The College Solutions Blog

Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.

Student Loans
April 27, 2012

Picking a Private College Loan: 8 Things You Need to Know

If you possess excellent credit and intend to pay down a college loan fairly aggressively, taking out a private college loan can make sense. People with sterling credit can get better interest rates going this route than with the federal Parent PLUS Loan. Here are eight things to know about private college loans: 1. Check out credit unions. Credit unions...
Read More
April 26, 2012

Why Private Student Loans Are Scary

On my college blog this week, I’ve been focusing on what you need to know about borrowing for college. If you missed them, my previous two posts shared advice on federal student and parent loans: What You Need to Know About Borrowing for College How Parents Can Borrow for College Today I’m exploring private college loans. Before turning to private...
Read More
April 24, 2012

How Parents Can Borrow for College

Are you a parent who needs to borrow for college? Most of the attention is focused on college loans that students take out, but there are parent loans as well. In case you missed it, I wrote about federal student loans in my last college blog post: What You Need to Know About Borrowing for College Today, I’m going to...
Read More
April 23, 2012

What You Need to Know About Borrowing for College

As recently as the early 1990s, most students did not take out college loans. Today about two out of every three students borrow to pay for college. One reason for the dramatic change is this fact: during the last-quarter century, tuition has risen four times faster than the consumer price index. The typical student borrower is now leaving school with...
Read More
April 20, 2012

When Two Children Head to College

Yesterday’s post, which explored the school options of a brilliant teenager from Wisconsin, generated many insightful comments from parents.  Here is the post: Should a Kid Borrow $80,000 for a Brand-Name University? If you missed the post or the comments, I’d urge you to check both out. To summarize, the teenager managed to get admitted to some elite schools including...
Read More
April 19, 2012

Should a Kid Borrow $80,000 for a Brand Name University?

I am sharing an email that I received Tuesday from a Wisconsin mom, who is stressed about the admission decision that her teenage son must make by May 1. What follows is a cautionary tale for any families which have not been through the college admission process yet. Read on to discover how to avoid the kind of mistakes that...
Read More
March 19, 2012

An Inside Look at Financial Aid Appeals

When you appeal a college’s financial aid award what happens to your request? During the last admission season, The Chronicle of Higher Education provided an inside glimpse into how a financial aid appeal is handled internally in a fascinating article entitled: When Families Ask Colleges for More Money A Chronicle reporter observed financial aid deliberations that took place among senior...
Read More
March 12, 2012

An End to Bad Financial Aid Award Letters

Last week I wrote two college blog posts that included examples of confusing financial aid letters. If you missed them, here they are: Are These Financial Aid Letters Misleading? What’s Missing From This Financial Aid Letter? I received a couple of notes from independent college counselors saying that they were going to use the awards that I highlighted as templates...
Read More
March 9, 2012

Are These Financial Aid Letters Misleading?

If you didn’t see my college blog post from yesterday, I’d urge you to take a peek. I wrote about misleading financial aid awards, which can cause parents to think that a school is going to be more affordable than it really is. Here is the post: What’s Missing From This Financial Aid Letter? Today I want to offer three...
Read More
March 8, 2012

What’s Missing From This Financial Aid Letter?

Many financial aid letters  — heck almost all of them —  are confusing. I’ve always wondered why award letters are so difficult to understand. Perhaps the staffers generating these letters in the bowels of universities have been conversing in financial-aid speak for so long that they have lost their ability to communicate in standard English. Of course, the cynical explanation...
Read More