Q: My eldest granddaughter is going to college next year in Europe. I created a Coverdell Education Savings Account for her at birth. What is the best way to use that money to pay her educational expenses and avoid currency fluctuations? Michael Diamant
A: In order to use either a Coverdell account or 529 college savings plan to cover her college costs, youll first need to verify that the foreign college your granddaughter wants to attend is considered an eligible educational institution by the IRS. To qualify, a college has to participate in U.S. Department of Educations Federal Student Aid program; there are more than 320 international colleges that are part of the student aid program for the 2017-2018 school year.
Look up colleges that participate to see if your granddaughters college is on the list. If its not, contact the college (start with the financial aid office or the office for international students) and ask whether the college is approved to receive federal financial aid from the U.S. The college should be able to provide you with its student aid code to verify that.
Once youve confirmed that the college is eligible, figure out how much of her total expenses will be considered approved educational expenses under IRS guidelines. To pass the sniff test, think about what would be a qualified expense at a U.S. school, says Beth Walker, a financial planner at The Wealth Consulting Group in Nevada and founder of Center for College Solutions. Tuition, room and board, books, and computers are all fair game. But expenses unique to going to college abroad such as the fees for a student visa or plane tickets to and from Europe wont qualify.
As for currency fluctuations: Your withdrawals will be tax-free as long as they are for qualified expenses, regardless of the current exchange rate.
But currency differences do, of course, affect how far the money in your account will go. Theres little you can do to control that, although Walker does recommend accelerating your payments to the college if theres a particularly attractive exchange rate this year, or if theres reason to expect the the dollar will lose strength to the currency in the country where your granddaughters college is. So, for example, for colleges in Canada or Britain, itd be smart to ask the college if you can prepay for two years to take advantage of a favorable conversion rate, Walker says.
And be sure to ask about discounts for prepaying. Many colleges in the U.S. and abroad will offer that.
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CHARLOTTESVILLE John King Jr., the U.S. education secretary, on Monday kicked off his agencys annual bus tour to welcome students back to Americas public schools. But King will be out of office before this school year ends, leaving in January. And he just took the helm at Education six months ago.
Thats not a lot of time to make an enormous impact on Americas sprawling public education system, as King readily admits. Instead, he is trying to continue the work of his predecessor, Arne Duncan, in pushing the presidents objectives for students from preschool through college.
This week, King is touting the administrations achievements and goals with a five-day, six-state bus to
More than half the eligible students at Frontier Central School District opted out of state tests this year.
Thats one of the reasons Frontier decided to change the rules of the game, instead coming up with standards it says will exceed those of New York State and Common Core, and hopefully gain the confidence of parents.
So many of our parents do not trust the state testing system, Superintendent Bret Apthorpe said.
The district took the first step Tuesday night when the School Board adopted district vision and belief statements that will be used this summer by a committee of teachers, parents and administrators to create the graduation standards. In the months after that, teachers will create the curriculum, placing it online for their colleagues.
So regardless of state politics, regardless of federal politics, regardless of the conflict of the moment, were going to guarantee our kids get a world-class education that ensures the values and beliefs of this community are not lost in those conflicts, Apthorpe said.
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In other words, Frontier is not waiting for the Board of Regents or the education department to resolve the present conflicts surrounding the Common Core, Apthorpe said. We are moving forward now to provide a high-quality Frontier standards-based education.
The key Frontier values are altruism, versatility, community, individuality, great character and family. The district expects that Frontier education will also lead to a sense of charity, service and community, according to the vision statement.
The board also said the district believes in:
Community service to support one another with empathy and generosity.
The idea that all work is dignified and of value to society.
Compassion and tolerance toward others and self, without sacrificing personal values.
The responsibility and dependability of students, who demonstrate a commitment to their learning in and outside the classroom.
Special education is an integral part of the overall education sector. It's the practice of educating students with special educational needs.
Eileen Soon is an educator who specializes in teaching this unique population - diverse learners and individuals with special needs. Graduating with a degree in Special Education from Liberty University, Eileen taught at St Christopher's International Primary School, Malaysia as their special education coordinator working with children with mild to moderate learning difficulties.
There, she introduced social-communication groups for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Later, she joined a private center for individuals with special need
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