Paying for College: Should I Save Now or Borrow Later?

Experts have been saying for years that it’s much less expensive to save for college than it is to borrow money to cover the costs of your higher education. To see the huge difference between the two options, read the Saving vs. Borrowing page at OK4Saving.org.

One savings option you’ll want to check out is the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan (OCSP). Here are a few benefits of the OCSP:

  • It’s a tax-deferred account
  • Multiple family members and friends can contribute to the account on your behalf
  • It can pay for more than just tuition (it can cover fees, some room and board costs, etc.)
  • It can be used at any accredited college in the U.S., and even certain colleges abroad
  • There are several contribution options available that make adding to your OCSP easy and convenient
  • An OSCP can be opened with as little as $100
  • You and others who contribute to your account can save as much as $300,000 for  your education
  • Parents and grandparents can enter the Newborn Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $5,549 contribution to a newborn’s account. The sweepstakes ends April 14, 2018.

Visit OK4Saving.org to learn more.

Five Things to Do the Summer Before College

Congratulations, Class of 2017! You’ve taken your final exams and walked across the stage…Now what? Taking care of a few things this summer will help smooth the transition to college this fall.

  1. Enroll in classes. Classes fill up quickly, leaving you with few choices if you wait too long to register.
  2. Check in with the financial aid office. Follow up to make sure all your paperwork is complete, ask how much and what type of funding you’ll receive, and find out when to expect the funds to arrive.
  3. Buy textbooks. Check with the college bookstore to find out what books are required for your classes. Once you know what you need, shop around! Compare prices at the campus bookstore, used bookstores, and online retailers like Amazon or Half.com to find the best deal. Keep in mind that if you plan to use financial aid to pay for books, you may be required to purchase from the campus bookstore.
  4. Keep applying for scholarships. Take a few minutes and apply for two or three scholarships each week. UCanGo2.org and OKcollegestart.org have gathered thousands of scholarships to make the process easier for you.
  5. Attend orientation and welcome activities. Take advantage of orientation sessions available over the summer and welcome activities the first few weeks of school. You’ll have the chance to meet new people, learn your way around campus, and feel connected to your college.

Now, take a deep breath and enjoy time with your friends and family. Graduating high school is a great accomplishment, so be sure to celebrate while you look forward to your next adventure!

IRS Data Retrieval Tool Update

If you’ve been following our posts over the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) has been unavailable for use on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This tool allows FAFSA applicants to download their income tax information from the IRS and import it directly into their FAFSA application. While this situation is inconvenient for some, it’s highly recommended that applicants still complete the 2016-17 and 2017-18 FAFSAs by manually entering in their tax information. The IRS DRT service will be up and running again on October 1, 2017… just in time for the new 2018-19 FAFSA application. Please read IFAP’s announcement for further details on this situation.