Get organized with College Calendar.
College Calendar is your key to tracking everything you should do to attend college and achieve your educational dreams. From choosing a school to applying for financial aid, the current calendar shows all events for high school seniors. College Calendar is powered by Trumba, an interactive web application.
If you’re an eligible Pennsylvania resident, apply for a Pennsylvania State Grant to get help with the cost of higher education.
Other Educational Aid
- Explore the other aid programs available that provide funding for higher education.
Gain career-related, on-the-job work experience while earning money to help pay for your higher education.
Explore aid that helps strengthen the state’s workforce and makes higher education more affordable with the Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP).
Service to our country may qualify you or your dependents for financial aid when you pursue higher education.
Find out if you are eligible for loan forgiveness, which repays part or all of your educational loan debt if you fulfill certain work-related requirements in specific fields.
Sallie Mae’s “How America Saves for College 2013” study, conducted by Ipsos, finds that despite rising college costs, fewer American families with children under age 18 save for college (50%) than did just two years ago (60%). Based on a nationally representative survey of parents of children under age 18, the study found that:
- While nearly all parents believe college is an investment in their child’s future, only one-third have a plan to pay for college.
- When asked to describe their feelings about saving for college, parents’ top answers were overwhelmed, annoyed, frustrated, scared, or that they don’t like thinking about it at all.
- Among those not saving, 47 percent cite a barrier other than money. Top reasons included thinking that children would be awarded enough financial aid to cover the cost of college, children are too young or too old, uncertainty about which savings option to use, procrastination and feeling it is the child’s responsibility to save and pay for college.
- Starting to save is most frequently prompted by major milestones such as a child’s birth (34%), starting school (24%), or learning about college costs from friends and family (20%).
- Slightly more than one quarter (27%) of parents who are saving for college use a 529 college savings plan. However, more parents save for college using general funds or CDs (42%) and may miss out on tax incentives offered by a 529 account
You can estimate your payments with various interest rates and loan terms using this calculator.
You can estimate your payments under various repayment plans using this calculator.
This calculator can help you determine if you qualify for the Income-Based Repayment(IBR) plan. IBR is designed to make payments more affordable for borrowers.
Income Contingent Repayment
This calculator can help you determine if you qualify for the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan.The Income Contingent Repayment plan is based on your Adjusted Gross Income.
Information for Transferring Students
When applying for a student loan as a transfer student, it is important to keep in mind that if you received a student loan at a prior school, you will not automatically receive a student loan at your new school.
If you completed the FAFSA during the current academic year and you decide to transfer, your new school may require you to provide a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) – even if you did not receive financial aid at your previous school.
When you transfer, remember to do the following:
At your old school: Cancel any outstanding loan disbursements when you withdraw.
At your new school: Inform them about the school you previously attended and provide your SAR. Additionally, if you have not previously signed a Federal Direct Loan MPN, you will be required to do so at your new school. All federal students loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2010 must be made by the federal government.
Direct and indirect costs
There is more to college expenses than just tuition and housing bills. When you estimate how much college will cost, consider the direct and indirect costs.
Everything from books to supplies to trips back home adds to the overall price.
To estimate how much college costs, look at the direct and indirect costs.
- Tuition: If your child has selected a state school, the tuition (cost of classes) will depend on his or her residency status. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be thousands of dollars a year. Some schools base tuition on the number of credit hours taken in an academic period. Others rely on enrollment status (full time versus part time). Get details from the financial aid or admissions office.
- Fees: Most schools charge set fees for services such as activities or athletic facilities. Such fees usually appear on the tuition bill whether your child uses these services or not.
- On-campus room and board: Your child may choose to live on campus and eat in dining facilities. Meal plans prices can vary significantly.
- Books and supplies: Textbook costs are similar from school to school, but they vary greatly depending on the courses taken. Students can save by buying used books, buying online, or sharing with classmates. Some classes require more supplies than others; others have printing, copying, or computer costs.
- Computers: Many schools require students to have a personal computer. Check the admissions requirements to determine whether a basic PC will do or a more expensive laptop is required. Remember to add the costs of software, a printer, and — if your child lives off campus — connection to the Internet.
- Off-campus room and board: This category includes rent, furnishings, utilities, and meals. If you haven’t taught your child how to cook, now is the time! Even if your child lives at home, there will be expenses related to food and commuting.
- Transportation: If your student will commute to school, factor in the cost of public transportation, gas, car insurance, maintenance, and parking fees. Some schools provide free parking, while others require a paid permit. If the school is far away, don’t forget the cost of air travel to get home on breaks and holidays. Your child can lower these costs by carpooling and by shopping around for student rates on airfare.
- Personal expenses: Students have lots of small personal expenses that add up and can make a huge difference in this category. Consider clothing, laundry, haircuts, cell phone, and entertainment. Teach your child to maintain a written budget since these expenses can easily spiral out of control.
- Other costs: Count on extra expenses such as lab fees for science courses, fees for course changes, and expenses for participating in athletics or joining a sorority or fraternity. Try to keep a little extra money in the budget to cover emergencies.
Determining the cost of college
Now that you know what goes in your bill, see how much a college could actually cost.
Save Time, Gain Convenience
We designed the Great Lakes Mobile app to give you another way to manage your student loans.
Make Payments and More
- Make or schedule student loan payments of any amount you choose
- Use an existing payment account or create and store a new one
- Sign up for account access—no need to visit our website to get started
- Take advantage of the app’s clean and intuitive design
- Receive payment reminders and confirmations
- View account details like your balance, interest, lender, and status
- Easily track payment history
- Secure identity confirmation
- Robust encryption technology
What’s the difference between Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans?
In short, Direct Subsidized Loans have slightly better terms to help out students with financial need.
Here’s a quick overview of Direct Subsidized Loans:
- Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need.
- Your school determines the amount you can borrow, and the amount may not exceed your financial need.
- The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan
○ while you’re in school at least half-time,
○ for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period*), and
○ during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).
*Note: If you receive a Direct Subsidized Loan that is first disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period. If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance.
Here’s a quick overview of Direct Unsubsidized Loans:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
- Your school determines the amount you can borrow based on your cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive.
- You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods.
- If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).
10 Tips to Stay on Top of Your Student Loans While You’re in School
We know there’s a lot of information to take in when it comes to your student loans. Here are some tips to help you manage your loans, including ways to save you money while you’re still in school.
Throughout the life of your loan, we’ll share important information with you. To make things quick and easy for you, and to save a tree or two, we suggest a couple simple things.
TIP 1 Sign up for account access at mygreatlakes.org. You’ll be able to track your loans and get important information about them.
TIP 2 If your email address or other contact information changes, update your Account Profile. We want to be able to reach you, so we can help with whatever you need.
No two students take the exact same route in school. Some attend full-time, others part-time, and still others change schools. Whatever you decide, make sure your school enrollment status reflects your changes. For example, if you take a leave of absence or attend school less than half-time, there are specific things you’ll need to know about starting to pay back your loan. We want to make sure you have all of the information you need in order to help you make decisions.
TIP 3 Update your school enrollment status.
It’s easy to lose sight of the total amount you owe on your student loans. Each time you receive an additional loan, keep track of the total to prevent any surprises after you leave school.
TIP 4 Check out the U.S Department of Education’s (ED) financial aid central database, called the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). It receives information from the key players in the student loan industry to provide you with information about all of your student loans, not just those serviced by Great Lakes.
TIP 5 Use ED’s payment calculator to estimate what your monthly payment amount might be after you leave school.
One of the best ways to limit your overall student loan amount is to only borrow what you need.
TIP 6 Don’t borrow the maximum amount just because you can.
During each calendar year, the interest you paid on your student loans may be tax deductible.
TIP 9 You’ll want to have your annual 1098-E Student Loan Interest Statement on hand when you prepare and file your taxes. Your statement is available each January from your mygreatlakes.org account. After logging in, select 1098-E from the Quick Links menu.
TIP 10 We’re your student loan servicer and we’re here to help you. Expect outstanding customer service from us. We promise to deliver.