Preparing

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FERPA: The Form to Access Your Student’s Academic Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (sometimes referred to as the Buckley Amendment) was designed to protect the privacy of educational records and to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their educational records.  It also provided control over the release of educational record information.  The original intent of this legislation was to keep elementary and high school records private and to give parents access to their child’s school records.
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What About an Online Class for Your College Student?

There is a good chance that at some point in your student’s college career he will have the opportunity to take an online class.  The question is, should he?   There are many appeals to online classes – especially convenience.  Students can complete their entire class without having to go to a classroom or sit through a lecture, and very often, students can complete the work at their own pace and at whatever time of the day or night is convenient.
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College Credit Without Taking a Course?

Did you know that it is possible for students to get college credit for what they already know by taking a CLEP exam?
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Eight Ways to Help Pay for College

The National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education reports that the cost of higher education has risen dramatically. Between 1987 and 1996, the cost of attending public institutions rose by 132 percent, and the cost for private institutions increased by 99 percent both during a period of relatively low inflation with a modest 52 percent increase in family disposable income.
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Rights and Responsibilities in College Admissions

The bumper sticker slogan, "Freedom is not free," applies to college admissions just as it does to democracy.Students have the freedom to apply to college wherever they want, and colleges are free to accept their application, or not.And just as in democracy, freedom in the college admissions process comes with both rights and responsibilities, for the school and for the applicant.
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PURSUING A PASSION BEATS CHECKING ANOTHER BOX

Parents often ask me about the importance of extracurricular activities when it comes to supporting a college, graduate school or job application for their son or daughter.Here's how I answer that question. First, I make clear that four other components of the application are more important because schools and employers have found them to be greater indicators of initial success. These components are:
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What I Read Over my Winter Vacation

While many of you were catching up on your pleasure reading over the recent holidays, I took a different route.Call me a martyr, but one of the many higher-ed-related tomes I tackled by the fire on those dark late December nights was Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much , published by Harvard University Press and written by Ronald G. Ehrenberg, director of the Higher Education Research Institute at Cornell University. I really welcomed the nearby fire, because Prof. Ehrenreich's conclusions were rather chilling.
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Words to Know

Academic Probation – A student can receive this if they fail to keep up with their school’s academic minimums. Those who are unable to improve their grades after receiving this warning can possibly face dismissal.Beer Pong / Beirut – A drinking game with numerous cups of beer arranged in a particular pattern on each side of a table. The goal is to get a ping pong ball into one of the opponent’s cups by throwing the ball or hitting it with a paddle. If the ball lands in a cup, the opponent is required to drink the beer.
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Four Easy Steps To Application Sanity

One peek in your son's room confirms that he's in the midst of the college application process. His floor is littered with school viewbooks, post-it notes obscure his computer screen, and his test score summary has gone AWOL. One thing is certain: if colleges are looking for well-organized students, he'll be getting mostly thin envelopes. You wonder how he'll ever pull it all together!
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FINANCES TOP SURVEY LIST OF CURRENT COLLEGE PARENT CONCERNS

College students' finances are of "extreme" or "great concern" to nearly half of the 1,727 respondents to the Second Annual National Survey on the Current College Parent Experience, which was conducted online from February 23 through March 5, 2007.Approximately one-half of the respondents were made up of those of you who receive this weekly e-mail and who reside in the College Parents of America database. The other half of respondents came from parents who are part of the Student Advantage, LLC database, a College Parents of America partner since 2005.
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Is the SAT Obsolete?

Until recently, it would have been heresy, and just plain bad practical advice, to tell a high school junior or senior with college aspirations not to take the SAT, especially if he or she lived on either coast of the United States.This ritual college admissions test, owned and operated by The College Board and administered by Pearsons, has hit some rocky times though, and now, more than ever, families of college-bound students may want to consider the SAT alternative or not take an admissions test at all.What happened to cause the mighty SAT to wobble?
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Teens Reap Many Benefits from Mentor Relationships

Teens who identify at least one influential, "natural" mentor in their life - a person not assigned by a formal mentoring program - report that they have a higher sense of self and are more likely to take risks that affect their lives positively, according to data recently released by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and Liberty Mutual.
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Other Savings Options

Other Savings OptionsWhile 529 plans may be the hottest and most flexible way to save for college, there are other, non-traditional methods which make sense in certain cases. Recent laws make saving for college via Roth IRAs a lot more favorable than in the past. All three major retirement vehicles listed below have advantages over 529 plans and Coverdells in that none of them count as assets for financial aid purposes, which generally increases grants and overall aid. See the list below for a quick overview:
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Administrator Promoting Parental Involvement

The times they are a changin may be a song from the baby-boom era, but it is also a phrase that aptly describes how colleges are beginning to treat parents.Until the beginning of the 1990s, it was rare for any college or university to think of parents as anything other than good targets for fundraising. A typical pattern for schools was mail tuition bill, receive tuition payment, and send solicitation for annual fund.
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THE GROUND RULES FOR NEED-BASED AID? AT LEAST THERE ARE SOME

The provision of need-based financial aid, at a need-blind school, may be frustrating sometimes in its outcome, but at least it is fairly easy to understand for parents and straightforward to administer for the college or university.
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Attention All Prospective College Parents: You Are Not Alone

If your teenager is fast approaching the time when he or she will head off to college, and you are lying awake at night with dozens, if not hundreds, of questions, you can take solace in that you are not alone.The harsh reality for you, and millions of people like you, is that answering these questions and making informed decisions about test preparation, college selection and college financing cannot be put off any longer.
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Coverdell ESA

Coverdell ESA – The Best Way to Save for K-12 Education Coverdell ESA (formerly called Education IRA) is the most attractive way to save for K-12 expenses, including UGMA/UTMAs and mutual funds. However, there are income requirements that preclude some upper-income families from participating. Coverdell ESA Primary Benefits for Families Coverdell ESA, in addition to […]
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Assessing Campus Security

While your child may be eager to visit colleges to check out the dorms, the study and athletic facilities, the food and the social atmosphere, what shouldn't be overlooked is the level of security provided on campus. Most high school students would not rate this as one of their primary concerns when considering which college to attend, which is why it is often up to their parents to ask important questions about the safety of where their children may be spending the next several years.
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UGMA/UTMA

Overview Prior to 529 plans, UGMA/UTMA was the most tax efficient manner to save for college and transfer wealth to children and grandchildren. UGMA stands for The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, and UTMA stands for The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. UGMA and UTMA are virtually similar in all respects. Purpose of UGMA/UTMA UGMA […]
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Understanding University Success

At College Parents of America, we strive to provide valuable resource information to our members, as well as vigorous advocacy. While many of my recent columns have centered around some of the key advocacy issues that we are focusing on – to serve you – here in Washington, DC, we also work to benefit you […]
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Financial Literacy for Parents and Students

Dear Parents:When your children leave home for college, they will face a host of new experiences and responsibilities. As a parent, you recognize that now they will be "on their own" to tackle life's basic functions - at the same time that they are adjusting to a new environment and new freedoms. To help your student in this transition, he/she should know the "financial facts of life" before opening that first checking account or making that first purchase on credit.