State Financial Aid And The Illinois Monetary Award Program, The Average Cost Of A College Education, and 529 Plans

Listen to the episode:

This July 18 episode we have our Question and Answer Segment with Kristen Ferguson, discuss the Illinois Monetary Award Program, talk to Kendall Stellfox of @Logos Software about the TWO SCHOLARSHIPS OF THE WEEK, and discuss with an investment firm the pros of 529 plans.

Feel free to check it out here and subscribe on iTunes at the College Money Man Blog!

Download The Episode: Ep11 July 18, 2012



22 thoughts on “State Financial Aid And The Illinois Monetary Award Program, The Average Cost Of A College Education, and 529 Plans”

  1. what is the best way to maximize commuting time when you have to spend 2 or more hours on the road a day to get to and from college?


    1. Mindi,

      I love this question, because I have to dig in to find an answer. I am interviewing a financial aid officer today and will ask her and a couple of others and have an answer quickly. Out of curiosity are. You a part of the WIA PROGRAM, Or trying to increase your COA?


      1. I’m just starting at a new college and I’m taking harder classes than I’ve ever taken before. I’m a little nervous about the fact that I have to spend between 2 and 4 hours of possible study time a day on the road commuting for my classes and I know there are a lot of things that take me a much more time to understand than many people I know


  2. What do I do if my parents don’t qualify for the Plus loan and can’t get approved as a cosigner. Do I have other options that won’t require a cosigner?




    1. Hello Michelle

      Thank you for your comment. Can you help clarify a few things for me to help find an answer for you?

      1) what grade is your child in
      2) have you filed the FAFSA this year. And if so what was yourEFC?
      3) have you or you spouse either lost their job, for any reason been ld off,had a strike or work slowdown?


      1. Hi!
        I’m basically on the same boat. I have applied for more than 15 scholarships all having to do with essays and reading…hard stuff. I apply to almost every scholarship possible and have checked for scholarships on the web that others may not know of to find a possibility to win one! It’s so hard looking for scholarships that you can actually win or are eligible for, it’s like a part time job!

        I just graduated high school and I did file for FAFSA and that wasn’t enough but it is definitely a blessing to have some help! One of my parent’s lost their job and i’m just stressing out on how to pay for tuition, books, labs, supplies, parking permit. Is there anything that will help me pay for school? I’ve heard of some people that get free books from a site but I could never find that information. Help please!!


        1. Try to see if your school has a book borrowing program. Sometimes schools have vouchers as long as your return the book. Also if she knows upperclass students who have old books that is great. Have them check the library if they have the books that she needs in their resource section. Some teachers keep an extra copy of the class text in the library for students who cannot afford books. Lastly, try having her share with someone until you can get her books. Amazon and Textbook renters are pretty good too! Good luck!


  4. How soon can I start paying back loans? I am a first year college student, and I have already had to take out $4,500 in loans. I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to use any loans, but that was not an option for me, and I am worried about how I will pay all of this money back on my own. On average, how much money in loans do students who graduate after four years accumulate?



    1. hi Brianna,

      This is a great question. Now oddly enough, the national average for graduates right now is at $24k in debt upon graduation. So far you are below the average.

      Now you can begin paying on student loans at anytime without penalty or restriction, that’s the law! NelNet or whomever services your loan has to accept all payments and credit them properly.

      Now here’s the thing, in always say this and for you the same is true: one should never take out more in loans than you will make in your fist years salary, unless you are earning a professional doctorate such as an Md. or JD,DVM etc…

      So think about your Career path of your major and check. The first year salary expectations. Use the average number to determine what your loan limit should be and stick with it!

      I would however recommend if you are going to work, try to get federal work study while in college. It’s good for the resume and it doesn’t count against you in the following years financial aid analysis,

      No matter what, good luck, and keep with it!




  5. Ever since summer started I have been applying to several scholarship, but I havn’t received any. Everyone says apply to scholarship as if it is easy to get; HELP ME PLEASE.


  6. I have applied to innumerable scholarships but never have been a successful recipient. I literally know about a l00 folks who have applied to fast.web scholarships and none of them were lucky either. Most of us think it’s a scam honestly, never heard of anyone we know winning anything there.
    Can you help? I have a disability (which is well-documented) and am looking especially for scholarships targeted at people with disabilities.


    1. i hope you have checked with Financial Aid at your college. They can usually give you a lot of good advice and places to check. Also, have you checkedc online for ‘disability’ scholarships.. Also check to see what your state may have.. You never know.
      Otherwise, all I know is to keep on doing what you are doing.


  7. Hello,
    I’m a married student and I am disparately searching for scholarship. Unfortunately FAFSA covered just a little of my tuition while our income is very low… Please help me to find scholarship.

    Thank you


    1. Sara,

      Do me a favor and answer a few questions to help me diagnose the issue:

      1) Have either yourself or your spouse lost their job in the last 18 months?
      2) what was your AGI last year as filed on your 1040?
      3) What is your intended major, and will you be going full time.

      Let me know so i can help suggest a solution.




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