July 28, 2008
Are you looking for something to do with the rest of your summer? While scientific research might not be everyone's idea of a good time, putting together a research project could pay off for high school students through this week's Scholarship of the Week.The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology recognizes remarkable talent early on, fostering individual growth for high school students who are willing to challenge themselves through science research. The Competition promotes excellence by encouraging students to undertake individual or team research projects in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology, or a combination of these disciplines. Through this competition, students have an opportunity to achieve national recognition for science research projects that they complete in high school. It is administered by The College Board and funded by the Siemens Foundation.
Students may enter as individuals or as part of a team. Entries are "blind read" by a panel of judges assembled by The College Board and its partner Educational Testing Service. The judges have related expertise to the project being reviewed. They do not know anything about the student; papers are judged solely on the merits of the abstract and supporting documentation.
Prize: In the initial review up to 300 projects are selected as semi-finalists. Of these, up to 30 individual students and 30 teams go on to compete in regional finals. Regional finalists receive scholarships of $1,000 apiece and regional winners receive $3,000 for individuals and $6,000 for teams. Regional champions progress to the national competition, where they compete for scholarship opportunities up to $100,000.
Eligibility: All current U. S. high school students are eligible to enter the competition.
Deadline: Applications are due by 5 p.m. Eastern Time October 1, 2008.
Required Materials: Please review the Siemens Foundation Competition scholarship information for complete submission guidelines and required materials.
Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship search results.
July 24, 2008
Twenty small private colleges will be using a Wal Mart Foundation grant this fall to augment their efforts to recruit and retain first-generation college students, according to an Inside Higher Ed article. While many first-generation students initially look to community colleges or state universities, many private colleges and universities argue that they could be a good fit as well due to smaller student populations and better access to professors and resources. In addition to these advantages, recipients of the Wal Mart Foundation grant will be adding more programs specifically designed for students who are the first in their families to attend college.
This funding is being used for a wide variety of projects of especial benefit to poor and working-class students. Lesley University in Massachussettes plans to use its grant money for outreach programs to inform high school students of their options for college. Saint Edwards University in Texas and Ripon College in Wisconsin both plan to implement bridge programs that help freshmen gain necessary skills to succeed in college the summer before they start classes. Ripon College also plans to use this grant to help its first-generation students gain paid internships and valuable work experience before they graduate.
With the current financial aid crunch, small private colleges and universities undertaking efforts such as these can become more appealing options for budget-conscious students and families, as well as students concerned about their preparedness for college. Choosing the right college is vital, since there are all sorts of special programs for different students populations at each school. Conduct a free college search on Scholarships.com to get started!
July 23, 2008
A survey released yesterday by the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) indicated that 90 percent of financial aid administrators are at least somewhat concerned about the current student loan crunch. As lenders continue to opt out of Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFELP) and to reduce the number of schools they make loans available to, many financial aid administrators remain concerned that students at their institutions may have decreased access to money for school. While overall administrators expressed confidence that the recent Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act will help students pay for college this year, 52 percent said that more needed to be done to make sure students will have sufficient access to college loans in the future, and more than half stated that they believe it will be more difficult for students to borrow additional private loans in the upcoming school year.
A number of schools are turning to the federal Direct Loans program to ensure continued loan availability for their students, while others are calling for other solutions to the student loan problem, putting an emphasis on federal student aid. Many NASFAA members stressed the importance of increasing access to federal grant programs and scholarship money in order for students to continue being able to afford a college education. NASFAA President Dr. Philip Day summarized this position, stating, "Too many students rely on loans to pay for their education. I do not accept the premise that student loans are here to stay, especially for needy students. If the student loan crunch has shown us anything, it is that our neediest students have no place in the student loan marketplace. We should help them find as many alternatives to borrowing as possible by providing them with grants and scholarships to meet their educational costs."
The survey also asked what financial aid administrators were doing for students and their families to help them find money for college. Many financial aid offices continue to maintain a preferred lenders list, despite recent media criticism and policy changes, something NASFAA stresses is both wanted and needed by families needing to find private student loans or new FFELP lenders on short notice.
NASFAA is also backing a new piece of legislation known as the Preventing Student Loan Discrimination Act, which if passed, will prohibit FFELP lenders from denying loans to eligible students based on the institution they attend, the length of their program, or their income level. These provisions will help students pay for school in the short term, but the report stressed that more needs to be done to make college affordable in the future.
The full survey is available through the NASFAA website.
July 22, 2008
Technology, rental programs, and new laws could finally reverse the trend of rising textbook costs, according to a recent article in U.S. News and World Report. Students, parents, and professors alike often recoil at the astronomical pricetag of some textbooks, especially for introductory courses students are required to take. For many, textbook purchases can represent the last hurdle in the race to pay for school, as students who have managed to find money for college tuition and housing still may not be able to foot a textbook bill of several hundred dollars per semester.
Now, a combination of factors may finally bring some relief to students in this predicament. In recent years, schools and private companies have piloted textbook rental programs that have been met with a great deal of enthusiasm from students who are now able to rent many of the general education textbooks that they would likely sell back to the bookstore at the end of the semester. E-books and open source projects have begun to catch professors' attention as alternatives to requiring students to purchase an expensive hard copy of a textbook.
Finally, a bill currently under consideration in Congress would require textbook companies to provide professors with accurate pricing information before book orders are placed. This would allow professors to choose textbooks based on price, in addition to quality of information. The proposed law would also require publishers to provide unbundled versions of currently bundled textbook packages, which often have high prices due to the inclusion of workbooks or electronic content that many students and professors wind up electing not to use.
Cheaper textbook options such as these can help students save money in college, which is a relief for every student, whether they are paying with scholarship money, federal financial aid, or their own savings.
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