Jennifer Desjarlais

Jennifer Desjarlais, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Wellesley College

We received some great advice recently from Jennifer Desjarlais, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Wellesley College, who shares her perspective on academic rigor within the context of the application for admission. Read her wise words below.

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As families make plans to pay the college bill, many consider private education loans as one way to help cover the cost. Deciding to borrow a loan for educational expenses is a significant decision, never to be taken lightly. Here at MEFA, we continually speak to families about wise borrowing and minimizing debt. As we’ve chatted with prospective college students and their parents over the past few weeks, we’ve fielded many questions related to the details of private education loans. We present to you this morning our FAQs on that topic.
Loan FAQ's
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If you’re a family with a college-bound student, one of the most important decisions you’ll make over the next few months is how to allocate your resources to pay for your child’s college expenses. We’ve received a lot of questions over the past few weeks about the nitty-gritty of payment plans, college costs, and financing strategies. See below for our top ten frequently asked questions about all things related to the college bill.

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You finally received all of those financial aid awards you were expecting, and have taken the time to read and review each one. But where do you go from here? Read our frequently asked questions below to get all the details you need in completing the important next steps within the financial aid process.

Financial Aid Award Letters FAQs
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If you’re one of the many families in the midst of college acceptance season, you likely have a stack of financial aid awards at home. Financial aid can be a big help in paying the college bill, but trying to decipher those award letters can cause considerable confusion. Acronyms run rampant in financial aid, and the same loan or grant can have a different name on each college’s award letter.

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Don’t you love it when your questions get answered? We’re in the midst of helping families with the important college enrollment decision, and through our After the Acceptance program we’ve been answering questions from families all about financial aid awards, the college bill, and financing strategies.

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As the piles of financial aid awards letters start coming in, you may notice several different names used on your award letters to describe your main student loan from the federal government. Though the official name of the federal loan is the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, You have have loans listed simply titled Direct Loan, Stafford Loan, or Ford Loan. These are all the same loan, just named differently at colleges and universities.

Who was William D. Ford? William D. Ford was a Representative from Michigan from 1965 to 1995. He was known for his efforts to increase educational opportunities for families of limited means. In 1978, Rep. Ford sponsored the Middle Income Student Assistance Act, which expanded the college loan program. In 1994, the Federal Direct Student Loan program was named in his honor.

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During the month of April, I spend a good deal of time talking to families about making that final college decision. My advice is always the same: Attend the Accepted Student Days or Open House programs offered by colleges in the month of April!
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This past January, the Education Finance Council began hosting a once-a-month Twitter chat focusing on topics related to college success and financial aid awareness. The Education Finance Council (EFC) is the national trade association representing nonprofit and state agency student loan organizations. EFC members share a common goal to increase college access, success, and affordability.
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A little over a month ago today, uAspire held their First One Awards right here in Downtown Boston. It was a special evening that commemorated and celebrated individuals who were the first in their family to graduate from college. For those who may not know the good work of uAspire, what they do is strive to provide the opportunity for all young people to reach their full potential by graduating from college, regardless of their families’ financial resources or college experience.
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