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News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Getting the low down on the bottom line: Net-price knowledge essential to choosing college

Photo Town Crier File Photo

Long before local high school seniors graduate, they’ll be busy researching colleges and universities for matriculation. StudentAid.com can help with that decision.

Planning for college is fraught with uncertainty about everything from which college and major to choose to how much it will cost. With nearly 70 percent of high school students enrolling in higher-education programs after graduation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, millions of students and their families are overwhelmed and looking for guidance on their options.

Students weigh many factors when choosing a college, but one that often makes the decision difficult is price. When it comes to planning, most students and their families are on their own. The typical high school student receives only 38 minutes of college-planning preparation at school each year, according to a 2005 study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

“Millions of students and their families experience great anxiety around college planning because nobody has insight into what their true out-of-pocket college costs will be,” said David Childress, general manager of Student-Aid.com. “A college’s sticker price is not the price you’ll pay. You can comparison shop for everything from mobile phones to houses, but not for one of life’s biggest investments – your children’s education.”

Many families begin planning for college by creating a 529 tax-free account, which helps offset the college-cost burden. However, the recession’s weakened stock prices have reduced the value of many of these accounts.

High school students often start receiving college brochures as early as sophomore year to help them determine which colleges offer programs they’re interested in. During junior and senior years, many students will visit their top college choices, meet with professors, talk to other students and research some of the 800 Web sites and guide books about colleges to figure out which of the country’s 6,800 colleges are the best fit.

But finances need to be determined early – well before a student starts investigating the programs different colleges offer. Until recently, college net prices remained a mystery. Net price is the cost of tuition, room and board, books and supplies and additional living expenses minus grants. But beginning in October 2011, all colleges receiving federal funding must provide a net-price calculator on their Web sites to help prospective students gauge affordability. To date, only a handful of colleges have installed calculators. Some college-planning Web sites offer basic calculators that are not personalized and exclude the $10 billion available from state grants or scholarships.

StudentAid.com has developed the College Cost & Planning Report to make the process easy and personalized to a student’s academic and financial circumstances. Students and parents can view a side-by-side college net-price comparison and student aid eligibility for as many as 10 colleges. Each report includes a personalized timeline, detailed college profiles and specific grants and tax benefits a student is qualified to receive.

“By determining their aid eligibility and net price, we’re giving college-bound consumers a new power,” Childress said. “Knowing net price lets a family evaluate colleges based on which ones offer the best deal, so they can plan ahead with a realistic idea of how much out of pocket parents and the student will pay.”

Shelene Worland of Mountain View is the mother of twin daughters researching college.

“Obviously, everything you do from preschool on up is preparing them for college,” she said. “I found out about StudentAid.com through word-of-mouth through a friend. It really puts a lot more information at your fingertips about the cost of college. It gives you a better idea of what you’re looking at for expenses and what your eligibility is for financial aid.”

One of Worland’s daughters is interested in a state college, while the other likes the smaller campuses of private colleges. Having a side-by-side comparison of net price allows Worland to ensure that her daughters look at colleges that fit their bank account and career ambitions. The Web site helped narrow college choices, she said.

“I would suggest that parents start looking at this during their kids’ junior year, and look at it a couple times,” she said. “There could be a lot of time wasted on schools you can’t really consider, and this helps them focus on what is possible.”

With support from USA Funds, the nation’s largest student loan guarantor, StudentAid.com offers its college planning service free to all students with a household income of less than $40,000. The service costs other students $49 to $99.

For more information, visit www.StudentAid.com.

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