Start saving early for education

Miguel del Valle is the vice-chair of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state agency that helps make college affordable/accessible for Illinois families. Valle talks to EXTRA about the current financial difficulties in financing education and how to overcome them.

EXTRA: How many students will benefit from MAP? What is the current situation with MAP?

Miguel del Valle: This current school year there were 370 million dollars available, with that amount awarded to 147,000 students. There were another 150,000 students who applied and were eligible but did not receive an award. This year we had to cut off the applications very early, in March 2, because there aren’t enough dollars in the budget able to cover all eligible students. We see that more and more people are experiencing Start saving early for education financial hardships. The average amount of debt is 25, 000 per year. Not enough Latinos perceive advanced decrees. One of the reasons is affordability.

According to ISAC what are the financing options for students?

The solution has to start at the federal level, reducing the interest rate on student loans. Student loan is higher than credit card loan in this country. We need to reduce the cost of higher education – more middle income families are being affected and their choices are being limited. In the year 2002, the MAP award covered 100 percent of education. In 2013, it covers only 38 percent, which is still not enough money to keep up with the rising cost of higher education.

What should parents and students plan for when it comes to financing their education?

You can receive information online. We have wonderful new tools on the ISAC website. Pay attention to the default rates. You can look at the cost and be able to calculate how much you will be able to get in a state grant and what other scholarships are available, as well as what is the difference between that and the total tuition and room and board cost.

What is on ISAC’s agenda for 2013?

We are hoping to get increase in the MAP award. We encourage families and students to contact their state rep and senators to let them know that MAP is very important to them. Make a phone call and send a letter. Hopefully, we can see an increase this year and serve more students. College Illinois! is a savings plan that allows you to begin saving for college. We don’t have a lot of Latino participation in that program and it is a savings program. Begin saving yearly. It helps to make a difference.

According to the most recent data from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, about 13 percent of the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants go to Latino students.

For more information on financing education, visit www.isac.org.

¡Colegio Illinois!

Padres en Illinois tienen sólo dos semanas para inscribirse a College Illinois!, programa 520 de Colegiatura Pre pagada antes de que acabe el actual período de inscripción, 30 de abril. El programa permite a familias pre pagar años de colegio a costo significativamente bajo.

College Illinois! permite a familias congelar un precio bajo hoy para cubrir los costes de colegiatura y cuotas futuras. Desde su creación en 1997, el programa ha pagado más de 400 millones de dólares en colegiatura y cuotas y ayudado a miles de familias en Illinois a hacer más asequible la educación postsecundaria.

Para información adicional del Programa Colegiatura Pre pagada College Illinois! de ISAC, por favor visite: www.prepayandsave.org, www.529prepaidtuition. org o marque 877-877-3724.

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