This week, I’d like to talk about ways to fund a college education, but before I begin, I know everyone is generally acquainted with the FAFSA, searching for scholarships on FastWeb, and Federal Student Aid programs, like the Pell Grant. These are certainly important resources, and if you’re not familiar with them, I’ve linked their names to relevant websites, and you should check them out. The purpose of this newsletter, however, is to discuss ways to finance education and save costs that you’re unlikely to have heard of before. To that end, I’ve scoured the internet for the rarest, most interesting, and unique ways to fund or save money on a college education. Whether your student is graduating in the Spring, or you’ve got a few years to go, I’ve got something on this list for everyone.
Upromise Essentially, you link rewards-earning credit cards to your Upromise account, and any cash rewards from your linked credit cards will be collected there. What makes this worth inclusion on the list is that your friends and family can also link their cards to your child’s account, allowing you to crowdfund your child’s education without any real cost to anyone involved. Additionally, members who apply for the Upromise Mastercard receive an additional 15% contribution and can round up their purchases to the nearest dollar, sending the excess to the college account. It should be noted that Upromise is a non-interest bearing account, but they do allow (and encourage) users to link their Upromise account to a 529 College Savings plan that DOES bear interest. If you have more than one child, you can also set up one Upromise account to be distributed equally among multiple 529 plans. You can visit their website here.
Study Abroad As a way to save money, this sounds absurd, I know. Most students attend an American university and save up extra money to be able to spend a single semester studying in another country. However, here is a list of countries where students can study in English for free, or nearly so. Some even offer free healthcare. The list includes Germany, Finland, France, Norway, Slovakia, and Brazil, among others. Surely one of those will pique your interest! For additional information about studying abroad, Studyportals.com is an excellent resource.
American Honors I’m sure most of you have heard the often-repeated advice to save money by studying for two years at a community college, getting core courses out of the way, and then transferring to a four-year University for two years, to earn a Bachelor’s degree. There are a variety of reasons few people actually follow this advice, but one of the major objections is the potential difficulty of transferring from an unknown community college to the prestigious university you really want to attend. If, however, you’re accepted into the American Honors program and attend one of their associated community colleges, they’ll help you every step of the way, from financial aid to choosing a four-year university. They've even got a program for international students who want to attend an American university. If you take the required courses and maintain the required GPA, they will guarantee you admission to your choice of the over 65 universities they work with across America - if you maintain your GPA and complete the required courses. Check the full list here and see if a university you’re interested in is on the list!
Live on Campus - NOT! On top of the already staggering sticker price to attending most universities is the steep additional cost of room and board, which usually far exceeds the cost of renting a local apartment. Most universities, however, require that freshmen (and sometimes sophomores) either live on campus or commute from home. This means that the only way to save on room and board is to live at home, but many students (and some parents) want a bit more distance, and who has the time or money to commute to a school two states away? This article is about saving money, after all! Here is a list of well-known schools that don’t require freshmen to live on campus. Pick a school and start apartment shopping!
In my efforts to uncover these unusual or creative ways to save money on a University Education, I found many, many more resources than I could include in this short newsletter. Please write to me at SeanStein@ilearnacademy.net or call the tutoring center at (847) 834-0791 if you have any questions about the resources in this article, or any of the other information I was unable to include. I’ll be happy to hear from you.
First, last week’s puzzle and answer: You’ve just moved into a new house, and don’t yet know which switches correspond to which lights. There are three switches downstairs, and each corresponds to one of three light bulbs in the attic. You can turn the switches on and off and leave them in any position. How would you identify which switch corresponds to which light bulb, if you are only allowed one trip upstairs?
Keep the first bulb switched on for a few minutes. It gets warm, right? So all you have to do then is ... switch it off, switch another one on, walk into the room with bulbs, and touch them. The warm one is the switch you turned on briefly, the cold bulb is the switch you didn't touch, and the bulb that's lit is, obviously, the switch you left on!
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Now, this week’s new puzzle: An Arab sheikh tells his two sons to race their camels to a distant city to see who will inherit his fortune. However, the son whose camel is slower will win the inheritance. After wandering aimlessly for days, with each son hoping to outlast the other and neither son sure how they're going to end this "race", the brothers ask a wise man for guidance. Upon receiving his advice, they jump on the camels and race to the city as fast as they can! What did the wise man say to them?
Stop Students from Struggling to Study!
Two constant concerns of busy parents are finding after-school care for their children and helping with the continuous stream of homework assignments they bring home, but between the two, we know you generally have to settle for child care. We believe we have a better answer: we’ll provide both! For one low price, your child will get homework help and supplementary education in the core subjects of Math, Reading, and Writing every weekday from 3-6pm. By the time you come to pick up your students, their homework will be complete and they will be well-prepared for the next day at school. You and your children will be ready for a relaxed evening, and you can be confident that their homework is done, and done well. Eliminate homework stress and watch their grades rise? Yes, you can. It's a double win! For further details, give us a call, send us an e-mail, or ask about it the next time you come in for tutoring.
Linked Articles of Interest
$15,000 scholarship? Yes, please! I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t share this scholarship with you! Many of you will be taking the ACT before the end of this school year and that makes you automatically eligible. Click the link above for full details and official rules. Quad Jobs and Way Up These are two websites (Way Up also has an app) that are specifically centered around helping college students and recent grads find jobs. Since they work specifically with companies that want to hire college students, they’re going to be ready to work with the unusual work schedules full-time university students usually require.
* When available, dates are links to further information *
Wednesday, 18 December- New Trier Winter Vocal Jazz concert from 7-9pm at McGee Theater. Tuesday, 7 January - GBS will host a GSO Concerto Competition from 3:30-5pm. Wednesday, 8 January - GBN will host a Concerto Competition from 3:30-6pm. If there are any events at your school that you think should be publicized, please give us a call, send a message to SeanStein@ilearnacademy.net, or tell us about it next time you come in.