ON KEEPING AN OPEN MIND: NOTES TO SELF

High school juniors and seniors years of learning under their belts, but that doesn’t mean they know much about the everything that’s yet to come. Most of what they do know about college comes from media, family and friends with older siblings. The information may be...

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MEDIA ROUNDUP: THE WEEK IN REVIEW

Every day I scour the media for happenings in college and careers. Out of the dozens of articles that cross my desk, one or two is noteworthy enough to share. If you’re not already doing so, you can keep up to date with these resources by following College Planners of...

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HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR COLLEGE ESSAY

We’re in the thick of the college essay-writing season with our seniors and maybe you are too! There’s an excellent book we recommend to help get the job done: the better college essay by elizabeth stone, phd. One of our favorite distinctions early in the book is that...

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HUGE ACT TEST CHANGES IMPLEMENTED

Three days left to register for the october act! And, in case you haven’t heard about the recent changesThat were (almost silently) enacted on portions of the act,Read on! The act has quietly implemented a couple tweeks to the test which will debuted september 12th....

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WHO IS CREATING STUDENT DEBT? A MYSTERY NO MORE

Earlier this month, two researchers — adam looney of the treasury department and constantine yannelis of stanford university — released an analysis of a new database of student debt. For years, student debt has been shrouded in mystery. Now, for the first time,...

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