The MEFA Podcast
Welcome to MEFA's podcast series. Here you'll find conversations with experts about every step of planning, saving, and paying for college and reaching financial goals. You can listen to each podcast right on this page, or through your preferred podcast app. Send us a question and we might answer it on the next episode.
Host Jonathan Hughes and co-host Julie Shields-Rutyna talk to Mark Stucker of the Your College-Bound Kid podcast. Mark is also an author and the founder and owner of School Match 4U, a personalized educational consulting firm. They discuss Mark’s podcast, alternatives to college, how to conduct a holistic college search, the value of college, and several college admissions trends, including test-optional and test-free schools, virtual admissions, and more.
Host Jonathan Hughes discusses MEFA’s How to Pay for College campaign with co-host Julie Shields-Rutyna, including the webinars, seminars, tools, and guidance that MEFA is offering this upcoming spring for high school seniors and their families. Then they go to the MEFA Mailbag to discuss how to report properties and income on the FAFSA. Jonathan then talks to the CEO of MassEdCO, Mark Bilotta, about the services and tools MassEdCO offers as well as Mark’s career in financial aid and financial literacy.
Hosts Jonathan Hughes and Julie Shields-Rutyna discuss recent scholarship opportunities with MEFA’s own Lauren Danz. Then, they go to the MEFA Mailbag and answer a question about grandparents opening MEFA U.Plan and U.Fund college savings accounts. Finally, Jonathan talks to Director of Education and Training at the Common App Meredith Lombardi about the basics of the Common App, how to navigate it, who can use it, and all its different functions.
Hosts Jonathan Hughes and Julie Shields-Rutyna discuss college campus visits. Then they answer a MEFA Mailbag question about making corrections on your FAFSA. Finally, Jonathan sits down with Old Rochester Regional High School Counselor Dr. Mike Janicki to discuss college athletics including the different associations and divisions, who gets scholarships, interactions with coaches, the athlete’s college application process, maintaining eligibility, and more.
Host Jonathan Hughes talks with co-host Julie Shields Rutyna and MEFA Pathway Director Jennifer Bento-Pinyoun about how students can use MEFA Pathway’s College Search and Career Search features to create a postsecondary plan. Then, they go into the MEFA Mailbag to answer a listener’s question about reporting income on the CSS Profile. Finally, Jonathan talks to Drew Carter, Deputy Director of Admission at College of the Holy Cross, about five secrets to finding the right college, including embracing the unknown and being open to exposure.
Host Jonathan Hughes sits down at the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Advisors (MASFAA) Conference in Plymouth, MA. There, he talks to Anthony Erwin, a Principal Consultant for Blue Icon Advisors of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Advisors (NASFAA). He also speaks with Anne McDermott, the Director of Financial Aid at Salve Regina University and President of EASFAA (the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators). They discuss how financial aid differs across the country, where financial aid offices need support, advice for new aid administrators, and more.
Host Jonathan Hughes first talks with co-host Julie Shields-Rutyna about students applying for private student loans for the spring semester. Then, they go into the MEFA Mailbag to answer a question about study abroad. Finally, Jonathan talks to Director of College Relations at MEFA Shawn Morrissey about financial aid for graduate students.
Host Jonathan Hughes first talks to his co-host Julie Shields-Rutyna about the financial aid season. They discuss filing the FAFSA and CSS Profile as well how MEFA and other organizations can help families with that process. Then, they dive into the MEFA Mailbag to talk about a guardianship question related to financial aid. Finally, Jonathan talks to his wife, Cathy Hughes, to hear about her experience finishing her college degree later in her life.
Host Jonathan Hughes has two conversations about unique paths when planning for college. He first talks to Ellen Ullman. She is the mother of a student who is enrolled at Michigan State University. After learning the cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuitions the Ullmans decided to move to Michigan. After, he talks to Gracie Rosenberg, who was a dual enrollment student at Franklin County Technical High School and Greenfield Community College. You’ll first hear their initial conversation from a previous episode and then a follow-up from this past summer.
If you’re divorced or separated, you may have questions about completing financial aid forms. On this episode of The MEFA Podcast, MEFA's Associate Director of College Planning Jonathan Hughes breaks down how to complete these forms, including maintaining confidentiality between parents, which parent completes the forms, how to determine the custodial parent, and how to keep the financial aid office involved. Jonathan also answers listener’s questions about changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, adding additional colleges to the FAFSA, and applying your student loan when you transfer schools. Jonathan is joined by MEFA's Director of College Planning, Julie Shields-Rutyna, and Wheaton College’s Director of Student Financial Services, Susan Beard. If you enjoy the MEFA Podcast, please leave us a review.