2015-16 FAFSA

The 2015-16 FAFSA will be available as of January 1st, 2015.

If you will need Federal Financial Aid for the Summer ‘15, Fall ‘15 or Spring ’16 semesters, we highly recommend completing the FAFSA form now, via www.fafsa.ed.gov The Middlebury Institute’s school code is 001241.

Note that the priority deadline for the FAFSA is March 1st, 2015.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Sincerely,

Office of Student Financial Services
Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Casa Fuente Building
(831) 647-4119 Phone
(831) 647-6685 Fax
go.miis.edu/finaid

1098-T

Tired of waiting for your annual 1098-T form to arrive in the mail?

 

Visit www.1098-t.com to find out how you can receive this year’s 1098-T form online.

This is a quick reminder that you can sign up now to receive this year’s 1098-T form online. Through the use of our service provider, students can consent to receive e-mail notification when the 2011 1098-T form is available.

Select the option to “Access My Record.” You will be prompted through a series of steps validating personal information.

Once securely logged into your personal account, a link is provided to receive forms online. Please read the information thoroughly and provide a current and valid e-mail address when prompted.

Upon creation of the 2011 1098-T form, you will receive an e-mail notifying you that the form is available on http://www.1098-t.com/ . You can print a copy for yourself, your parents, and your tax advisor.

If you signed up to get your form online last year, you do not need to enroll again.

Visit http://www.1098-t.com/ today.

Student Tuition Recovery Fund

California law requires that upon enrollment a fee be assessed relative to the cost of tuition (Education Code Section 94342). These fees support the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF), a special fund established by the California Legislature to reimburse students who might otherwise experience a financial loss as a result of untimely school closure. Institutional participation is mandatory.

Students must pay the state-imposed fee for the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) if all the following apply:

  1. You are a new student who pays all or part of your tuition, and
  2. Your total charges are not paid by any third party payer such as an employer, government program or other payer unless you have a separate agreement to repay the third party.

You are not eligible for protection from the STRF and you are not required to pay the STRF fee if your total charges are paid by a third party, such as an employer, government program, or other payer and you have no separate agreement to repay the third party.

**STRF fees are $2.50 per $1,000 of tuition.**

Federal Student Loan Update

On October 25, 2011, the White House, Office of the Press Secretary, made an announcement regarding changes to help Americans to better manage their student loan debt.  There are two main parts of the change; both deal with loans in repayment.

One of the five repayment options Federal student loan borrowers have is called Income Based Repayment (IBR).  This repayment looks at the borrower’s income, household size and amount of debt to establish a monthly payment of no more than 15% of the borrower’s discretionary income (based on the poverty level).   If the borrower is on IBR for twenty five years making on-time payments, they can have whatever is not paid off forgiven. 

Obama changed two main provisions of the IBR plan: (1) the cap will be at 10% of the discretionary income, which will monthly lower payments and (2) the loan can be forgiven after twenty years of on-time payments.  The change would take effect July 1, 2012.  In order to find out more about IBR, visit www.ibrinfo.org.

The second provision relates to consolidating federal loans.  Beginning January 1, 2012, through June 30, 2012, borrowers will be able to apply for a “Special Direct Consolidation Loan”. Borrowers who qualify can see their interest rate reduced up to 0.5 percent, potentially saving hundreds in interest.  This option will only be available for six months and not all borrowers will be eligible.

To qualify for the “Special Direct Consolidation Loan”, the borrower must have:

  1. At least one student loan held by the Dept. of Ed.  This could be a Direct Loan or a PUT Loan (a loan that was original held by a bank but sold to the Dept. of Ed through ECASLA of 2008).

AND

  1. At least one federal student loan (FFEL) currently held by a bank (example: Bank of America, Discover, AccessGroup, SallieMae, Citibank, All Student Loan, Wells Fargo, etc.). This could also include a FFEL Consolidated Loan.

Borrowers can look into who holds their loans by going to www.nslds.ed.gov.  By logging in to this site, you can see a listing of your federal loans, find out who the current servicer is, and find out if the loan held by the Dept. of Ed or a bank.

Questions???

What does this mean for me? 

  1. If you are a current MIIS student taking federal loans, started attending after June 2010, and did not have any undergraduate debt, you do not qualify for this consolidation program. 
  2. If you are a current MIIS student taking federal loans, have federal debt incurred before 2008 from a bank/lender and will enter your grace period or repayment period by May 2012, check out www.nslds.ed.gov to verify your loan status as you may qualify.
  3. If you have already consolidated with DirectLoans, you do not qualify for this consolidation program. 

 Are the Income Based Repayment changes available to all borrowers?

  1. No. The new IBR plan is not available to borrowers who graduated or are planning to graduate before July 2012, and do not plan on taking any additional loans.  Borrowers would need to have taken a loan after July 2012 to qualify.  Borrowers cannot be in default to qualify for this repayment plan.  

 What happens to the debt after it is forgiven after the twenty five year period or twenty year period with Income Based Repayment?

  1. The amount forgiven is added to the borrower’s taxable income during the year it was forgiven.

 How do I apply for the Special Consolidation?

  1. Borrowers will be contacted directly by a Direct Loan servicer if they qualify.

Which loans can be included?

  1. Loans held by the Dept of Ed, FFEL Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, FFEL PLUS Loans, and FFEL Consolidated Loans.  If you have a federal Perkins loan, you cannot include this loan in the special consolidation as you could in the regular consolidation.  Private loans cannot be included.  Keep in mind that the FFEL loan is a federal loan originally disbursed by a bank.

 Are you still confused?

  1. Check out the press release or visit StudentAid.gov for more information.

Sources:

1. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/10/25/fact-sheet-help-americans-manage-student-loan-debt

2. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/10/25/fact-sheet-help-americans-manage-student-loan-debt

3. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/your-money/student-loans/explaining-new-federal-student-loan-rules.html?_r=1&ref=ronlieber

Mandatory Exit Session for Graduating Students

Congratulations to our graduation class of 2010, on achieving a most admirable goal!  Your education!

As the recipient of a Federal Stafford Loan, you are required to complete an exit interview.  During this exit interview, you will learn about your rights and responsibilities as the consumer of a Federal Student Loan.  You will also learn about the various repayment options available to you, about loan consolidation, and loan deferment, forbearance and cancellation opportunities.

There will only be two exit interview sessions, so please make every effort to attend:

The first session will be: Tuesday, May 11th from 12 to 2pm in the Irvine Auditorium

The second session will be: Tuesday, May 11th from 5 to 6:30pm in B105

If you are not able to attend either session, please let us know ASAP.  If you are currently on IPSS, we will be holding a separate exit session in August when you return.

If you received a Federal Perkins Loan, you will be receiving an email from University Accounting Services directing you to their website to complete an online exit interview for your Perkins Loan. Please do not delete this email.  You are required to complete this form.   This is a SEPARATE process from the In-Person Exit Interview.  You are REQUIRED to complete both the online Perkins Exit Interview AND the in-person Stafford Loan Exit Interview before we will release your transcripts and/or diplomas.

You will need to bring an address book with you (or address information for three references) and your questions.  Remember, this is your chance to get all of your loan repayment and consolidation questions answered!

Choosing A Lender

1. Explore the lender’s borrower benefits: Does the lender offer you various benefits? These benefits may include a low origination fee (a lender can charge up to 1%), a low default fee (a guarantor can charge up to 1%), and reduced interest rate for ontime repayment or auto debit payments. Is it possible to lose these benefits, and if so, what circumstances can lead to the loss of benefits?

2. Test drive the lender’s customer service: Call their 1-800 numbers. How long did you have to wait before speaking to a representative? How long were you placed on hold, if at all? Ask the customer service representatives a few questions.
For example: Do they sell their loans? The lender themselves may have excellent service, but if they sell your loans on the secondary market, will the company that bought your loans offer this same exemplary service?
OR What are their hours of operation? Are these hours compatible with your needs? What online resources are available if you cannot reach a customer service representative?

3. Visit the lender’s website: Look for borrower education, debt management resources, and online payment options. Do they offer education tools such as repayment calculators or tutorials that answer your questions and respond to their needs? Can you make online payments if you’re living outside the US?

Student Voices: Life on a Budget

“…anyone who lives within their means, suffers from a serious lack of imagination.”
– Oscar Wilde

Going Out

“MIIS offers monthly happy hours with kegs, wine, small appetizers, and a fun crowd that is free so long as one brings a cup…”

“Clubs like the United Nations, the American Red Cross, and the Environmental Task Force offer free movies and activities during the week and weekend…”

“Volunteer at tourist events, such as the Monterey Jazz Festival and Wine Tasting Weekend. By volunteering, the sponsor will often provide you with a free admission ticket.”

“The aquarium usually costs $20 per person; however, they offer one week in December which is free to everyone living in Monterey County, with proof of residence.”

“Peter B’s Happy Hour: You can’t beat this happy hour. Featuring a wide selection of appetizers for a few dollars each, and don’t forget the $2.50 beer.”

Groceries

“…arrive at the Farmer’s Market right at closing time, and many food vendors give away or discount their remaining food.”

“Check out the Produce Market, a small, well-priced store on North Freemont Street.”

“Save coupons until the item goes on sale, then receive the coupon discount in addition to the sale price, which will often save 50% or more on the item.”

“…shopping in ethnic grocery stores is the cheapest place to find rice, curry pastes, etc.”

“What about those Starbucks lattes, macchiatos, and mochas? You can make those at home…All you need is a French press ($20), milk foamer ($10) and some great coffee ($6). Add some cocoa or caramel syrup to your espresso before adding the foamed milk and voila! Fun under $40 (that’s about 10 Starbucks mochas) you’ve invested in your coffee drinking for the duration of your time at MIIS…”

Bills (Ya know, the one’s you have to pay!)

“… to those who have just arrived in this country but have no cell phone to make local calls. You should download Skype. Then you can make free phone calls in the US with this software. It helped me a lot when I first arrived here.”

“Share a wireless internet signal (and monthly cost) with immediate neighbors.”

“Everyone at MIIS has a unique ability or talent that someone in the area could benefit from: tutoring, offering language practice or lessons.”

“[Use alternative rates on utilities] PG&E’s California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) Program offers a 20% discount on your energy bill.”

“Study at the library rather than at home. Not only will the distractions be less but your lights are off and your laptop is plugged in somewhere else.”

Wine and Dine Your Valentine

Being a student and living on a student budget does not mean that you should hide from Cupid and lock yourself in your room this Valentine’s Day.

Instead Valentine’s Day this year can be about creativity, adventure, and romance. We have suggestions for some inexpensive ways to express yourself without emtying your piggy bank. And trust us, your date will have fun!

Nature

Take a blanket and head to Carmel State beach to watch the sunset. Pack a picnic basket with some cheese, a baguette, and a bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s. Check the time the sun sets and get there at least half an hour early so you don’t miss it!
Bring a blanket, firewood, and matches for a bonfire. Oh yeah, and whatever you do, don’t forget the makings for smores!

Be an artist for the day at Big Sur. There are a variety of trails from Highway 1 down to the beach. Draw or photograph the view with your date. Get some great shots of each other among the redwoods, waterfalls, and the beach. Print the photos and make a memory album.

Visit the animals at the SPCA. Even if you are not in the mental or financial place to adopt, you can still go to pet the animals and give them some love.

Culture

Attend a play or musical production at Monterey Peninsula College. View their calendar of events.

Check out the art galleries in Carmel together. There are probably a dozen or so on Ocean Avenue and surrounding streets. Then stop by The Cheese Shop in the Carmel Plaza. Pick your favorite cheese and buy enough for the two of you to enjoy. OR Spend the afternoon at The Monterey Museum of Modern Art on Pacific Street. Admission is only $2.50 for students and $5.00 for non-students.

Go to Borders in Seaside for a poetry reading or a lecture by an author. While you’re at it grab a coffee, your favorite magazine, and cozy up for an hour in their cushy chairs.

Skip the high price of the movie theater and rent a video. Theaters charge $9.00 per ticket, Blockbuster charges $3.99 per video. That’s a savings of $13 on two tickets. And that’s not even including the savings in popcorn, soda, and candy costs. Need a few movie ideas…try a romantic comedy such as America’s Sweetheart, Bridget Jones Diary, Love Actually, or French Kiss.

Food

Setup the fondue set. Fondue can be quite romantic. Gather pillows around a coffee table. Pop a disc of Sinatra into your stereo, light those candles.

Catch Happy Hour at El Torrito on Cannery Row. Grab a window booth and watch the waves crash as you sip raspberry margaritas. Appetizers are 50% off until 8pm on Monday-Fridays and margaritas are under $3.00.

Check out Taste of Monterey on Cannery Row for wine tasting. For only $5 you can taste 10 different local wines. Plus the view is absolutely breathtaking!

Meet for brunch at your favorite public bench. On the way, stop by the bagel bakery for a couple of bagels and two coffees. Pick up a coast weekly at the paper stand in the bakery, they’re free! Browse the paper for the weekly horoscopes and see if you and your date’s signs align.

Feeling more like dessert? Instead of going out to a restaurant for dinner, go only for a nice dessert and coffee. Tarpy’s and Rosine’s are two excellent places to go for dessert.

Make a romantic pasta dinner. To help set the mood, play some Italian opera (if you don’t have Italian opera CDs around, try checking the local library), and light some candles. After dinner, relax with a romantic Italian film or the classic “Lady and the Tramp.”