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7 things you’ll need before filling out FAFSA form ‌The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the primary form that the federal government, states and colleges use to award grants, scholarships, work study and student loans. The FAFSA determines how much financial aid (grants, loans, work study) a student can receive. To apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans, and work-study, you need to complete the FAFSA. Grants and scholarships are free, but you have to earn the work study dollars and pay back the loans. Completing and submitting the FAFSA is easier than ever, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school. Students are now able to submit a FAFSA earlier. The earlier submission date is a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 every year. This better aligns the financial aid and college application processes and gives students more time to apply for aid. Many states and colleges also use it to determine how much state aid, like HOPE scholarships, and institutional aid to award. The FAFSA is also imperative for parents and students to determine how much of their own money they will have to provide and which colleges they can afford. The U.S. Department of Education’s Home Room blog says these are the seven things you’ll need before filling out your FAFSA form.

Ready to start? Once you’re ready, you have several ways to complete the FAFSA form, including the fafsa.gov website or the new myStudentAid mobile app. Using the app, you can fill out the FAFSA form safely and securely from your mobile device. SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO‌

2019–20 FAFSA form should create an FSA ID as soon as possible. „„ If you are required to provide parent information on your FAFSA form, your parent should create an FSA ID too. „„ Because your FSA ID is equivalent to your signature, parents and students each need to create their own FSA IDs using their own email address and phone number. Parents should not create an FSA ID for their child and vice versa. „„ In some situations, you may need to wait up to three days to use your FSA ID after creating it.

2. Your Social Security number

You can find the number on your Social Security card. If you don’t have access to it, and don’t know where it is, ask your parent or legal guardian or get a new or replacement Social Security card from the Social Security Administration. If you are not a U.S. citizen, but meet Federal Student Aid’s basic eligibility requirements, you’ll also need 1. Your FSA ID An FSA ID is a username and your Alien Registration number. password that you can use to log in to certain U.S. Department of 3. Your driver’s license Education websites. Each stu- number dent, and one parent of each dependent student, will need an If you don’t have a driver’s liFSA ID to complete the FAFSA cense, then don’t worry about process on fafsa.gov. We rec- this step. ommend creating your FSA ID early — even before you’re ready 4. Your 2017 tax records to complete the FAFSA form — to In case you didn’t hear about the changes we made to the avoid delays in the process. „„ Anyone who plans to fill out the FAFSA process, beginning with

the 2017–18 FAFSA form, we now require you to report income information from an earlier tax year. „„ On the 2019–20 FAFSA form, you (and your parents, as appropriate) will report your 2017 income information, rather than your 2018 income information. „„ You can import your tax information into the FAFSA form right away using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). „„ Not everyone is eligible to use the IRS DRT; and the IRS DRT does not input all the financial information required on the FAFSA form. Therefore, you should have your 2017 tax return and 2017 IRS W-2 available for reference. „„ You cannot use your 2018 tax information. If you have experienced a reduction in income since the 2017 tax year, you should complete the FAFSA form with the info it asks for (2017), and then contact each of the schools to which you’re applying to explain and document the change in income. They have the ability to assess your situation and make adjustments to your FAFSA form if warranted. „„ You cannot update your 2019–20 FAFSA form with your 2018 tax information after filing 2018 taxes. 2017 information is what’s required. No updates necessary; no updates allowed.

5. Records of your untaxed income The FAFSA questions about

On the app, you can also manage your FSA ID, view your federal student aid history and loan information, and more.

untaxed income may or may not apply to you; they include things like child support received, inThe myStudentAid app is terest income, and veterans available from both the Apple noneducation benefits. On the App Store (iOS) and Google 2019–20 FAFSA form, you’ll Play (Android). report 2017 tax or calendar year information when asked these questions. bonds and real estate (but not the home in which your family 6. Records of your assets lives). You should report the current amounts as of the date (money) you sign the FAFSA form, rather This section includes sav- than reporting the 2017 tax year ings and checking account bal- amounts. ances, as well as the value of investments such as stocks and Please see FAFSA, Page 4


Sunday, March 17, 2019 | 3



UIU PHOTO‌

Upper Iowa University:

EMPOWERING LIVES,

INSPIRING SUCCESS

‌FAYETTE — Since its inception in 1857, Upper Iowa University’s unwavering commitment to accessible higher education and lifelong learning ensures that current and future UIU students are provided with the skills they need to be successful in the classroom, career and life. A private, nonprofit university, UIU provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs to about 5,800 students worldwide. Students get a traditional college experience of excellent education, tradition and innovation within a comfortable and welcoming campus environment in Fayette. However, as a UIU education is an Education Built for Life, the university also has 21 locations across the United States — as well as in Hong Kong. UIU offers more than 40 majors to choose from, and all utilize a unique, flexible course schedule. Each academic year consists of five 8-week sessions and one accelerated 6-week summer session, so UIU students typically take less classes at a time. Many students blend their degree plan by taking both face-to-face and online courses. Other students get a jump on completion by easily transferring in up to 90 undergraduate credits or 12 graduate credits from other schools. Credits may also be earned through an individual’s work experience via an experiential learning portfolio

or various college examinations. With a university-wide 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio, the UIU experience helps students become confident in their abilities, challenges them to achieve their educational and career goals, connects them with professionals within their desired field, and inspires them to reach their full potential. This kind of hands-on learning is a key reason why 94 percent of graduates are employed or continuing their education shortly after commencement. UIU has competitive tuition and highly skilled professionals to help students understand and make the most of financial aid. In addition, most students are eligible for endowed or institutional scholarships to further lower the cost of their UIU education. Students who are completing a two-year degree at another college are encouraged to inquire about UIU’s new transfer tuition scholarship program; eligible students earn a scholarship of up to $19,910. In addition, UIU’s Corporate Advantage Program provides tuition grants and other benefits to employees of participating companies. UIU is a proud participating institution in the Principles of Excellence and Yellow Ribbon programs, having been repeatedly Please see UIU, Page 4


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UIU From 3

named a top Military-Friendly University by Military Advanced Education & Transition and Victory Media. The university offers a wide variety of educational opportunities tailored to fit the dynamic lifestyle of today’s military personnel and their families. Located at Fayette Campus, the UIU Military and Veterans Service Center (MVSC) provides a relaxing physical space for veterans and military-affiliated students to study and connect with other students. Assistance is available to students and the university’s total military family who need help navigating all of UIU’s resources. The most recent of the UIU

graduate programs, the Master of Sport Administration is an online degree program in a fastpaced curriculum. The UIU Master of Education is tailored to the needs of classroom teachers and accommodates the tight schedules of working adults. The Master of Business Administration is a forward-thinking curriculum providing students a perspective in leadership, functional department integration, ethical management and risk assessment. In addition, the Master of Public Administration degree provides learners with the current theories, concepts and learning models necessary to assume leadership roles. For additional information about Upper Iowa University, visit uiu.edu or call 800-5534150.

SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO‌

FAFSA From 2

7. List of the school(s) you are interested in attending Be sure to add any college you’re considering, even if you haven’t applied or been accepted yet. „„ Even if there is only a slight chance you’ll apply to a college, list the school on your FAFSA form. You can always remove schools later if you decide not to apply, but if you wait to add a school, you could miss out on first-come, first-served financial aid.

„„ The schools you list on your

FAFSA form will automatically receive your FAFSA results electronically. They will use your FAFSA information to determine the types and amounts of financial aid you may receive. „„ If you add a school to your FAFSA form and later decide not to apply for admission to that school, that’s OK! The school likely won’t offer you aid until you’ve been accepted anyway. „„ You can list up to 10 schools at a time on your FAFSA form. You can find more information about federal student aid through the following sources: Visit StudentAid.gov.


Sunday, March 17, 2019 | 5



NICC PHOTO‌

Darius Miles and Melody Gossman

THE FIRST CHOICE: R ight Choic e. Northeast Iowa Community College MAKE THE

‌CALMAR — Northeast Iowa Community College is the first choice for thousands of students each year whose academic goals focus on earning a transferable associate’s degree in two years or less and continuing their education to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree. Their reasons for enrolling at NICC are as varied as the transfer degrees available, yet have several things in common. Students at the college love small class sizes, the positive campus environment, getting to know their instructors personally and knowing that their credits will transfer seamlessly to a fouryear college or university after graduation. “I always thought that I would start off right into a four-year school and skip the community college. Northeast Iowa Community College was my first visit and, from the moment I came here, it felt like a great fit! I will be transferring all 65 of my Ag Business credits from NICC to Iowa State University next year, and I will begin as a junior,” explained Melody Gossman, an agriculture business student. Melody researched four-year universities in Iowa and Minnesota, yet wanted to stay closer to home. She enrolled at NICC after meeting agriculture science faculty and learning about the strong transfer agreement between the college and Iowa State University. Staying closer to family and friends also guided Darius Miles’ decision to enroll in Northeast Iowa Community College’s Marketing Management program.

The confidence of knowing that the credits he’s earning at NICC will transfer easily to a four-year college or university after graduation make a huge difference in his future plans. “When I graduate, all of my credits will transfer as the first, two years of a four-year degree — I’ll already be a junior. By coming to Northeast Iowa Community College first, I have the chance to see if college is really for me. It’s a comfortable environment, with some of the best teachers. Small class sizes connect me to teachers and peers more, and the relaxed environment gives you the chance to really focus,” Darius said. Students who complete associate’s degrees at a community college and transfer to a fouryear college or university derive tremendous financial benefit. Annual tuition at Northeast Iowa Community College is estimated at $5,100. An Iowa Postsecondary Annual Tuition Comparison study for academic year 2017-2018 indicated that students receive a substantial return on their investment by attending NICC, compared to the $7,466 students can expect to pay attending an Iowa public four-year college. The study estimated that annual tuition at a four-year private college in Iowa was $27,978. Northeast Iowa Community College is the first choice. Start your academic career with a two-year degree at NICC, transfer your credits to a four-year college or university and start as a junior. Visit www.nicc.edu/ transfer to learn more.

AFFORDABLE. $

Iowa Annual Tuition Comparison Northeast Iowa Community College

$5,100*

Public: Iowa 4-Year College

$7,466

*

Private: Iowa 4-Year College

$27,977*

RETURN ON INVESTMENT. Tuition saved by starting at NICC and transferring to a four-year university.

$4,732 to $45,756*

IN DEMAND PROGRAMS. John Deere TECH

Respiratory Care

Upon completion, John Deere TECH students are guaranteed a job in the industry.

Practice skills in Health Simulation Lab.

Earn a degree in two years or less and start earning $30,572 - $43,347*.

Earn a degree in less than two years and start earning up to $44,265 - $59,773*.

VISIT CAMPUS TODAY.

www.nicc.edu/visit

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS); Academic Year 2017-18 Preliminary Release; Northeast Iowa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC); EMSI 2018.3; Salary range represents median annual wage for related occupations within a 100-mile radius from the center distance between Calmar and Peosta Campuses. All data is accurate at time of printing.


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Experience Ellsworth Community College ‌IOWA FALLS – What does it mean to experience Ellsworth? This close-knit atmosphere makes Ellsworth students feel right at home. Located in Iowa’s “scenic city,” the beautiful campus is located near the Iowa River. ECC’s campus is just a short walk away from downtown which is full of fun shops and delicious restaurants. ECC has more than 55 degree programs to choose from, ranging from nursing to criminal justice and athletic training to agriculture. You can keep busy with an array of student clubs, activities and sporting events to attend. ECC has one of the highest student success rates of any community college in

Iowa. Another reason so many students choose to start their college experience at Ellsworth and then transfer credits for a bach-

elor’s degree is because ECC has dual enrollment agreements with the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and

Iowa State University. That means when you enroll at ECC, you can also be enrolled at one of the Regent universities at the same time. Dual enrollment gives ECC students the same student resources as those attending a Regent university. Many ECC students majoring in engineering, marketing or veterinary medicine choose dual enrollment because it also allows them to save money by earning credits before transferring to a big university. Other ECC degree programs such as nursing, mobile service technology or equine management lead directly to a career after graduation. Many other programs are trans-

ferrable, so you can earn valuable (and transferrable) credits while you decide on a career path. Here’s even more good news about Ellsworth: „„ Over $800,000 is awarded in ECC scholarships each year. More than 90 percent of our students receive some type of scholarship or financial aid. „„ ECC isn’t the biggest — just the best! Our smaller class size allows you a more hands-on approach to learning and our instructors are outstanding. „„ Our faculty and staff are known (and appreciated) for their support of and commitment to their students. „„ Our intercollegiate

athletic programs are among the best — football, volleyball, wrestling, basketball, baseball, sport shooting and softball. „„ There are a lot of activities, events, clubs and organizations for students. You can be highly involved, meet lots of people, and build a great college resume at Ellsworth. ECC offers Panther Preview Days for prospective students. For Panther Preview dates/times or to reserve a space for yourself and a parent or friend, contact the ECC Admissions Office at (641) 6484611 or 800-322-9235 or eccinfo@iavalley.edu. There’s more information online at EllsworthCollege.com.

Ellsworth Community College An amazing experience! ECC has more than 55 degree program options, from Agriculture and Criminal Justice to Equine Science, Graphic Design and Nursing. ECC students graduate with $10,200 to $15,920 less debt than students at Iowa’s public universities or private colleges. And ECC’s partnerships with UNI, Iowa State and Iowa make it easy to transfer your Ellsworth credits. Ellsworth’s not the biggest... just the BEST! Call or visit the ECC Admissions Office to apply for scholarships and EXPERIENCE ELLSWORTH!

ELLSWORTH

Community College IOWA VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT

1100 College Avenue, Iowa Falls l 1-800-322-9235 l

eccinfo@iavalley.edu

l

EllsworthCollege.com


Sunday, March 17, 2019 | 7



Hawkeye readies students for careers ‌ here’s a difference between a T job and a career, and no one knows that better than the students at Hawkeye Community College. A career typically requires specialized training and demands higher wages, and Hawkeye has a strong tradition of preparing students for high-demand positions that pay well. Through knowledgeable instruction, hands-on experience, and industry-grade technology, students can connect to better jobs in a short timeframe. In fact, students can graduate with an associate’s degree at Hawkeye and start earning $50,000 or more within two years of starting the program. For example, graduates of Hawkeye’s Network Administration and Engineering could earn between $36,700 and $51,600 a year as a computer network administrator, according to the 2018 Iowa Wage Report by Iowa Workforce Development. Chris Levine is one of Hawkeye’s many success stories. Levine got his two-year degree in Network Administration and Engineering and jumped into a high-paying position immediately out of college. “Hawkeye did a great job of preparing me for the field,” said Levine, who is now the senior systems executive at Cognizant. “Hawkeye provided me with plenty of hands-on learning opportunities with lab work that helped prepare me for my current role. Many aspects of the curriculum challenged me and helped me develop the necessary troubleshooting and critical thinking skills for IT.” Diana Staver is another success story. After being in the workforce nearly four years, she entered the Industrial Maintenance Technology program at Hawkeye. Upon graduation, John Deere hired her as a skilled trades electrician at roughly double her previous wage. “I liked diving into hands-on stuff, so I enjoyed basically everything about the program at Hawkeye,” Staver said.

INTERESTED IN A

$50,000+ CAREER IN TWO YEARS OR LESS?

HCC PHOTO‌

In the Civil and Construction Engineering Technology program at Hawkeye, students prepare for a career as a technician who helps civil engineers, surveyors, contractors, and architects. Hawkeye offers many paths to a career that pays more than $50,000 a year. For example, students can prepare to be a robotic tech (with a starting salary range of $42,400–$53,000), civil engineering tech ($33,900–$52,400), dental hygienist ($56,400– $69,700), electronics engineering tech ($43,800–$61,100), or a respiratory therapist ($43,800– $51,500). Best of all, if students don’t know which program to take, that’s OK. Hawkeye can help people figure that out based on interest, ability, experience, and desired future income. “I’d tell someone to look at their current situation and define what they don’t like about it,” Levine said. “Is it the compensation? Are you not being challenged? Whatever it is, take those reasons and give yourself some answers on how to overcome them.” Staver has similar advice for anyone considering Hawkeye. “Don’t be afraid to step outside what you’re used to doing,” she said. “Take the time to research different careers and programs. It can be a bit scary, but it can be a blessing in disguise, too.” Are you interested in one of these careers? Learn more at www. hawkeyecollege.edu/50k-careers. Or, to explore different career or degree options, contact Hawkeye and schedule a campus visit by calling (319) 296-4000 or visiting www.hawkeyecollege.edu/visit.

CIVIL ENGINEERING TECH Starting wages: $33,900 – $52,400

DENTAL HYGIENIST Starting wages: $56,400 – $69,700

ELECTRONICS ENGINEERING TECH Starting wages: $43,800 – $61,100

RESPIRATORY THERAPIST Starting wages: $43,800 – $51,500

ROBOTIC TECH Starting wages: $42,400 – $53,000

Computer Network Administrator Starting wages: $36,700 – $51,600

CONNECT TO HIGHER PAY. www.hawkeyecollege.edu /50k-careers


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Can I afford college? NERDWALLET

I‌ t’s OK to borrow some money for school. But a college education does come with a cost — one that becomes very real after graduation if student loan payments affect where you live and work, and how much you can save for the future.

Estimate costs

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, opened on Oct. 1, 2018, for the 2019-20 school year. The form gives you access to free federal aid such as Pell Grants, plus low-interest federal student loans. Fill it out as soon as possible if you haven’t already; some aid, such as federal workstudy, is first come, first served. The FAFSA will give you an Expected Family Contribution,

the amount of money the government calculates your family can provide for college. Use the net price calculator for each school you’re interested in to see how much you’ll likely pay per year based on your family’s income. These two numbers should give you a picture of the schools that will require massive yearly student loan borrowing, and those that are more affordable. It isn’t easy to let go of your vision of college if your dream school is too expensive. Yes, you can always appeal for more financial aid, and living at home or applying for outside scholarships can help offset costs. But your likely student loan burden should be one of the top factors you consider when figuring out where to apply and where to go.

Spring 2019 College Guide

Focus on loan payment

Here’s how to decide whether a school is truly affordable: Your student loan payment after graduation should be no more than 10 percent of your monthly take-home pay. That’s true for both parents and students. Use a student loan affordability calculator to find your maximum loan payment. As a student, you’ll need to know your expected first-year salary, which you can find in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook . No idea what you’ll do after school? Use $50,000 as an upper bound; that’s the median annual salary for 25- to 34-year olds with bachelor’s degrees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. But

Higher education comes with very real cost

depending on where you live, But in general, it’s troublingly $30,000 or $40,000 could be easy for parents to borrow too more realistic, especially for much in PLUS loans. Also, PLUS your first year out of school. loans require a credit check, so if a parent can’t qualify, a stuChoose right loans dent may be able to get more Keep an eye on the type of unsubsidized federal loans. loans you opt for, too. Choose Parents should keep their federal loans first, and take out borrowing well below the 10 the maximum amount of subsi- percent threshold referenced dized and unsubsidized federal above, and potentially look into direct loans that you can as a private loans, if they can get student. lower interest rates than PLUS Parent PLUS loans have loans offer. Many private loans higher interest rates and fees also offer the option to remove than federal student loans, the parent as the co-signer later and they have higher borrow- on, leaving the student with the ing limits. Parents who work responsibility for payoff. for nonprofits could get PLUS More than half of student loans forgiven through the Pub- loan borrowers in 2017 said lic Service Loan Forgiveness their education wasn’t worth Program, as long as they go the debt they took on, accordthrough the process of making ing to a NerdWallet survey. You those loans eligible. don’t have to be one of them.

❑ Ellsworth Community College ❑ Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) 2018 Spring College 1100 College Ave. Peosta CampusGuide Iowa Falls, IA 50126 8342 NICC Drive. Admission: 641-648-4611 or 800-322-9235 Website: ecc.iavalley.edu ❑ Hawkeye Community College 1501 East Orange Rd. Waterloo, IA 50701 Admission: 319-296-4000 Website: www.hawkeyecollege.edu ❑ North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) 500 College Dr. Mason City, IA 50401 Admissions: 1-888-GO-NIACC Website: www.niacc.edu ❑ Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Calmar Campus 1625 Hwy 150 South; P.O. Box 400 Calmar, IA 52132 Admission: 833-NICC-EDU Website: www.nicc.edu

To request more information, check the desired box (es) and mail form or go online to www.wcfcourier.com

ATTN: SHEILA KERNS P.O. Box 540, Waterloo, IA 50704 | sheila.kerns@wcfcourier.com

Peosta, IA 52068 Admission: 833-NICC-EDU Website: www.nicc.edu ❑ Prairie Lakes Church 1907 Viking Rd. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Admissions: 319-266-2655 Website: prairielakeschurch.org/cll ❑ University of Northern Iowa 002 Gilchrist Hall Cedar Falls, IA 50614 Admission: 319-273-2281 Website: www.uni.edu ❑ Upper Iowa University - Cedar Rapids 700 Bell Dr. SW Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 Admission: 319-848-8488 Website: www.uiu.edu/cedarrapids

❑ Upper Iowa University - Fayette Campus 605 Washington St., PO Box 1857 Fayette, IA 52142 Admission: 563-425-5281 Website: www.uiu.edu ❑ Upper Iowa University - Waterloo Center 3563 University Ave. Waterloo, IA 50701 Admission: 319-232-6980 Website: uiu.edu/waterloo ❑ Waldorf University 106 S. 6th St. Forest City, IA 50436 Admission: 800-292-1903 Website: waldorf.edu

Check out the Spring College Guide at the link below: http://wcfcourier.com/app/bookshelf/special/

Name: ___________________________ Address:_____________________ City:________________ State:________ Zip Code:_____________________ High School:________________________Year of Graduation:_____________ Phone Number:__________________ Email:__________________________


Sunday, March 17, 2019 | 9



NIACC offers new facilities, real-world opportunities ‌MASON CITY — You really need to see it to believe it. Our brand new state-of-the-art Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) wing, which opened last fall, features almost 30,000 square feet of spacious, flexible classrooms and innovative labs. Everything about this space has been built to provide collaborative areas for you to hang out, study and work with your peers and instructors. A maker-space classroom creates opportunities for flexible learning with tables and chairs that fold up and tables that function as a whiteboards. The well-lit rooms and hallways benefit from abundant natural light and the numerous energy conservation practices in place create a healthy and earth-friendly learning environment. Our students love it,

NIACC PHOTO‌

and you will too!

and Diesel Technology Center to provide students with inInnovative: In the past three novative, real-world learning years, we have opened a new opportunities and experiences. Health Care Simulation Center Partnerships with local and na-

tional businesses offer unique success coach. Individual rooms industry-specific opportunities, have a loft feel with wireless intools and experiences. ternet, cable TV, quartz countertops, wood laminate floors and Affordable: We believe that your tile showers. education should be affordable. Whether you have already Beginning a four-year college mapped out a plan for your life, degree at NIACC could save or are considering many possiyour family over $8,000 in the bilities, an education at NIACC first two years. Additionally, NI- will provide you with the opACC and the NIACC Foundation portunities and support to learn award over $1 million in scholar- more, do more, and become ships each year! more. Small class sizes and supportive faculty ensure that you Home away from home: If you will never feel lost in the crowd. See what our students have to are hoping to stay close to home — but still have the complete say: http://niacc.college-tour. college experience — our Cam- com. Then, schedule your campus View Student Housing pus visit — we would love to Complex fits the bill beautifully. show you around! Completed in 2015, the housing Whatever your educational complex features floor lounges goals are and wherever you are with large screen TVs, gorgeous in your journey, we will help you lake views, a convenience store, get there. Make NIACC your first computer lab and access to a choice!

Our new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) wing features the latest in design and technology. Spacious, flexible classrooms, state-of-the-art labs, and ample collaborative spaces emphasize connectivity between faculty and students and inspire innovative learning.


10 | Sunday, March 17, 2019

3 reasons to choose a 5 things to know about financial aid college based on price award letters

ANNA HELHOSKI

NerdWallet via Associated Press ‌

Many prospective students ‌ choose a college for its location, its reputation or even its campus vibe. Here are three reasons to choose a college based on price.

Avoid high debt

If you pick an affordable college, you’re less likely to be burdened with high debt. Borrowing less now will leave you with more money for other things you might want to do eventually, like buy a home, take the vacation of a lifetime or start a family. It also frees up money for you to make smart financial decisions like build an emergency fund or save for retirement. The sticker price of a school will show you tuition, fees, room and board. But the net price is the best indicator of affordability—it’s how much you’ll pay after factoring in free financial aid. In general, public colleges and universities are cheaper than private ones. But say you get $35,000 in grant aid and scholarships to attend a private school with a sticker price of $50,000. It would be more affordable than a $20,000-per-year public college that offers you nothing. Before you apply, use the net price calculator available on a prospective college’s site. Then when you get your college acceptances, compare financial aid award letters to see how much free financial aid you qualify for, such as grants, scholarships and work-study, along with federal loans.

Give parents a break

If your parents plan to help you with college costs, choosing a less expensive school can help them avoid tapping their savings, home equity or retirement. Along with using income and savings for college costs, par-

AP FILE PHOTO‌

Students walk past Sather Gate on the University of California at Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Calif. ents might take on private loans or federal PLUS loans. Parent PLUS borrowers take an average $16,100 per year, according to The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization. PLUS loans have higher interest rates and fewer repayment plans available compared to federal direct loans, which undergraduates take. That means it’s cheaper for you to borrow than your parents, and you’ll have more time to repay the debt. It also leaves your parents’ savings intact.

Better return

The lower your college costs, the better the chance you’ll get a satisfying return on your investment. That means earning enough after graduating to justify the expense of attending school. To figure out which schools have the best chance of setting you up for success, start with the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard . It has key details including average net price, graduation rates and typical salaries after attending. It also shows you popular majors, which you can use as a starting

point to learn more about possible careers. Next, research potential careers and earnings using the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. It includes job descriptions, schooling required and potential job growth. Sites like PayScale, Salary.com and Glassdoor also have information on salary potential. Using that salary information, aim to keep your payments under 10 percent of projected after-tax monthly income in your first year out of school. Say you think you’ll earn $45,000 in your first year out of college and you have only federal loans with the standard 10-year repayment term and 5.05 percent interest rate. Limiting payments to 10 percent of your income means a monthly payment of about $250, which would allow you to borrow no more than $23,600. A student loan affordability calculator can show more estimates. Remember to factor in total costs for at least four years of school, too. NerdWallet: Is College Worth It? Here’s How to Do the Math http:// bit.ly/nerdwallet-is-college-worth-it

‌High school students across the country will soon be eagerly awaiting financial aid award letters from colleges. According to a recent survey from College Ave Students Loans by Barnes & Noble College Insights, more than twice as many parents (69 percent) found this time — figuring out how to pay for college — more stressful than the college selection process (30 percent). Joe DePaulo, CEO and CoFounder of College Ave Student Loans, wants to decoe one of the most important documents on the road to college: the financial aid award letter.

1. Financial aid award letters can be confusing. Financial aid letters vary from school to school. There is no uniform format they must follow, so each letter can vary in how they use symbols (such as L or LN for loans) and even how they calculate the cost of college. Make sure to compare how items such as scholarships, loans and workstudy are applied to the bottom line.

2. Know the net price of college. Your letter may include the cost of attendance (COA), which is an estimate of what you can expect to pay for one year of school. Typically the COA includes tuition, fees, and room and board. To find the ‘net price’ at the college, subtract the ‘free aid,’ or scholarships and grants, from the COA. This net price — which sometimes can be significantly lower than the “sticker” price of a college — is the amount the family is expected to pay.

3. Expect to pay more.

letters typically call out the “expected family contribution” (EFC), expect to pay more over the course of the year. According to the College Ave survey, 59 percent of parents said college was more expensive than they had anticipated. Parking, transportation home, club and organization fees, even dining out, can add to the bottom line.

4. You can petition your award letter. If you felt the financial aid award letter did not accurately represent your family’s needs, you can ask the school to re-evaluate your financial aid offer (especially if your circumstances have changed). Contact the financial aid office and request they review your cost of attendance to ensure it includes other expenses (such as childcare) or changes in your ability to pay (job loss or medical costs), which may help you secure more money in grants, work-study or loans.

5. Keep applying for scholarships. Be sure to apply for specialty scholarships unique to your area of educational study or even local area. One easy scholarship to apply for is the College Ave $1,000 Scholarship Monthly Sweepstakes. If you find you still fall short after scholarships and grants and federal loans in the student’s name, one option to consider is a private student loan. Check out the College Ave Student Loans calculator to find out how different repayment plans save you money over the total cost of the loan.

Though financial aid award Source: BRANDPOINT


Sunday, March 17, 2019 | 11



A plot for success at Waldorf College FOREST CITY — Sleep pa‌ ralysis, a nightmare in itself but imagine being plagued by apparitions as you lay immobile and terrified. That’s what one student experiences in the film “Hatman,” a terrifying creation written and directed by Waldorf University alumni, Carlos Ruiz. Wait, you haven’t heard of this film? Chances are you will hear about this and other films emerging from budding talent at Waldorf University. Cut to Carlos Ruiz, a filmmaker, adjunct professor of communications at Waldorf University and a 2014 Waldorf University graduate. Ruiz, under the pseudonym Charlie Gandez, produced the short horror film “Hatman” along with the help of a crew of students and alums. Led by producer Mark Newcom, associate professor and director of electronic media at Waldorf, the crew learned to cast,

shoot and edit a film in a few action-packed weeks. Here’s a close up: The film features the character Dr. Gregory Knight, a university psychiatrist, treating a student who witnesses apparitions during sleep paralysis. Dr. Knight sees an eerie connection between the students’ story and her missing roommates’ similar experience. But does he make the connection in time? Despite the plot, the film is anything but a sleeper. “Hatman” was accepted into the Snake Alley Festival of Film in Burlington and premiered at the Capitol Theatre. In addition to being accepted into the Halloweenpalooza festival, “Hatman” has also been accepted into Produce Iowa’s Film Lounge competition and may premiere on Iowa Public Television. Now, cut to YOU — you have

big ideas and colossal talent. You are a visionary, an artist who sees life through a different lens. Your brain was made for the big screen. But wait, it’s too early to buy new shoes for Oscar night. Let us help you get there. As a student in the Waldorf University Communications program, you will learn by doing. From day one on campus, you’ll have your hands on the latest digital media equipment and software. Best of all, you will be mentored by professionals who already succeed in the business. Success like this will be your new norm at Waldorf University. Visit us at www.waldorf.edu/ communications to learn how to launch your creative career in digital communications. WALDORF PHOTO‌ We’ll see you on campus. Just Carlos Ruiz, creator and director of the independent horror film promise to remember us on the “Hatman,” attending the Snake Alley Festival of Film in Burlington red carpet.

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12 | Sunday, March 17, 2019

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SUCCESS 94%

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