Your Questions About Save Loan Program

Jenny asks…

How to take out a student loan?

I applied to and was accepted at a university, but I’m from a smaller high school that offers no college guidance. I’ve researched everything I don’t understand on my own, but I can’t figure out the loan process. Where do you get one? How? Forms? My parents didn’t attend college, but they’re trying to help me. We are financially stable enough that the government won’t pay for my education, but not stable enough to afford it out of pocket ourselves.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

John answers:

You need to talk to the financial aid department at your college to get the specific dates and make sure you have everything filled out correctly. They will review your paper work for you, and answer any specific questions you might have.

Typically, you will apply for a Pell Grant, subsidized (Government pays your interest while you are in school), and unsubsidized (the interest accumulates while you are in school) loans. The exact amount will depend on where you are going. The Pell Grant is income based and depends on what level of degree program you are pursuing. Much of the paperwork is done online now. You will need to go to the official FAFSA website ( ) and create an account, and enter your info to apply for a Pell Grant and see if you quality for loans. Your school will give you the website you have to go to to e-sign for your loans. You will have to read stuff and answer questions before you can complete the loan process online.

The school will then be sent the information from the websites. Be sure to check with your school to see if they received them. Last semester I forgot to check with my university and nearly missed the financial deadline because the government site did not send them my data. The person in the financial aid department had to go in and retrieve it herself.

Once this is done, the money will be sent to your school to pay for your classes. Anything left over will be given to you through either direct deposit or check. Some schools let you purchase books and supplies directly on your financial aid, others you will have to wait until you get the money. It may be worth looking into an alternative source for your textbook, like an off campus bookstore or online. Just make sure you get the ISBN number, and save the receipt in case you get the wrong one. Also, if the book is shrink wrapped, DO NOT open it until the first day of class. I cannot tell you how often students get the wrong book (myself included!). If you open it you may not get a full refund.

Be sure to keep track of everything in one place, loan amounts, dates, pin numbers, contact info, &c… You will need to use it again and it is really frustrating when you can’t find info you need to file out something!

If you need more money beyond your direct loans, there are other methods to get more money, but it is a bad idea unless you really, really need it. The rates will be much higher.

I know what it is like to make enough money to have to pay for it yourself, but not be able to afford it!

Paul asks…

How can I save for an emergency fund and travel?

I currently make a little over $2500/month.
Rent = $800
College loan = $107
Timeshare = $168 (I wish I never bought it!! It’s really hard to sell.)
Credit card 1= $3000 (5% interest) Payment: $200/month
Credit card 2 = $200 (22% interest) Payment: $100/month
Credit card 3 = $97 (22% interest) Last payment: $97
Transportation = $100/month
Food = $100-$200/month
Cellphone = $60/month

By the end of the month, I am always short of money! Just looking for people who can offer good advice b/c I don’t have money to go to a personal financial planner. Thanks in advance.

John answers:

Actually, you’re just about there. I was always told that you should keep up to 33% of your income stashed away god forbid the worst happens. What you have left over after all of your expenses is just about that…1/3rd. I’m sure that doesn’t account for things like guilty pleasures–bars, smokes, other, etc.

One thing you can try is to hit up credit card companies #2 and 3 (start with the one that has the highest balance) and tell them that you were offered a lower rate with a competitor (keep one of those junk mail ads from the CC companies). Ask them for a lower rate, or let them know that you will be transferring that balance and that they will no longer be collecting money from you. Do it in the nicest tone possible…make small talk even the first time (honey goes further than vinegar). If they say no, ask to speak to their manager. The credit card company would rather give you a lower rate and keep collecting your money than worry about you leaving them.

Eh…just re-read…keep this in mind for the future though means your highest balance has the lowest rate. That will surely change though.

Food is an easy one, although you have to swallow some pride…grab the circulars from the newspapers and clip some coupons. Even if you don’t do that, they’ll usually adverttise a sale of some sorts, like 5 for $5 or something…whatever the product is. At the very least, it may keep your number closer to the $100 mark. Cook things up in larger quantities too for leftovers. I make a huge pot of sauce that can last a few weeks in the freezer with two $0.89 cent cans of tomatoes (can be cheaper if you’re willing to peel and crush yourself), an onion, some garlic and some herbs that just about anyone has already. All told, the whole pot may cost about $5 for at least 5 meals, maybe 10.

As for the timeshare…I have no idea where or what it is, but can you rent it out to friends and family? Not 100% sure about how they operate, but there has to be a way to make some money back on that one.

Transportation…are you taking mass transit? Take advantage of any frequent traveler programs they have, like a metro-pass or something.

Cable…you can usually talk to a provider and fabricate a problem. If you’re nice enough, they will give you 6 months free of a premium channel to keep you as a customer. I’ve done it before and it works, though I can’t comment on the legality/ethical concepts of it.

Utility companies almost always offer payment plans that can help lessen your burden.

Buy something like a Wawa gift card. Wawa is a large convenience store chain where I’m from, and I usually pick up a $50 gift card. It’s $50 I don’t withdraw from an ATM, because I will surely spend it on something assinine. At east with the gift card, your buying is focused and not just on a whim.

Chris asks…

what is the best way for a person with bad credit recive loans for colledge?

i have very poor credit, nor am i old enough to quilify as an independant for finicial aid (23 years old!), and when i did apply with my parents information i did not recieve a penny. basically my REAL question is what are the best private loan companies that are willing to give to a person with bad credit?

even if they have high interest rates would be fine.

John answers:

I’m baffled why you are not eligible for either the Stafford or Perkins programs. To the best of my knowledge, neither requires a credit check.

If you really do have bad credit (at 23) and really have been turned down for all available student loan sources, then you’re pretty much faced with one option: work for it and save up.

Daniel asks…

What would be the best program in San Diego for web design?

I am considering the Art Institute of California – San Diego, but I am getting mixed reviews. Now I’m not even sure if the bachelors program for web design has proper accreditation. This is a very expensive school and I want to make they have a good reputation and offer a quality education that will get me hired after graduating!

John answers:

If its one of the Art Institutes run by EDMC (all of them that use the
AI logo), avoid them like a plague. They’re not an art school
employers take seriously. They’re an open enrollment for-profit college, they take ANYONE.
They just want the financial aid from the government that you are
entitled to. The government is now suing them for 11 Billion Dollars which could wipe them off the map easily. They also got hit with ANOTHER lawsuit claiming the same thing!

If you ask me, they’re an elaborate corporate scam to funnel as many
Government Pell grants and guaranteed loans out of students as they
can and leave the students with the bill.

The Senate HELP Committee did a 2year investigation and found out the same thing.
Ai has the worst drop out rate of ALL for-profit colleges.

They’re like McDonald’s of Art “Colleges”. They’re a chain that is
popping up everywhere. They buy out dying schools, rename them, keep
the accreditation.They create programs designed for impulse buyers and quick hits aka uninformed students.

They may seem like they would be good, but it is all smoke and
mirrors. Pretty building with pretty computers. Meanwhile, it will
just ruin your life.

The market demand they say they’re meeting is not the demand of the
Job market, its the demand of the students. Students that graduated AI
are struggling to get jobs and have over more than $50,000+ or
$90,000+ in debt depending on what degree they went for. Degrees that
are worthless in the job market.

Basically, AI is a degree mill, a total debt factory. They use bloated success stats and
circle logic to back them up.

They count students working at Toys R Us as in the field. Avoid them
if you want to actually have a decent future.

If you really want to pursue your passion, go to a community college,
study fine art, and then transfer into a state school. It will be
cheaper and the money you save you can buy your own equipment and
STILL have money left over for a better future.

Their job leads are bogus, they go to Monster, Craigslist, and career
builder just like everyone else. Their top employer is HOME DEPOT
(Check their own website) and I guarantee none of those are art jobs.

Don’t make the same mistake my friends and I did. We’ll be paying for
it for the rest of our lives.

If you go with AI you’ll be folding clothes at Target or hawking video
games at Toys R Us for $8.25 an hour and struggling to pay $90,000+
with bill collectors haunting your every waking moment for the REST OF
YOUR LIFE with no way to stop them because there is no bankruptcy
protection on Student loans.
Please please please make sure you check out these news articles
below. Many are accounts from students, staff, and teachers of AI.
Feel free to check YELP (“Filtered results” as well.)

What you do with this information is your choice, I just want to make
sure you know everything before listening to one of their recruiters
sales pitch. Remember, they’re paid sales people. Not your friend.
College may be expensive but what these guys are pulling is straight
out highway robbery.

Below is a few news articles about different AI’s around the country. They’re all pulling the same thing.
Its EDMC’s business model.

You will NOT make enough to back the loans. They know this. They just want the government money they can pull in your name.
Decide for yourself. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than paying back the debt created by these scammers.

John asks…

What can I do to be approved for a home loan?

I am wanting to build a home from the ground up. What steps can I do to make it easier to get approved for at least the sum of 180,000.00 . I work for myself and will be claiming 50,000.00 this year last year I made like 15,000.00 cause I just started out. Should I have any trouble getting approved for that sum of a home loan? What can I do to make sure I will be easily approved?

John answers:

That all depends on the rest of your finances.

First, check your credit reports. You will need a FICO score of at least 645 for most lenders.

Second, start saving some cash. Most of the “no money down” programs are a thing of the past. You’ll need a couple of thousand for the earnest money, inspection, and apprisal. Then you should consider saving up about $3,000 to $5,000 for the downpayment on the mortgage.

Make sure you have all of your business records ready to show to a mortgage broker. The days of “no document” loans are long gone.

There are several things that a mortgage broker will look at:
1) Middle FICO score (credit score) should be 645 or better.
2) 2 Years in the same trade line (2 years of the same type of job).
3) Debt to Income ratio. Is you debt more than 45% of your total income? If so, that can be a problem.

If your credit needs work, there are several law firms that can help. is one that I’ve heard good things about. But keep in mind that some mortgage brokers will also advise you on how to clean up your own credit at no extra charge to you.

I hope that helps!


In the interest of full disclosure – I am not a loan officer. I am a REALTOR®, licensed in Minnesota.

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