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 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.
The college experience can feel daunting for new and current students. Host Jonathan Hughes speaks with MEFA Pathway Coordinator Ajea Stupart about how to manage your college life. Ajea breaks down her blog series on the topic as well as some of her favorite features from MEFA’s college and career readiness tool, MEFA Pathway. Jonathan is also joined by Julie Shields-Rutyna, MEFA’s Director of College Planning. They discuss the parent side of students adjusting to college life as well as the financial side of paying for college. They also, as always, answer a question from the MEFA Mailbag. If you enjoy the MEFA Podcast, please leave us a review.
Host Jonathan Hughes is joined by Drew Carter, Deputy Director of Admission at College of the Holy Cross, who explains how students can present their best college admissions application. Factors include letters of recommendation, the college essay, and demonstrated interest. If you enjoy the MEFA Podcast, please leave us a review.
Host Jonathan Hughes is joined by students from Amherst Regional High School, Franklin County Technical High School, and Tewksbury Memorial High School. These students discuss how they decided which colleges to apply to, what is was like to do virtual college visits, how cost factored into the college decision, the process of writing the college essay and applying for scholarships, the financial aid process, and how they finally decided on a college. If you enjoy the MEFA Podcast, please leave us a review.