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Let’s face it, college can be expensive. It can be difficult to navigate paying for college right from the get go.
Recently we held a workshop, How to Pay for College, where a presenter for InspirED, an organization that seeks to inspire students to achieve higher education through their outreach efforts, spoke to a group that consisted of current high school students, parents, and community educators about the real cost of college, how to pay for it, and finding scholarships. Here's what we learned:
- Did you know that some organizations offer scholarships that no one takes them up on? The lesson here is to research organizations in your community for scholarship opportunities and “Do the hard work!” Apply, apply, apply. Write those application essays! A few hours of your time might result in hundreds if not thousands of dollars in scholarship funds. Not a bad trade off.
There are several scholarship sites that can get you started. Even if you are an older student returning to continue your education, there are resources available to you!
- January is prime time to start filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as you will need to provide information on your income and federal tax information. File early as your completed application can make you eligible for other grant funding that is available through educational institutions on a first come, first served based. If you have any questions about filling out the FAFSA you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
- Every educational institution is required to provide Cost of Attendance figures.You can search the website of your chosen college or university or contact their financial aid office for this information. Cost of Attendance is the total amount it will cost you to go to college each year. The COA includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and, if applicable, dependent care. Knowing this figure up front can help you make a more informed decision about where you want to go to college.
- Parents, follow the College preparation checklist which provides tips and things to do and explore starting in elementary school up to students who “wait until the last minute!”
Due to changes by the Tax Forms Outlet Program, we will only have a limited amount of forms this year. We will have *NO* instruction books available. We do have reproducible forms available to use on the copy machine and forms and instructions are available at www.irs.gov/forms. More tax information, including AARP and VITA tax times is available at http://www.arlingtonlibrary.org/guides/taxes.
From the IRS:While we had committed to waiting until next year to making changes to the Tax Forms Outlet Program, the situation has changed. As you may be aware, IRS appropriations were significantly cut in the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill recently passed by Congress. Unfortunately this puts us in a position where we have very few options. We want to honor our commitment to you by providing some key products, but we cannot deliver nearly what we have in the past.
For this filing season, we will offer the following products:*Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ*Publication 17, one reference copy for each participant (Taxpayers will be able to access Publication 17 in English and Spanish online from irs.gov/Pub17 and, new this year, it will also be available as a free e-Pub for downloading from IRS.gov and viewing on most e-Readers and other mobile devices.)*Publication 4604 (EN/SP), Use the Web for IRS Tax Products & Information*Publication 1132, Reproducible Copies of Federal Tax Forms and Instructions*The TFOP Poster Package which includes:· Publication 1169, Need Tax Help?· Publication 1258, Where Should I Send This?· Publication 1309, Tax Forms This Way Publication· Publication 1725, If The Form Fits...Use It!
No additional products will be available through the TFOP Program...Unfortunately, we are unable to offer Instructions for Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ. You can obtain copies of Instructions through:*IRS.gov/Forms - to view and download*IRS.gov/orderforms - to order tax products to be delivered by mail*1-800-829-3676 - to order tax products to be delivered by mail
The decision to reduce the number of tax products available to our TFOP partners was not made lightly. We realize this decision is not ideal and we understand it may impact you and your customers. Please offer Publication 4604 (EN/SP) to your patrons to help guide them to tax products and information available on IRS.gov. We apologize for these late program changes.Thank you for your support,IRS TFOP Administrator
Would you date your best friend and turn it into an internet sensation? Jessica Walsh did-and now has also turned the experience into a book-40 Days of Dating.
Dec. 17 was an enjoyable day to get together. We laughed, drank coffee and enjoyed holiday goodies when the reporting was done. Laureen really likes our time together and December was no exception. Thanks to all who brought food and holiday spirit. Some of our reading lists were relatively short his month but that is due to all the holiday hubbub. And now for our report…
Laureen started by showing a book that was handed out, as a paperback, at the Closing of the Central Library party. The daughters of George W. Hawkes gave attendees copies of To Talk of Many Things: an anthology taken from the weekly columns of a Texas community newspaper publisher; 1965-1988. It is an easy book to pick up and just read a few pages at a time. Laureen’s favorite read was Unbroken: a WWII story of survival, resilience and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. She read it in anticipation of the movie coming out on Christmas Day. Laureen was very much affected by this book and she admired Hillenbrand’s research and her capacity to distill a cruel, complex time in world history. Our group has discussed this book before, so this writer won’t belay the point that the man in question, Louis Zamperini, was remarkably resilient, in the face of torture and cruelty. Laureen has since seen the movie and was asked if she enjoyed the film. Her response is that it is intense-you can’t enjoy a movie about torture. She was a little disappointed that some of the less well-known characters weren’t developed enough. It was impressive, however, and the scene that Jolie chose as the climax was interesting. It was impossible to miss its symbolism.
Two mysteries were brought to our table by Betty. The first one was Death Before Wicket: a Phryne Fisher mystery by Kerry Greenwood. Ms. Greenwood is Australian and this story takes place in Sydney, AU. There is a PBS show that features this outlandish character-quite ahead of her time, in many ways. Betty also shared Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody. The plot takes place in the 1920s and Betty thought it funny and thought this better than its sequel A Medal for Murder. Third in this series is Murder in the Afternoon. A reviewer called the heroine complex and also said it has a fine feeling for the post-WWI period.
On the recommendation of a member of our group, Ronnie read Gray Mountain by John Grisham. She thought it a good read and that sentiment is shared by many – there are 69 holds on the title! Ronnie’s probable favorite of the month was The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant. It is an immigrant story and one that reminds Ronnie of her own grandmother’s journey. A reviewer called it “a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.”
Sandy’s main read this month was Redeployment by Phil Klay. This book is a selection of short stories based on Foreign Service officers and soldiers fighting and working during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and then dealing with the aftermath. This book received the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction.
Linda first presented us with a mystery she read, Still Life: A Novel by Louise Penny. It is book one in the Inspector Armand Gamache series that usually takes place in Canada. She also shared Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: a Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini. Linda thought the latter book a “slog” because of all the Civil War historical details. She did come upon a read that was quite intriguing, though—Blood Will Out: the True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade. by Walter Kirn. It is a story in which the author, a journalist, was hoodwinked professionally and emotionally after befriending a man who turned out to be a serial imposter. Chistian Gerhartsreiter came to America from Germany, took the name Clark Rockefeller (like the famous family) and set up a new life based on lies. He didn’t want money. He wanted prestige, nice things and the attention of friends. Instead, he faced murder charges and went to prison—certainly a unique story.
David rediscovered an old classic when he took home Betty’s old paperback copy of Lost Horizon by James Hilton. He called this book wonderful and he enjoyed the linear plot. It reminded him somewhat of one of David’s favorite authors, W. A. Genty. He also brought a science fiction title to our table—By Heresies Distressed by David Weber. This book, as well as the first two in the Safehold series, are named for old Protestant hymns. This plot involves a revolution again church and state. As usual for David Weber books, “our” David loved this story.
Pete finished a book he told us about last month, The Hot Rock by Donald Westlake. APL has 40 Westlake titles but not this one. Pete bought this paperback at an estate sale. It was originally published in 1970. Pete called this a humorous crime novel and a little outlandish. It is a title in the Dortmunder series. The hot rock is a large emerald that is repeatedly stolen. This title is certainly not in the great literature department but was an interesting diversion.
A beautiful love story set in Burma was brought to our group by Joyce. She read The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel by Jan-Philipp Sendker. This book was published first in Germany in 2002 and printed in the US in 2012. Joyce described it as a really nice story on many levels. One interesting side light that Joyce shared with us was the author’s description of a character’s impending blindness and accommodation to the new hardship. She felt that was very well done.
Elizabeth began her discussion with an area we talked about once before—the Castle series on TV and in books. In this case, Elizabeth likes the TV series better than the book. An example of one of the books by Richard Castle (a pseudonym) is Heat Wave. A friend also gave Elizabeth a book with 7 complete Perry Mason novels by Erle Stanley Garner. She enjoyed some of these 1940s era books. In the non-fiction category, Elizabeth brought the title, The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control by Walter Mischel. The author is a psychologist and has given his test (based on his theories) many times over the years. This book explains self-control and how to master it. Our Good Grounds realized that heroes get where they are because of self-discipline. Those that do not use this device, get in trouble. Her last read was a children’s novel, The Champion by Maurice Gee. The story is about Allied servicemen convalescing in New Zealand during WWII. Since one of the main characters is an American black man, the plot involves war-time pressures and racial prejudices. This book gets mixed reviews since some reviewers feel the main character is too stereotypical. It was based on the author’s own experience.
Ron read another book by one of his favorite authors, David Baldacci. He read Saving Faith as a paperback. It was published in 1999. The plot takes place in D.C. and has the FBI and CIA involved in the action. Ron enjoyed it but didn’t think this Baldacci was as good as some of his later work. As of Good Grounds, Ron was reading Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett. It is the 3rd book in the Century trilogy and still follows the lives of five intertwined International families. It isn’t advisable to read this title, if you haven’t read the first two, Fall of Giants and Winter of the World. Ron likes Follett’s style. These stories take place between the 1960s-1980s, mostly in Europe and Russia.
Theresa read a non-fiction account of the Great Blizzard of 1888. This book is The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin, and was written in 2004. This ‘tragic crucible’ event took over 500 lives and devastated immigrant families and pioneer advancement, especially in the Dakotas and Nebraska. At the time of this event weather science was not sophisticated enough to prevent this tragedy and it is still remembered today. Evidently, this same storm moved eastward. Jim Murphy, a well-respected Juvenile non-fiction writer, wrote about the storm’s effect in NYC. That book is Blizzard!: The Storm that Changed America (2000.)
Theresa also mentioned that ‘The Book Club Play’ (written by Karen ZacharÍas) is at the Kalita Humphreys Theater in Dallas from Jan. 1-Feb. 1. It might be worth the field trip to see if the actors got it right.
Happy New Year, one and all. Our next meeting is at Woodland West Library on January 21 at 11 am. Hope to see you then
—Laureen (the retired) Librarian, Good Grounds for Books Leader
Jayne Ann Krentz hits the mark with her new romantic suspense novel Trust No One and Alan Bradley is back with a new Flavia de Luce novel-rumour has it that this series will soon be a movie!
The Arlington Public Library visits Arbrook Retirement Living twice a month as part of its Books On Wheels program. Residents can checkout from a selection of library materials and receive services without having to come to the library.
It provides a unique and personalized library service to an underserved community. One example is Doris Mixson. Due to a stroke she had to relearn how to read. She has been making her way through the Boxcar Children book series and is now reading volume 69 and on her way to completing all 130 titles. She reads about 6 books a month! It’s a joy to visit with them and they are so appreciative. Arbrook residents can request specific titles and or subjects to have brought to them. The unofficial Arbrook Librarian, Hilda Weber, oversees their in-house collection and promotes reading to the residents. Just like the Arlington Public Library, Hilda turned 90 last year.
Arlington Public Library’s Books on Wheels program is looking for volunteer drivers! If you’d like to help, check out the link below for a description of this important volunteer position.
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