October 31, 2007
Calling all nurses. Those of you with an interest in the nursing profession may be glad to know that much aid is available to you—and righteously so. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, registered nurses constitute the largest health care occupation. There are 2.4 million of them, and they’re growing in number…by the minute.
Actually, a takeover may not be such a bad thing. Plenty of people are in need of serious medical aid, and the high-stress, low-sleep, poor-diet mix is not helping. (Put that twinkie down; I don’t care if it’s Halloween.)
Those of you ready to don some scrubs, slip a stethoscope around your neck and embark on a new career should check out the resources below for nursing scholarships and grants. For additional information on these and other scholarships in nursing (including contact information), visit Scholarships.com and conduct a free scholarship search.
DAR Nursing Scholarship
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) are offering scholarships to students interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree in nursing. Three scholarships are currently offered by the organization: the Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship, the Mildred Nutting Nursing Scholarship and the Occupational/Physical Therapy Scholarship. Each winner will receive a one-time award of $1,000. The entries will be evaluated based on academic merit, dedication to field and financial need.
Tafford Uniforms Scholarship Program
Tafford, a maker of nursing wares, awards two $1,000 nursing school scholarships. The awards are distributed biannually, once in the fall and once in the spring. Nursing students who are working on their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and Associate Degree in Nursing are eligible to apply. Graduate nursing scholarships are also available for those working towards a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN).
Breakthrough to Nursing Scholarships for Ethnic People of Color
The National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) awards $125,000 per year in scholarships for nursing students. One of their awards, the Breakthrough to Nursing Scholarship, is given to students of unrepresented ethnicities in the nursing profession. Award winners should also be committed to servicing undeserved populations with quality care.
Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP)
Though not a scholarship, this program assists nursing students in paying off already-acquired debt. The NELRP was created by the U.S. Department of Health to assist nursing students in achieving their goals. Registered nurses who agree to work in areas of nursing shortages for two or three years may be eligible to receive partial loan coverage from the NELRP.
October 30, 2007
Stress-free high school, does that sound like an oxymoron to you? Unfortunately it does to many high school students. Teachers are noticing it too, and one has made it a point to publicize his efforts to initiate change. Principal Paul Richards of Needham High School has created a Stress Reduction Committee to do something about these caffeine-wired, sleep-deprived, on-edge teens.
He has been hard at work teaching students how to relax. He has even invited stress-relief experts to the school—it’s just that students couldn’t fit them into their schedules. That’s why yoga classes are now required for seniors (and hopefully not graded).
But for some unfathomable reason, Mr. Richards has received countless criticism. (For the record, I support you Mr.Richards.) According to an article, the principal received hate mail from across the country after taking the honor roll list out of his school newspaper. That sounds uncomfortably reminiscent of the honor roll list published in my grade school newspaper. We even got to strut bright yellow student-of-the-month pins.
Those who know that Mr. Richards is now working on his doctorate at Boston College may be compelled to say that he’s not exactly leading by example. But he sees things in a different light. Based on the New York Times article, his intent was to assist students in managing stress and in finding the college that fits them best, whether it be prestigious or not. He encouraged students to be ambitious but reasonable when signing up for A.P. classes. “It’s very important to protect the part of the culture that leads to all the achievement,” he stated. “It’s more about bringing the culture to a healthier place.”
A stress-free high school environment is a start, but changes at the top are imperative for this to really work. If schools continue to be rated and employers continue to value them, it won’t be too easy to change things. A sort of trickle down relaxonomics is in order. And I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but sleep and finals are not much easier to manage in college (assuming that you plan to graduate). Take tips from Mr. Richards now, and the future may look brighter.
October 29, 2007
It’s about time someone rewarded students for the nonacademic work they’ve been doing. The AXA Foundation, in association with U.S. News & World Report, will be offering a scholarship to students who have achieved something admirable, something nonacademic for once. While some consideration will be given to a student’s extracurricular activities, work experience and academic record, the nonacademic achievement is the central focus. But you better hurry; only the first 12,000 applicants will be considered! Okay, so maybe that’s a lot.
1. 52- $10,000 prizes (one from each state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) 2. 10- $15,000 prizes (to be added to the awards of the10 best state winners)
1. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents 2. Applicants must be high-school seniors who plan to enroll, full-time, in a 2 or 4 year U.S. college by the fall of 2008 3. Applicants should demonstrate excellent achievement in a school activity, in the community or in the workplace 4. Applicants must be recommended by an unrelated adult 5. Applicants cannot be the employees or direct families of employees of AXA Group, U.S. News and World Report, Scholarship America or their affiliates
December 15, 2007
1. Completed Application 2. A detailed description of the nonacademic achievement 3. Signed verification of achievement by an unrelated adult
For additional information about applying for this and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free scholarship search at Scholarships.com.
If you are planning to move out of your parent’s house when you go
back to school, you are probably going to have one or more roommates. Unique
challenges often arise when living with roommates, so it’s a good idea to learn
common roommate problems before you become one. By doing so, you will be
able to take steps to exhibit the traits of a good roommate. This knowledge will
also help you recognize and resolve conflicts.
Some of the most common roommate problems include:
Allowing such behaviors to go unchecked can permanently damage
roommate relationships, and can make a living situation unbearable. It’s
a good idea to establish roommate rules at the very beginning of the relationship
for the sake of avoiding roommate problems before they have a chance to develop.
October 26, 2007
A recent evaluation released by NASFAA, an organization representing the interests of financial aid professionals, brings into question the effectiveness of a new student lender auction system. The recently-passed College Cost Reduction and Access Act created, among other things, a new auction system wherein student lenders would bid on exclusive market rights in each state. While the law concentrated on cuts in student lender subsidies and increases in free student grants, the auction system aimed at lowering taxpayer burdens was also enacted.
When the system goes into effect in 2009, lenders interested in participating in the government's subsidized FFEL Plan would have to compete for the lowest subsidies. Those who won the bid would get exclusive state lender rights. Only lenders who would choose to take part in the government’s FFEL program would be effected, and only rights to PLUS loans would be auctioned.
However, the NASFAA report questions whether an auction would really be as effective as it initially seems.The statement suggested that the auction program was based on the rash assumption that lenders who bid for loan rights would be willing to greatly lower subsidy expectations, and that taxpayers would really benefit from lower subsidies. This assumption, based on the report, may prove to be faulty. State competition could be lower than expected, and some states could problematically benefit more than others. After a few years, the competition is likely to decrease altogether, and lenders may simply choose to opt out of the program.
Doubt was also cast upon the assumption that student borrowers would not be affected by the auction system. Based on the report, it is more likely that lenders will get rid of certain student benefits once they have exclusive rights to a state. Borrower services that could be affected include default prevention, financial literacy and electronic processing. The report disputes the claim that very few students are eligible for benefits. Instead, it suggests that most students qualify for at least some helpful services or benefits.
How an auction would in effect change the financial aid system and affect taxpayers remains to be seen. However, a "Bill Gates is about to take over the world" scenario is unlikely. First of all, a total overhaul is not going to occur; PLUS loans will be used to test out the system. Based on the results, a general idea of what could happen in such situations should be obtained. Secondly, the auction would repeat after two years, and it’s unlikely that lenders will get comfy enough to cause a ruckus. Because two lenders will be chosen per state, some competition is likely to keep them in line. Let us also remember that PLUS loans are not the only loans on the planet. If FFEL PLUS loans become too pricy, students could look to competing loans and lenders. FFEL program winners will still have a reputation to upkeep.
Ultimately, the government has the last word on this one. We'll see if that’s a good thing.
October 25, 2007
Based on a new report released by the College Board, government aid has increased in the past few years—but college costs have as well. And they’ve done so more quickly.
According to the report, a public four-year institution charges in-state students 6.6 percent more in tuition and fees than they did last year. The increase for out-of-state students is 5.9 percent.
Students who attend private four-year colleges haven’t fared any better. They may not have to worry about the whole in-state out-of-state thing, but their tuition rates are still higher than those at public colleges, and they are likewise increasing. Since last year, tuition and fees have increased by 6.3 percent at private four-year colleges.
Community colleges are pretty good when it comes to keeping the prices down, but their costs, as well as those of for-profit schools, have been rising as well.
Before you say it, yes, stated cost and actual cost are two different things. You don’t go into a car lot expecting to pay the ticket price, and you probably won’t pay the full price when it comes to college tuition. But that doesn’t mean that you’re being cut a deal. Even though government aid has been increasing—and will continue to do so due to the recent passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act—students are still paying more for college.
As my chemistry teacher used to repeat, “All things being equal, things aren’t going well.” (Maybe the second half was mine; it’s just what comes to mind when I think of chemistry.)
Thankfully, students don’t have to depend on the government to completely cover the cost of a college education. There are plenty of financial aid options out there, and they don’t all require interest payments. Students searching for tuition money can always look to college scholarships and grants for help. Plenty are available, and they won’t cost you a penny (don’t be scammed into believing that you should pay for scholarship consideration). Conduct a free scholarship search, and check out the numerous opportunities available to you.
October 24, 2007
It’s tough being a senior. You have to do homework (at least during the first semester), study for standardized tests, apply to colleges and, oh yes, select them. Counselors do counsel, but let’s get serious; you’re the one stuck with the heavy-duty work. Plus, consulting with them is just one more thing to add to your to-do list.
College information is not that hard to come by if you browse the web like a maniac, but having a source that allows you to compare all data sure makes things easier. The Scholarships.com College Search allows you to do just that. Students searching for college information can visit the site and compare myriad stats on one 17” computer screen. (Adjust size for people who think they're too cool for standard screens---you know who you are.) Whether you’re interested in a community college, a state university or a private school, we have the information you’re looking for. Start out by searching for a school by area of study, state, name, college type (two or four year) or any combination of the four.
From there, your will be directed to a list of schools that match your criteria. You can sort them by whatever information you’re most interested in: name, location, tuition or school type—from top up or top down. Pick out the ones that are still of interest to you, and find the information you need.
Check out the school’s tuition and fees, its incoming freshman profile, the financial aid offered, graduation rates, contact information and more. After you’ve narrowed things down a bit, you can conduct a free scholarship search to find financial aid information that can help you pay for your college of choice.
Your senior-year workload can't be eliminated completely, but we can do plenty to ease the pain. You could really use the extra time for more important business---like doing nothing at all. Just call us your free personal college finder; we’ll smugly accept the title.
October 23, 2007
Do you like to write? Do you care about world problems? Then this competition is for you! The Hear Me Project is a writing scholarship about the effects that HIV and AIDS have on the population. Entrants will have to submit a short (up to five pages) fiction or nonfiction story about the vulnerability that accompanies HIV or AIDS. By applying for this award, students will have the chance to win money for college, and, as a bonus, spread awareness about a universal problem. So let your creative juices flow, and apply today!
1. One $2,500 cash prize
1. Applicants must be between 14 and 22 years of age as of September 1, 2007. 2. Only one entry per person is permitted. 3. Employees of Select Media, Inc. are not eligible to apply.
December 1, 2007
1. Completed entry release form. 2. A neat, double-spaced story about vulnerability to HIV or AIDS. The story may be fiction or nonfiction, and it cannot exceed five pages. If submitted by mail, three copies are required.
For more information on this and other scholarship opportunities, visit Scholarships.com, and conduct a free scholarship search.
October 22, 2007
In recently published (previously-known) financial aid news, student lenders were found to have made millions by accepting excess subsidies from the government. By finding loopholes in government regulations, the student lender Nelnet, one of the biggest offenders, was able to collect $278 million in excess payments between 2003 and 2005. Based on calculations released by the Washington Post, other lenders accepted an estimated $300 million in excess subsidies between 2003 and 2006—paid for by taxpayers.
Because students applying for government aid are restricted in how much they can borrow, the government offers subsidies to lenders who borrow to students. In exchange for the money, lenders offer students loans at rates that, although usually higher than those offered by the government, tend to be lower than those offered by unsubsidized lenders.
When average student loan interest rates were higher, the government guaranteed lenders a 9.5 percent interest rate for loans. Once average loan rates fell, many lenders continued to take in large subsidies.
And although the government lowered some subsidy sums after rates fell, they continued to guarantee a 9.5 percent rate on loans previously funded with tax-exempt bonds. To extend the pool of loans still eligible for larger subsidies, Nelnet divided tax-free bonds among various pools. They would then claim that pools of loans at least partially composed of tax-free bonds were eligible for 9.5 percent subsidies.
The government did little to stop them in the past, and it is doing little to punish them now. According to the Washington Post, the Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings did admit that the government shouldered some of the responsibility for the “confusion”. However, she indicated no intent to pursue full accounting, nor did she suggest that reimbursement from lenders would be sought.
October 19, 2007
Students who applied for financial aid in Louisiana may be worried to find that the company in charge of storing their personal information recently lost a large amount of financial aid data. Actually, a loss is the best-case scenario, the worst being embezzlement. The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) tried to assuage student fears by stating that the missing information was compressed and that special software was needed to access it—hopefully they’re not exaggerating the advanced technology of zip files.
Thousands of current students and college graduates (going as far back as 1998) could be affected by the loss. Among those at risk are any students who submitted a FAFSA in the state of Louisiana and out-of-state students who sent the form to a college within the state. Those who have a Louisiana College Savings account (START Saving Program) and those who have applied for or received a Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarship—a Louisiana-based scholarship—may also be affected.
The information was lost on September 19, 2007, and although search efforts were initiated from the onset, the data has not yet been recovered. Colleges are now informing the public of the incident, and LOSFA has posted additional information on its site. According to LOSFA, the public was not notified earlier to avoid misinformation about data that was misplaced rather than lost. The non-misplacement occurred when the media storage company was loading the backup data into a truck. Social Security numbers and student names were among the missing data.
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