The High School Senior Christmas Shopping List

Your student doesn’t want to have money in their name in January when you file their financial aid forms. Students do not have an asset protection allowance. Every dollar they have in their name is going to increase their expected family contribution.
Therefore buy what they need for college in the fall for their Christmas presents, and use their money doing it.
Here is their Holiday shopping list.
The Gizmo’s and Gadget’s
The Computer (let’s start with the really fun one): if your student does not yet have a computer of their own, or the one they do have is outdated; you should certainly consider this as the “A” #1 gift. Consider a multimedia computer with a TV tuner card. You can kill a lot of birds with one stone here. Not only will a multimedia machine act as their computer, but it will also be their TV, their DVD player, their TV recorder, and their stereo. It is truly the Jack of all appliances. And it makes for a great entertainment system for the very few hours they will not spend studying.
A laptop is preferred. There isn't much room in a dorm room, so you don't want to take up precious space with a big desktop unit. Besides, they'll want to be able to take the computer to the library, or class, or home.
If you don’t want to send your student out the door with one do it all machine like above, here are the minimum requirements for a student computer (considering Microsoft Vista is now standard):
v Processor: AMD, Intel Pentium 4-M (minimum 800mhz speed)
v Memory: at least 1GB (I would recommend 2GB or even 4GB; more memory is often the single most important factor to computer performance)
v Hard Drive: at least 100GB
v Disk Drive: DVD+RW
v Wireless and wired networking equipped
v Operating system: Windows Vista Home or Apple MAC OS X (ten)
v Software: Microsoft Office XP Standard or Student edition
Standard computers would include:
v Dell Inspiron 1720 (I have had a Dell in the past and love their customer service)
v HP Pavillion (Two of our desktop machines are HP and we’ve had great success with them)
Multimedia Machines would include:
v Apple MacBook or MacBook Pro
v Dell XPS
v Toshiba Satellite X205 (my current laptop is a Toshiba and I have been very happy with it)
v HP Pavillion HDX
The Printer: although many schools and professors are now allowing students to submit papers in electronic format, this is far from being the norm. So, your student is going to need someway to print off that earth-shattering report on Machiavelli. Printers are dirt cheap today compared to what you got yesterday. You can often pick up a good printer/scanner/copier for less than $150 or even $100
Surge protector: protect the investment you just made.
Phone: I grew up in a telephone family -- literally. My family has been in the telephone business since before there was copper wire; so what I am about to say would have been heresy at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago. Go get your student a prepaid wireless phone. Don't bother with the hard wired phones anymore. Phones can double as MP3 players as well.
A digital voice recorder for class lectures: skip the old tape recorder -- your student will likely download the recording to their computer anyway. If you bought a good phone, the phone may double for a voice recorder as well.
Digital camera: they’ll want to preserve the rest of their high school year and college. has excellent reviews of digital cameras. You can get one heck of a good camera for little money these days.
Other appliances:
If you didn’t go the multimedia computer route, then your student is going to want these as well --
· TV – small LCD TV’s are very reasonable now
· DVD player
· Portable Stereo or iPod dock
v Coffee Maker – they can’t be a Starbucks all the time
v Microwave – if you check out, you’ll find quite a few small microwaves for under $100
v Refrigerator – you can get several dorm-sized refrigerators for under $100 as well
v Art – Most college art isn’t much more than posters on the wall
For around the dorm room
v Kitchen type tools: bowl, cup, glasses, can/bottle opener, etc.
v Desk Lamp
v Alarm clock (one with a really loud and annoying alarm -- they'll need it)
v Bulletin board and dry-erase calendar board
v A small toolkit (I do not suggest the Craftsman, rolling tool chest; a small bag will do)
v Bed linens & Bedding

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi, TX

Cost of Attendance

Cost of Attendance
Family Need Met
Free Money

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is the only one in the nation that is located on its very own island. With palm trees lining the pathways throughout the 240-acre campus, nearby natural wetlands, and a beach the full length of its Ocean Drive address, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi becomes a first-choice destination for many.
Our attitude stays young because we are able to adapt quickly to new technologies and engage new energies. These are important assets when students seek a university that takes the lead, rather than follows.
We invite you to come see why we are one of the fastest growing universities in the state of Texas. Visit the Island University today!

Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

Cost of Attendance

Family Need Met
Free Money

Set foot on Lehigh University's majestic campus, considered one of America's most beautiful, and you'll be impressed. Learning opportunities abound. Some of the finest faculty and facilities anywhere complement a national academic reputation that draws scholars from all over the world.
But what will transform your life as a Lehigh student happens as much outside the classroom as in. You'll take part in an array of experiences and activities that will shape not only your career, but the rest of your life.

Problem in Getting Private Student Loans

Private college loan have only the good image of being a complimentary loan for the government student loans – for most prospective student borrow that is. These students realize that federal loans are not enough to cover everything, all the expenses that go with the pursuit of college education.

Therefore, student borrowers see private student loan as the important loan to ultimately settle whatever financial expenses that they would have to meet and pay up on their way to earning their diploma. This aside from the fact that private loans can be had with great ease so long as all the requirements are available. Here is where possible problems might come in.

Despite the benefits that private loans for college offer to students, they should be reminded that such kind of loan also has disadvantages. Well, if you can call a stringent loan requirement as a disadvantage, then private loans do have a major con on this regard. Why? Because students need to present a good credit history before he can avail of any private loan. They are unlike the federal loans, which do not actually look for good credit.

Private student loans are usually coming from commercial banks and private financial institution, so students with little or bad credit report to speak of might have difficulty getting a loan for himself. He might even just kiss his chances of getting one goodbye. To remedy such problem, it is advisable for students to improve his credit standing – by updating their payments and paying all monthly dues on time. Missing payments altogether should be a thing of the past. Students heeding this advice will surely improve their ratings, and an out of the red rating will definitely boost one’s chances to get a good private loan.

New Website, College Selection, Admissions Applications

Article: New CFS Website
Article: College Selection & Admission Applications
School Profiles:
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Stetson University

New CFS Website

You have got to come check this out! is all new and better than ever. It is chock full of reports for parents, students, church leaders, and educational professionals. There’s a new blog where you’ll now be able to go back to newsletter archives, and it will allow us to post timely information immediately. The new and improved audio workshop is up. And… this site has all the information for our now permanent Referral-Bonus Program.

College Selection & Admission Applications

If your high school senior has not done so by now, they need to be cranking out their admission applications… Immediately! Here are some tips to help.

1. Always apply to a minimum of four colleges. Four is a minimum! I would much prefer that student apply to six. Students will not always get into the schools they apply to. Not too long ago, I had a client whose daughter applied to ten colleges. Now she was a sharp student, but she was still rejected by nine and wait-listed by one. Imagine the turmoil that student was going through as she was rejected by school after school. This is a competitive process, and prudence demands multiple applications to minimize risk. Multiple applications will also give your student multiple financial awards. You’ll be able to see the differing amounts of money a school wants to give your student. And you’ll be able to see which schools really want your student.

2. The second lesson to learn out of the above example is to not populate the list of colleges your student is applying to with only the most competitive schools. You may have the most stellar student in their high school. But it is not a good idea to apply only to highly selective schools in the hope they may get the brass ring. You need to apply to at least one safety school. At the safety school, you know your student is getting in, no matter what. Community colleges are good examples of safety schools. You need to apply to 3 to 5 “core” schools. Core schools are where your student will have a very good opportunity to place in the top 25% or 50% of the incoming freshman class. This will provide a good selection of schools where your student has more likelihood to stand out and therefore get more money. Then you can apply to one or two “stretch” schools. Stretch schools are where you’re not sure if your student can get in, but it would be a real accomplishment if they did. The two primary indicators of how a student places in the incoming freshman class are measured by GPA and the standardized test scores.

3. Apply online if at all possible. Most colleges today have online admission applications. These can be found in the admissions or prospective student sections of the colleges’ websites. The following is an example of the online admissions application at Iowa State University

4. Put together a student summary sheet that can be presented to anyone requested to write a letter of recommendation. This summary sheet should include high school activities, GPA, significant accomplishments, and leadership positions held. Think of it as a mini résumé. This will considerably help those you ask to write recommendation letters.

5. Finally, avoid the temptation to try and identify the “Best” schools. The “Best College” guides, such as from US News & World Report, have done incredible harm to the college selection process. These beauty contest guides have little to do with the excellence of education, and far more to do with the marketing budgets of colleges. Applying to colleges is not about trying to identify the “best” colleges… if there is such as thing. This process is to find the best college for your student.

If you have a topic you would like covered for our newsletter, please email us and let us know.

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Minneapolis, MN

Cost of Attendance


Cost of Attendance


Family Need Met

Free Money







The University of Minnesota was founded as a preparatory school in 1851, seven years before the territory of Minnesota became a state. Financial problems forced the school to close during the Civil War, but with the help of Minneapolis entrepreneur John Sargent Pillsbury, it reopened in1867. Known as the father of the University, Pillsbury, who was a University regent, state senator, and governor, used his influence to establish the school as the official recipient of public support from the Morrill Land-Grant Act, designating it as Minnesota's land-grant university.

The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.

Stetson University
DeLand, FL

Cost of Attendance

Family Need Met

Free Money






As Florida’s first private university, Stetson University sets the standard for excellent teaching and innovative, superior programs. We’re proud to be a nationally recognized leader in education with a commitment to values and social responsibility. Perhaps most important of all, Stetson is committed to making top-quality, private education affordable to a diverse group of qualified students.

Stetson University’s rich tradition began in 1883 when it was founded by New York businessman Henry DeLand and named for his friend, Philadelphia hat manufacturer John B. Stetson.

Today the DeLand campus serves about 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students in the
College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration and School of Music. In St. Petersburg/Gulfport, the Stetson University College of Law serves about 900 students. Stetson University’s four colleges and schools offer 13 degree programs in more than 60 majors and minors, giving students the best of two worlds: the variety of a university with the individual attention found at small colleges. The $7.2 million Stetson University Center at Celebration opened in 2001 and offers graduate programs in business, education and counseling, along with professional development programs for educators and an arts academy.

Getting Student Loan from Parents

Private student loans, if properly managed, that is, if one keeps up with the repayment responsibilities, will never cause the student borrower any problem. But sometimes, things do not turn out smoothly as one might plan – late payments are committed, monthly dues are missed altogether.

Consequently, the delinquent student borrower will experience a financial disaster, in the form of degraded credit ratings. Bad credit will most likely result in his opportunities for future loans becoming much limited. More importantly, his standing as a debtor becomes tainted if only because of his financial wrongdoings. So, why acquire private college loan in the first place?

While definitely a reliable financial source, private student loan is not the only way to go in settling your educational expenses. Especially if in your self-assessment, you realize your incapacity to repay such loan, then it’s best to look for other possible ways to pay for your college.

I know an effective alternative to private college loan is to borrow money instead from people you know. On top of the list is your family, specifically your parents. More often than not, parents are very much willing to shell out “loans” to their kids for college expenses. Most of the time, money from parents are ready, easy cash. There are no paper works, no need for co-signor, no strict repayment dates and even no repayment itself. Loans from our parents are what can be called “pay-when-able” student loans.

Indeed, parents can be relied upon when it comes to creating money for our education. And even if your “lender” is your parents, it is also advisable that both parties (you and them) draw out terms. Is it pay-when-able or payable every month? What about interest – is it zero per cent (which is most likely the case) or any figure both of you have decided upon? Even if you have parents as lenders, it is best to draw terms and conditions particularly on repayment – this speaks of responsibility on your part.

Private Student Loan: Getting Out of Default

For most college students, getting a private college loan that would finance their education can be easy. Today, there are numerous lending companies willing to help students pay their college expenses via private loan programs.

Many of these students, however, also get into default as easily as they were able to acquire their private student loans. While lack of money is the reason why non-payment of monthly dues happen, many students just stop paying – without any apparent reason.

Compulsively, they commit such financial blunder without realizing the seriousness of such problem that they get into. Definitely weaving out of it can be rather difficult.

Being in default is so serious financial offense that if students only understand the damage it can to their credit ratings, they will avoid being in default at any cost.

If a student is already in default, chances are, your credit standing is greatly affected – in a negative way. And to have bad ratings is an awful situation to be in as you are given less opportunities for future loans and even scholarships and financial aids.

Definitely, you need to work your way out of default to mend your credit, and there are options at achieve it.

First of all, you might want to start anew by becoming more prompt and up-to-date with your repayments. Talk to your loan company and request for a new private student loan repayment scheme. Surely the lender is only too willing to help you to continue with your repayments.

Another effective way of getting out of default is by consolidating your private college loans. For example, if you have these existing loans, you can apply for refinancing – consolidating your loans into a new one, which means an easy single repayment responsibility. Consequently the easy repayment terms will help you get out of default.

Remember, being in default is a serious problem. Do not aggravate the situation by doing nothing. Work your way out of default by trying your best to keep up with your loan repayment.

Non-payment on Your Private Student Loans - Make it Not Happen

Sometimes, students are too eager and determined to get enrolled into college, but unfortunately the only possible way for them to get in is by acquiring private college loans. However, many of them tend to overdo it and borrow private loans more then what is necessary.

So, it is not an uncommon scenario that students get into default because of these multiple loans. Non-payment of private student loan is certainly a mortal sin to commit, especially if you are concerned with the effect this has on your credit ratings. Once you go amiss with your repayment, it is definitely bad news for your ratings.

How does one not commit default on his private student loan repayment? First of all, think really hard if you do need such loan. Is it really the only available option for you to be able to enroll in college? You must make sure that you have exhausted all other financial means and sources in your pursuit of education.

If you finally decide on getting a private college loan, take only what is enough; know the right amount of money that you believe that you are capable of repaying. If it is only one private loan that you absolutely need, then apply for one, and that's it – do not exceed. Know your limitation as a debtor. This will definitely help in not committing default, and consequently in maintaining a decent rating.