Alternatives to College Financing: 10 Ideas You May Never Have Considered

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The incredible costs of a college education has every parent and student concerned for their future plans. The following is a list of 10 methods to cut college costs. The list is provided by www.bankrate.com and it could provide help to those people looking for any room to breathe.

1. Get College Credit in High School: Students can take AP college credited classes, with the help of a knowledgeable counselor, which will help to cut down on the number of courses need to graduate from college. Most AP courses are paid for by the high schools so as not to deter students from enrolling.

2. Junior Colleges: If you can convince your student, spending the first year or two in college at a JC is a huge cost savings. In many cases, students have yet to declare a major. In these cases, general education requirements can be fulfilled at a JC. The cost savings in tuition, books, supplies, housing, food, and travel may give a student and parent a head start on costs for graduate tuitions.

3. Cash in on Tax Credits: “What students need to know is that there’s the Hope and the Lifetime Learning tax credits,” says Joseph M. Re, author of “Financial Aid Financer: Expert Answers to College Financing Questions.”

“If you play those right, you can pick up $7,000 from Uncle Sam (over a four-year period) to pay for college. The Hope credit provides a $1,500 tax credit for each student for the first two years of college, as long as you are the one paying for college — rather than the federal government or private financial aid. (Parents who claim the student as a dependent on their tax return would be eligible for the credit.) The key to taking advantage of this credit, Re says, is to plan ahead and be aware of the stipulations.”

4. Rewards for Public Service: Some organizations like Americorps, the Peace Corps and Teach for America all offer educational service awards to students seeking cash for college.

5. Work for the College: According to Susan Hall her job with the University of Richmond (VA) comes with the “school’s tuition remission program which allows her, her spouse, and any of her dependents to attend the university for free, provided that they have the grades and test scores to make it into the school.” The benefits are obvious.

6. Pay Lower Out of State Tuition: Due to the complexity of this strategy, I am quoting www.bankrate.com :

“Get an out-of-state education, pay an in-state price. That’s the beauty of the Academic Common Market. Designed for students who can’t find their desired program of study in-state, the Academic Common Market allows students from any of the 16 member states to enroll in an institution in another member state without footing an out-of-state tuition bill. Reciprocity agreements such as the Academic Common Market, the National Student Exchange, and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (which allows students to attend out-of-state public schools in member states at 150 percent the cost of in-state public school tuition or offers a ten percent discount at out-of-state private schools in member states) are some of the best-kept secrets of the financial aid world. If you’ve got your eye on an esoteric program of study (18th century French architecture?) or are set on a certain out-of-state school, taking advantage of a reciprocity agreement can save you money.”

7. Refinance Your Home: The home is normally the greatest asset a parent can count on for quick cash. A cash out refinance can provide the majority of funds needed to get a student through to their degree.

8. Qualify Student as “Independent”: “If you qualify as an independent and your income is very low, you probably would be eligible for a Pell grant which would be for $4,100 and you would probably be eligible for an FSEOG grant which would be another $4,000,” says Joseph Re. An independent student therefore would have a much easier time qualifying for grant monies than a family with an income in excess of $50,000 per year.

* Consult your tax accountant or attorney on all of the strategies outlined here but especially this one.

9. Attend a “Work College” : Work Colleges allow a student to work a part time job at the university between 10-20 hours per week. The becomes an employee of the college and as such earn a sizable reduction in tuition costs. Check out the Work College Consortium.

10. Establish Residency in the State of your College choice: “If you really want to pay in-state prices, the best way to do that is simply to live in-state before you enroll in school. To establish residency, independent students or families (when students are dependent) must show proof of living in state for at least one year prior to enrolling in school. Remember to throughly check and investigate the requirements of each state/college in regards to residency. Check out The College Board’s Web site.

DEADLINE WARNING: Is August 24, 2007 Really the Last Day To File Claims Against Debtors aka 1031 Tax Group?

The following notice box below came from the 1031 Tax Group information site for people following the court proceedings of the 1031 Tax Group and it’s affiliates owned by Ed Okun:

This information can be found by typing http://www.officialcommitteeinfo.com/1031/as my attempts to hyper-link to this website have been unsuccessful. The site was named:

Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of the 1031 Tax Group, LLC, et al.

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*IMPORTANT NOTICE:The following information regarding deadlines for filing claims against the 1031 Tax Group is merely a report of information received by a valued reader as well as the web site documented above. I do not have any inside information nor do I bare responsibility to debtor or victim in their quest to recover or payout owed funds. I am not guaranteeing that this date is accurate or correct. I am simply publishing this date in order to make victims of the 1031 Tax Group aware that there IS a final date to file their claims. It is up to each individual to do so on their own.

I recently received a request, through comment, that I publish an article regarding August 24, 2007. In this comment was a story about “mistaken” addresses, confusion, and lost notifications that could be very unfortunate for anyone attempting to recover their funds from the 1031 Tax Group.

The following is the comment I received:

  1. Dean, would appreciate your help getting the word out to the 350 victims of Okun’s bankrupted 1031’s that the DEADLINE for filing “proofs of claim” against the bankrupted 1031’s is NEXT WED, August 24,2007, 5:00 PM EST, by which time the form (and supporting documentation) must be received by the Bankruptcy Court in NY. The information re how and where to send the document is on the Committee website http://www.committeeinfo.com/1031/pdf/99.pdf.
    I’m concerned that not every one of the claimants will have gotten the word (which should have arrived in a hard copy letter to their residence) because the attorneys for the Debtors had my address totally wrong (different stree/city/state — not one I’ve ever lived at) and I wouldn’t have known it if someone else hadn’t mentioned they’d rec’d mail I hadn’t. If they garbled my contact information that badly, they could easily have garbled others’ and how would anyone know? So, your help headlining this deadline for Okun’s victims who may not be aware would be very helpful.
    Thanks,
    Elizabeth H. CallananComment by Elizabeth H. Callanan — August 17, 2007 @ 9:02 pm | Edit This

If you have questions please contact Dean Guadagni at ddguad@aol.com. Remember please INVESTIGATE the filing date information on your own do not leave it up to me or Elizabeth!

Plugoo: Mr. Magoo, The Who, Cindy Lou Will All Love This Widget

Like so many cool cartoon like names on the internet, Plugoo’s name brings to mind for me the adventures of Mr. Bill, Slugo, and Mr. Magoo. But when the Real Estate community takes a closer look at this important widget, they will be incorporating one of the most powerful tools to access consumers since the advent of the open house. Simply put, Plugoo allows a person to chat directly from their instant messanger with consumers, friends, and family. They can hold conversations on their blog, personal webpage, or e-sales site.

Plugoo is super rich in tutorial information both visual and text. The following is a screen shot, by Capture Wiz, of Plugoo’s cool little cartoon “movie” which is essentially a flow chart on how communication works with Plugoo:

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Once you view this moving flowchart, drill down into the text tutorials. Again they are super rich in content, utility uses, and detail for the beginner on up to the advanced user.

In order to access this “library” of information, click on the word “plugoo” in the question “What is plugoo ?” that is located just below the “flowchart” box illustration I have provided (above). This will bring you to the “discover” page on the plugoo site.

The following is basic steps to opening a Plugoo account and beginning to open your online world to “instant talk.”:

How do I subscribe to get my Plugoo ?

1. Plugoo will ask for your Instant Messaging Account Address. Use the address you use to chat with friends on the Instand Messenger format such as Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Jabber, or ICQ.

2. Plugoo requires “another valid email address” in order to get a Plugoo account. Plugoo will only send you emails regarding Plugoo service: no spam

3. Choose a password dedicated to Plugoo. Your password gives you access to “your personal space within the Plugoo Community.”

* Note of Importance: Plugoo will never ask you for your Instant Messaging Account Password.

4. The final step is an email sent to your registration email address. Click on the link inside of this email. This process validates your Plugoo account. A new buddy’s invitation should pop up on instant messenger. This is the Plugoo Buddy. The is the method that communications with your visitors on your webpage/blog site will come to you the user. You then must accept the invitation.

Once your Plugoo account is set up and activated, easy to follow instructions are provided to place Plugoo on your blog/website.

The Advantages of Plugoo:

1. Potential clients do not need to install anything, they don’t need a Instant Messenger of their own, and they can not see your Instant Messenger account address.

2. Plugoo allows you to engage, on a real time basis, in conversation with potential clients.

3. Plugoo allows these potential clients to engage with you without revealing their identity. Maintaining anonymous status is important to consumers by making it more palatable for them to initiate conversations.

4. Plugoo gives Realtors a more technology savvy appearance to potential clients searching the internet for an agent.

With the speed of lightening like advances in blogging, social networking, and online marketing within the Real Estate space, it is only natural that widgetry becomes an extremely important tool within Web 2.0 strategies for Realtors. Plugoo is one of those important tools that Realtors should evaluate closely in their next generation approach to online marketing to consumers.

If you have questions please contact Dean Guadagni at ddguad@aol.com or leave us a comment.


Russian River Jazz on Johnson’s Beach: Historic Jazz Festival Marks the End of Summer in the San Francisco Bay Area

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     Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, California has been the host of the Russian River Jazz Festival for decades. The town of Guerneville, at one time a bastion for the gay and lesbian community as well as a Hell’s Angels’ vacation spot, supports an open atmosphere of lifestyles and appreciation of the arts. This year’s festival, slated for Sept 8-9, marks the 31st year of music celebration in the Russian River Jazz festival series.

Festivities begin at 10:00am each day and conclude at 6:00pm. The music starts at 11:00am and it is suggested that concert goers arrive early for the best possible seats on the beach.

According to Amber Cancellier, very amiable and helpful executive at Omega Events, this year’s event offers two ticket packages. General admission seating is $48 per person per day. This is a general admission with a first come first served policy on seating choices on the beach.

The Gold package at $98, per person per day, is the equivalent of the VIP Vegas “Bottle Table” service experience. In this package, the concert goer is provided a premium beach chair with a front of the stage position. In addition each Gold Ticket receives 3 free coupons to the Wine Garden pavilion that is set up for wine lovers. In my opinion, if you are not supporting a family to this event then the Gold Package is the only way to fly!

Here is why you want to purchase that Gold Package according to www.russianriverfestivals.com :

Saturday Sept. 8 features Chaka Khan, Boney James, Poncho Sanchez, Ledisi, Forte, and Michaele.

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Sunday Sept. 9 features Joe Sample Trio, Christian Scott, Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, and Michaele.

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The following is a simple map of the area surrounding Guerneville, California:

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If you have any questions please contact Dean at ddguad@aol.com or comment here at deansguide.wordpress.com. Thanks!

Federation of Exchange Accommodators Moves To Petition Federal Trade Commission For 1031 Exchange Reform!

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In their boldest, hard line action to date, the Federation of Exchange Accommodators, 1031 Exchange Industry’s sole professional organization, has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to “adopt a regulation that would apply the force of federal law to accepted industry standards and conduct that are intended to protect consumers who engage the services of exchange facilitators.”

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According to Smartmoney.com, the historic significance of this petition is to put safeguards in place to “measure competency” of qualified intermediaries, financial safeguards for consumers, and Federal Trade Commission standard operating procedures in cases of enforcement.

The following is the guts of the petition presented by Smartmoney:

Exchange Facilitators Must Demonstrate Competency

“– An exchange facilitator must first register with the
Commission, providing specific identifying information, and
the results of a national fingerprint background check for
certain facilitators.”

In my opinion this safeguard is long over due. As when you are fingerprinted for your driver’s license, QI’s should be forced to provide fingerprints, voiceprints, and while we are at it maybe even DNA samples.

“– A facilitator must designate and maintain an exchange
facilitator officer (e.g., an attorney, CPA or individual with
at least three years experience as a facilitator) who has
demonstrated experience and training to act as an exchange facilitator.”

In my opinion the FEA’s Certified Exchange Accommodator’s certification should be mandated by the FTC as a requirement to be fulfilled by these “designated” facilitators.

Financial Safeguards

“– An exchange facilitator would have to act as a custodian of
exchange funds and invest in a manner that provides sufficient
liquidity and preserves the principal of the exchange funds.”

Any safeguard that will “preserve the principle of exchange funds” will then protect consumers.

“– A facilitator would have to maintain certain specified levels
of insurance, bonds, letters of credit, and/or deposits.”

In my opinion this is a natural safeguard but has it really been as effective a safeguard as background investigations of potential Qualified Intermediaries?

Federal Trade Commission

“– Must review applications for compliance with the registration
requirements. Authorized to revoke or suspend a registration
for misrepresentations, failing to account for property
belonging to others, or deceptive conduct.”

This is the “teeth” of the petition in my opinion. If the FTC will step up and levy heavy fines, pursue criminal proceedings, and revoke licensing, then the 1031 Industry will restore order and consumer confidence.

If you have any information or opinions on this developing story between the FEA-FTC and the 1031 Exchange industry please comment or write to Dean Guadagni at ddguad@aol.com



			

The Federation of Exchange Accommodators’ New Designation: “Certified Exchange Specialist” Vital to Consumer Protection Within the 1031 Exchange Industry

The Federation of Exchange Accommodators established the CES Program or Certified Exchange Specialist designation as a way to “certify” Qualified Intermediaries. It is another checks and balances precaution that will allow the consumer to feel more confident that their CES designated Qualified Intermediary is both competent and a honest and legitimate business. The importance of this certification could have positive ramifications for the Exchange industry moving forward. It is too early to gauge the effectiveness of the CES certification but it is the right step in the evolution of the Exchange industry.

According to www.articlecenter.com: “The CES Program was established by the FEA in 2003 to formally recognize individuals who have satisfied an experience requirement and demonstrated through testing their comprehensive knowledge of Section 1031 and the facilitation of like-kind exchanges. Currently there are 246 CES® Designees nationwide.”

“It’s exciting to see the commitment that our members have to continuing education and furthering their credibility in the industry,” said Hugh Pollard, CES®, 2007 FEA President. “The CES® designation is a designation that anyone executing an exchange should have on their business card. It provides customers with confidence in knowing that they are working with the highest level of professionalism within the industry.”

The following is a list of professionals, provided by the article center, who passed the exam and can now use the CES® designation in their title:

John Boyd Greenville, SC
Melanie Brienza Providence, RI
Tacha Bromber Petaluma, CA
• Brooke Collins Tallahassee, FL
• Angela Fortune Morrisville, NC
Amy Gustin Bellevue, WA
• Alan Lichtenstein Dix Hills, NY
• Carla Linskey Virginia Beach, VA
Matthew Linville Pilot Mountain, NC
• Adam Mishcon Coral Gables, FL
• Stephen Rogers Scottsdale, AZ
• Scott Rotkowitz Armonk, NY
Esther Silberberg Lakewood, NJ
• Sarah K. Smith Las Vegas, NV
• Justin Swift Roseville, CA

For more information on CES certified Exchange industry professionals in your area please go to the “member locator” section of the Federation of Exchange Accommodators website at www.1031.org.

Ed Okun’s Friends

Over the course of the past few months, I have reported on the 1031 Tax Group and Ed Okun. The information, gleaned from major news media sources, has evoked strong responses about Mr. Okun. In order to be fair in reporting, I am presenting the following positive comment I received supporting Mr Okun.

  1. John Howell | patmatch@mac.com | IP: 216.213.36.2Hey you guys,I have met Mr Okun and I can say that you are all wrong! Mr Okun is one of the kindest, best dressed he always looks so nice, and honest man. He always pay his bills to me, and even the fact they are high for him, he never objects. In the last three years we got to know a remarkable man, very generous. If he says the transportation are neessesary, its the truth. If you were in his shoes you also would not be coming in the courtroom . He doesnt have to there and hear people like you who are overly sensitive and perhaps even jealous of Mr Okun. Just relax and let Mr Okun lawyers tell you how it all really went and then move on. It was good before.Aug 13, 7:41 PM — [ Edit | Delete | Unapprove | Approve | Spam ] — Ed Okun’s “Toys”: Is This Where the 1031 Tax Group Victim’s Monies Disappeared?

If you are a friend of Mr. Okun or wish to support him, please let us hear your story.

FEA Fighting Back for 1031 Exchange Reform: President Hugh Pollard Lays Down the Gauntlet

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In a strong show of support for victims of 1031 crimes, his ethically honest 1031 exchange membership, and the relationship between potential consumers and his membership, Hugh Pollard President of the Federation of Exchange Accommodators has drawn a line in the sand. In a fine article written by PRnewsnow.com, Pollard gives his reaction to Nevada’s newest 1031 exchange legislation SB 476:

“We strongly support any additional consumer protections that can be put in place to establish trust and confidence between customers of 1031 Exchanges and their intermediaries,” said Hugh Pollard, President, FEA. “The law itself uses similar provisions to the FEA’s own Model Law, which holds Qualified Intermediaries to a set of strict ethics expectations.”

In order to understand Nevada’s SB 476 refer to “Nevada’s 1031 Exchange Law: How Will It Work and Is California Going to Act to Stop Okun-McGhan Like Disasters?”

The FEA’s strong public show of support for Nevada’s efforts was met with equal enthusiasm by Business and Industry Department Director Mendy Elliot: “The FEA was a strong resource for our research team,” “We approached the FEA looking for background information on 1031 Exchanges, and their people stood by us throughout the process of drafting this bill. No organization could provide more detailed experience or insight into the potential gaps in the legalities of 1031 Exchanges. We are very appreciative for their commitment to consumer protections.”

This is the very core value that the FEA can and is beginning to bring to consumers who have suffered needless and irreparable damages at the hands of white collar criminals.

If you have been swindled in a 1031 Exchange deal and you are seeking retribution as well as damages, please make your voice heard. Pick up the phone or email the Federation of Exchange Accommodators and give them your support or email Dean Guadagni at ddguad@aol.com.

SRV:”Lookin back in front of me” In Step with Life

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Have you ever seen greatness up close and personal in your life? Have you experienced an artist that has touched you with a song or lyric that fits your life’s challenges and triumphs to a “T” ? I have seen that greatness up close and personal and I have experienced the type of song and lyric that keeps coming back to remind me of my life and times. That greatness for me was Stevie Ray Vaughn.

August 27, 1990 will forever go down in history as one of the saddest days in music history as Stevie Ray Vaughn, one of the greatest blues rock guitarist in music history, was killed in a horrible helicopter crash. Vaughn at age 35 was considered the closest thing to Jimmy Hendrix the music world had ever heard. His machine gun style take no prisoners riffs are stuff of legend. His deep soulful voice was the perfect compliment to the Stevie Ray style: soulful mayhem.

It was with great sadness and pleasure that I watched KQED’s Compilation of Stevie Ray Vaughn archive footage. The story like many rock stars was a meteoric blast off into music legend with his band “Double Trouble” gaining world wide adulation from an ever increasing and adoring audience.

As I listen to this music, I fall into a trance where so many of SRV’s songs spawn a highlight and lowlight reel of my life. From “Riviera Paradise” comes an evening shooting pool dressed in a tux smoking a cigar in a San Francisco hustler’s den amongst a cache of thieves, cadre of mentally deficient, and a quorum of highly paid entertainment “performers.” “Caught up in a whirlwind can’t catch my breath. . . knee deep in hot water broke out in cold sweat. . . ” It was one of Stevie Ray’s greatest albums, “In Step” that launched my love of the man and his music. Make no mistake about it, Vaughn lived and he lived hard to the very last chord.

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“Coldshot” I lived many a time when I thought to myself love might never find me. Walkin the “Tightrope” is an everyday event as I am fond of “Lookin back in front of me” seems to sum up my grateful feelings that life is better now than in the past. It is a reminder to always look ahead but never forget where you came from and who you have become in this life.

If you have an artist so precious to your life and times that you can not imagine him/her being gone, then hear this message. Go out and see that person NOW. Go enjoy the magic, savor the moments, and forever be grateful for one shining moment you felt that somebody out there really does understand.

Bodega Bay Seafood, Art and Wine Festival: One of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Best Summer Festivals to Celebrate the End of Summer

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The San Francisco Bay Area’s Summer Festival season is coming to a close with one of the very best outdoor celebrations. The 13th annual Bodega Seafood, Art and Wine Festival provides celebrants with a serene water location, world class musical talent, and gourmet food and wine offerings.

The Bodega Bay celebration is held in the historic bay side resort town of Bodega Bay made famous by Alfred Hitchcock in his creepy classic “The Birds.” The festival, August 25 & 26th, is located at Watt’s Ranch 16855 Bodega Avenue in the village of Bodega Bay, California. The event runs from 10:00-6:00 on Saturday and 10:00-5:00 on Sunday; admission fees are $12 for adults, $10 for Seniors 60 and over, $8 for kids 12-1, and children under 12 are admitted free of charge. This is truly one of the best values in entertainment. The following is a lineup of musical talent, Art, Food and wineries available:

Saturday August 25: Headliner Marcia Ball Singer/Pianist brings her brand of “bayou blues” and “honky tonk” style for her first appearance at Bodega Bay.

Opening for Marcia: Guitar virtuoso Scott Huckabay , Cari Lee and the Saddle-ites , Montuno Groove , and a host of stage shows.

Sunday August 26: Headliner the Bay Area’s native sons Pride and Joy the best R&B club band with over 25 yrs of headliner gigging.

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Opening for Pride and Joy: Incendio nuevo flamenco and Tom Rigney.

With 19 wineries led by the fantastic Sbragia from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County and 10 breweries including Sierra Nevada there will not be a dry glass in the place.

If you are visiting the San Francisco Bay Area in late August or if you are a local make the trek to Bodega Bay for what promises to be the best celebration of the summer.

For more information, please contact Dean Guadagni at ddguad@aol.com