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According to the College Board, the average cost of college tuition and fees in 2012 ranged from $8,655 a year for in-state students attending a public, four-year college, to $29,056 a year for students attending a private, nonprofit four-year institution. Yet, a September 2012 survey showed that a school’s cost was the student’s fifth most important consideration when deciding where to attend college. Students also indicated a need for support from a variety of funding sources; more than half of students surveyed borrow from the federal government or a private lender to cover their costs.

These statistics show that a school’s price tag is actually a very important factor when choosing a college.  Accordingly, when comparing college costs, one of a student’s first steps should be filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial Aid). Then, in late March and early April, students and their families begin receiving financial aid award letters from the colleges they’ve applied to. These letters provide the details related to the estimated cost to attend the school, the expected family contribution, and your financial aid award package that includes grants, scholarships, work-study, need-based and non-need-based loans.

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While college can be one of the best experiences of your life, it can also be one of the most expensive. The average cost per year for a 4-year degree at a state-sponsored school currently runs $22,261 for in-state students and $35,321 for out-of-state students, according to a 2012 College Board report. With a few tips and strategies, you can ease your financial burden by applying for scholarships.

The fact is, the more money you can get in scholarships, the less you’ll need to borrow. Scholarships are awarded by universities, nonprofit organizations, corporations and private individuals. There are many different kinds of scholarships – some are need-based while others focus on what a student’s interests are – so start searching early and be persistent. 

MoneyWellAfrican-American investors report high levels of confidence in their financial future, along with optimism about the political and economic future of the country, according to a recent Wells Fargo nationwide survey. Despite proactive planning and intentional cuts in spending, African American investors remain focused on day-to-day living expenses, with a large majority concerned about having enough money to retire.

Basic Banking for Successful Small BusinessFor business owners, time is money. With all their energies focused on making their businesses successful, business owners often decide to begin with “the basics” for their financial accounts and choose products that mirror the personal financial accounts that they already know how to manage. Yet to be successful, there are several financial choices business owners should consider to meet the unique needs of their businesses:

Going it Alone | A Financial Guide for SinglesSingle individuals without children make up one of the fastest-growing segments of society today. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that for the first time in the nation’s history, there are now more people living alone in single-person households than there are traditional families of a husband, wife and one child.

According to the latest U.S. census, as of the year 2000 there were approximately 27.2 million single-person households versus about 16.6 million three-person family households. And the percentage of single-person U.S. households — now at 26 percent — has been steadily increasing for at least three decades.

FALLBROOK CHURCH - CHRISTMAS IN JULY

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