Tax breaks and tips for college students filing returns

Take the proactive route and don't wait until the last minute to file your taxes.

Take the proactive route and don’t wait until the last minute to file your taxes.

With student debt growing and becoming a burden to recent graduates, college students will want to take all the tax deductions they can to save money. Federal tax filing is very complicated and the information here provides just a few tips. Always seek advice from a tax professional or accountant before filing your returns.

Preparations before filing taxes

Before beginning the tax filing process, students and parents need to make a few decisions. If your parents live in one state and you attend college full-time in another but go home for the summer, you will need to determine which state is your primary residence. As each state has different qualifications for residency, both states could claim you as a resident. Read more

Last call: Apply now for The Top TA Scholarships by CengageBrain!

While receiving a college degree will help provide numerous opportunities for your future in the workforce, it can be a costly item that doesn’t come easy. Sure, student loans can help alleviate the pain of college costs…for now. But down the road you’ll be required to pay back those loans, and the odds of you winning the Powerball and paying those loans off right away are few and slim.

In “What’s the Price Tag for a College Education?” according to the College Board, “the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013-2014 school year was $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.” There is no signs pointing to a potential deduction in those costs in the future either. Here is where The Top Teaching Assistant (TA) Scholarships by CengageBrain comes in. Read more

Tips for college students filing for FAFSA

Filing for FAFSA can be less stressful with the right research.

Filing for FAFSA can be less stressful with the right research.

Ah January—a time for resolutions, heading back to campus and … filing for FAFSA. Whether you are still applying for college or already on campus, college students soon learn that the beginning of the year is when they have to think about filling out financial aid forms to pay for next year’s classes. Read on for some tips for college students (and parents!) on how to navigate the world of financial aid and FAFSA.

Financial aid basics

First, know you are not alone. More people than you can count have managed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, aka FAFSA, and lived to tell about the experience. But having a little bit of inside know-how won’t hurt you. Margene Walz wrote “January is FAFSA month for college students and their parents” on January 7, 2014, for the Orange County Breeze, which offered some expert advice on handling this all-too-intimidating task. Read more

What you need to know: Government shutdown, Amber Alert, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Many 'Do Not Cross' signs can be found during the government shutdown.

Many ‘Do Not Cross’ signs can be found during the government shutdown.

It’s not the first time there’s been a federal government shutdown, nor is it likely to be the last. Disagreement in Congress about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, frequently referred to as Obamacare, has led the federal government to metaphorically close its doors. Non-essential personnel are on unpaid leave, there are national park closures, and some programs are no longer receiving federal funding. For a little while, the Amber Alert website went down, leading Americans to believe that the Amber Alert network, the emergency response system that broadcasts missing persons, had also been deemed non-essential. What do you need to know about the government shutdown? Read more

Federal Stafford Loan interest rate increase: Who it affects

President Barack Obama walks to stage to discu...

President Barack Obama walks to stage to discuss student loans in the Diplomatic Reception Room.

This week there was some bad news for college students hoping to get a subsidized federal student loan, called a Stafford Loan, to help pay for college. Congress has allowed the interest rate for subsidized loans to double from 3.4% to 6.8%, which is the current rate for unsubsidized loans. The new rate starts July 1, 2013 and affects students who are newly applying for the loan or are renewing their loan after July 1. According to CNNMoney, about one-third of college students who need federal financial aid get a Stafford Loan. Read more

America’s Top TA — Vote for your favorite teaching assistant today!

Students from across the country are nominating their teaching assistants for America’s Top TA, telling us how their TAs go above and beyond to help them succeed in class.

Now it’s your turn to cast your vote. It’s up to you to decide which three TA’s are America’s Top TA’s receiving the honor of CengageBrain establishing a $2,500 scholarship in their names!

Vote for Top TA on Facebook Read more

College student debt on the rise: Tips on how to prevent disaster

Not to further terrify those of us already dreading the college debt that’s waiting to greet us upon graduation, but according to a study released this week, college student debt is on the rise and the job market for recent grads is getting worse — not better — even as the economy improves. Say what?! Yes, that seems to be the cold-hearted reality. Rather than hide in a hole somewhere, now is the time to grab hold of the reins and take control of that student debt. While some of us excel at the avoidance route, taking measured steps to pay off that debt could make all the difference. Read on for these tips to prevent disaster. Read more

Rising cost of college: How to overcome student loans and income inequality

Student loans

Day 3 of the protest Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of us were more worried about getting into our college of choice than we were about paying for that education. But the cost of college has risen dramatically in recent years. According to the National Center of Education Statistics, between 2000-01 and 2010-11, prices at public institutions rose 42 percent. As a result, of the 20 million Americans that attend college, 60 percent borrow money to pay for it. But without a college degree, people earn much less, leading to greater income inequality. So, what’s the answer?

Student loans

For many, student loans have become the go-to solution. As the cost of college has risen, so has the amount of student loan debt. According to the American Student Assistance (ASA) organization, in Student Loan Debt Statistics, “There is roughly somewhere between $902 billion and $1 trillion in total outstanding student loan debt in the United States today.” The average balance owed is just over $24,000. Read more

Enter our March Madness “Shoot and Score” photo contest for a chance to win $500!

Shoot and Score a Chance at $500

March Madness Are you the ultimate college basketball fan? Do you find March Madness less of a catchy tag-line for a college basketball tournament and more of a lifestyle commitment? Does your pre-game prep include your lucky jersey, face paint, and hair dye?

Then you are EXACTLY who we’re looking for!

Enter the CengageBrain March Madness “Shoot and Score” Photo Contest by uploading a photo of you in your most enthusiastic and outrageous fan get-up for a chance to win a $500 Visa gift card! Read more

College student loans and credit score: Protect your good credit and financial future

Student loansFor those of us college students (as well as recent graduates), student loan payments are probably not something at the top of your to-do list. I mean, come on, this is money that is (or was) helping you get through college. There is a reason why you aren’t expected to repay this debt right away. What you may not know, however, is that there is a direct link between student loans and credit score — something that helps determine whether you have good credit or not. Based on this fact, these loans can make or break your financial future. Read more