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Senate Committee Approves Bill to Boost Study-Abroad Funding

February 19, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Despite investigations into shady business practices of study-abroad programs across the nation, Congress continues to support the idea of travel for college students. Last June, a bill to increase study-abroad funding was passed in the House, and a similar version was approved last week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The initial version of the Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation bill was passed by the House in June, 2007 and introduced to the Senate by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Norm Coleman (R-MN). If passed, it would allow Congress to appropriate $80 million each year towards a foundation awarding financial aid to study-abroad students.

The bill would encourage one million students to study abroad, especially in non-traditional settings. According to Senator Durbin, the travel will, “allow students the opportunity to grow and gain skills to help our nation compete in the globalized world.”

Now that the bill has been approved by the Senate committee, it will move to the Senate floor for a full vote. Approval seems likely as positive feedback has been expressed by both parties.

The proposal is particularly aimed at assisting minority students with scholarships and grants. Senator Coleman stated that, “The goal of the Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act is to make study abroad in high-quality programs in diverse locations around the world the routine, rather than the exception, for American college students.”

Over the past year, study abroad programs have received more publicity for their troubles than their benefits. Inquiries into the actions of program representatives who received free trips and money for meeting student traveler quotas have marred the image of numerous programs. If the appropriations are approved, increased financial accountability is likely.

Students interested in studying abroad need not wait until this bill clears both chambers. By completing a free college scholarship search, students can find information about numerous college scholarships and grants that can help them afford school. Both study-abroad scholarships and awards based on different criteria are available.

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A Voice for Animals Scholarship

February 18, 2008

by Administrator

Each year, the Humane Education Network (H.E.N.) awards scholarships to high school students whose essays best promote the humane treatment of animals. H.E.N. hopes that by awarding “A Voice for Animals” scholarships, creating newsletters, contacting businesses and communicating with legislators, they can put a stop to animal cruelty.

Students interested in applying for this essay scholarship will have to write an original paper examining the mistreatment of one animal species. They will also need to propose methods for the prevention and control of such behavior. Four essayists demonstrating the greatest originality and analytical thought will be awarded scholarships ranging between $100 and $1,000.

Prize:

1. $1,000 first prize 2. $500 second prize 3. $100 third prize 4. $750 prize for the greatest personal involvement or project directly impacting animal welfare 

Eligibility:

1. Applicants must be high school students. 2. Essays must be original. 3. All sources must be cited.

Deadline:

March 10, 2008

Required Material:

1. A completed online application form 2. A double-spaced essay no longer than 1,500 words

Further details about the application process and contacting the scholarship provider can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once the search is completed, students eligible for the award will find it in their scholarship list.

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Financial Aid Course a Requirement for Allegany Students

February 15, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Beginning in 2012, high school seniors attending schools in Allegany County, Maryland will have new graduation requirements--financial literacy classes. According to the Associated Press, these half-credit courses will teach students about maximizing earning potential, making the best of finances and maintaining good credit scores.

With college rates rising at rates that exceed inflation, students across the country are facing financial difficulties. The crises in mortgage and student loan industries have government officials scrambling to guard students against debt that could haunt them for years.

About two-thirds of undergraduate students borrow money for college and graduate with an average debt of $19,000. Student loans frequently outweigh a graduate’s earning potential, and many find themselves struggling just to make ends meet. What initially seems like a worthwhile investment frequently becomes an overwhelming burden for a growing number of students.

To avoid debt, students should educate themselves about their financial aid options. High school students can take advantage of the free college scholarship and grant information available to them at Scholarships.com. When conducting a college search, students should also keep in mind their current financial standing. If they cannot realistically afford their school of choice, runners-up should be considered.

Like students of Allegany County, those attending other high schools may be able to avoid student loans by completing a free college scholarship search. Regardless of GPA, athletic achievement or community involvement, students can find awards they may be eligible to receive. 

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Michigan to Suspend Private Loans

February 14, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

In a bold move reflective of the volatile loan market, Michigan announced its decision to temporarily suspend the state-run Michigan Alternative Student Loan (MI-Loan) program. Alternative loans, otherwise known as private student loans, are often used by students to supplement federal Pell Grants and government loans.

Those who are ineligible for government aid or who don’t receive enough of it often look to alternative loans for additional funding assistance. According to the Associated Press, about 8,500 loans totaling $68 million were offered through the MI-Loan program last year.  As of Friday evening, these loans will no longer be available to students. 

In their notice, the Michigan Higher Education Student Loan Authority stated that “There is not sufficient available capital to continue making MI-Loans.” With student lenders facing the effects of a major mortgage crisis as well as subsidy cuts from the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, the pressure is on to make a profit. Numerous student lenders have already announced their plans to cut loan benefits and tighten eligibility requirements. Some have even closed their doors completely.

Michigan students eligible for MI-Loans (students attending Michigan colleges or universities) can still look to other lenders for assistance. In fact, JPMorgan Chase & Company is even decreasing their loan rates and fees. Once funding becomes available-- if funding becomes available--MI-Loans will again be an option.

To diminish their reliance on loans,  affected students can also apply for Michigan scholarships. By conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com, students from each state will have access to information about more than 2.7 million college scholarships and grants worth 19 billion.

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Puppy Love Pays for College

February 13, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Whoever said it’s a dog eat dog world must not have met the Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show bunch. As the well-behaved dogs trotted across the stage in perfect sync with their owners, it’s a wonder the negative phrase was ever associated with pups.

At the end, the multicolored beagle named Uno managed to take home the prize for this year’s Best in Show. Standing only 15 inches high, Uno rose to the occasion and proceeded to be the first of his breed to win the title since 1939. As I watched last night’s event next to my dog, I increasingly questioned my pet's behavior. Is alternately biting each leg, the tail and my pillows really satisfying?

Obviously, not all dogs can strut the runway, but that doesn’t stop owners across the nation from falling in love with them. Not only are dogs a man’s (and woman’s) best friend, but they can now help you pay for college. If you’re a lover of dogs, check out the scholarships below for some financial aid options. For additional scholarship opportunities, you may conduct a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Florida Institute of Animal Arts Scholarship

This $5,000 scholarship can help students interested in attending the Florida Institute of Animal Arts in completing their education. If you want to learn a thing or two about dog grooming, check this school out.

Dog Writers Association of America

The Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) is sponsoring a junior’s essay scholarship award for students between the ages of 18 and 22. By writing about their experiences with dogs, students can win a $500 to $1,000 scholarship.

The Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSD) Scholarship

Low income individuals with disabilities can use this scholarship to acquire and train an assistant dog. Awards are largely based on financial need.

American Kennel Club Veterinary Student Scholarship

The American Kennel Club currently offers $145,000 in scholarships to eligible veterinary school students each year. Applicants are judged on academic achievement, need and activities with purebred dogs or related research.

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Wheaton College Lawsuit a Reflection of Biased Study-Abroad Policies

February 12, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

The lawsuit filed last Friday against Wheaton College officials again brings into question the policies at numerous colleges providing study-abroad programs. Though largely advertised as the opportunity of a lifetime—a way to expand the mind and experience outside cultures—the impartiality of study-abroad policies at certain schools has become increasingly dubious.

The most recent allegation in a string of study-abroad investigations is that of Mr. James P. Brady, the father of a Wheaton College alumna who studied abroad in South Africa.  According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Mr. James P. Brady is suing the school for overcharging his daughter for her study abroad travels. Had his daughter studied at the South African college herself, the stay would have cost her roughly $17,000. Instead, Wheaton College asked the family to pay the tuition of regular undergraduate students residing at Wheaton.

Paying the South African tuition would have allowed Mr. Brady's daughter to save money in college--nearly $4,500. According to Brady, the school did not even provide additional services in exchange for Wheaton tuition and other costs. Though she did not stay at the school, his daughter was charged the full price of an education at Wheaton, including room and board. The school denied accusations of unfair billing practices stating that trip costs were clearly established beforehand.

This lawsuit is yet another blotch in the study-abroad records of colleges across the nation. Earlier this year, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sent out numerous subpoenas to schools whose study abroad offices were suspected of unfair business practices.

Months before that, an article from The New York Times told the story of a Columbia student angry with his school for having denied him credit transfers for his work at Oxford. After traveling with an outside study abroad program, the student was upset to find that his credits would not be accepted by Columbia. While his peers received credit for their work at lesser academically-recognized schools,  the classes he completed at one of the most prestigious universities in the world would not fulfill his graduation requirements at Columbia.

The study abroad investigation continues to haunt schools across the nation. For some, the accusations are a second blow following last year’s findings of illegal incentive-based relations between student lenders and financial aid officials.  With a general search for unfair policies within the study abroad industry still in progress, the problems of colleges are far from over.

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Posted Under:

College Culture , College News



KFC Colonel's Scholars Scholarships

February 11, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Do you like chicken? Are you a high school senior? Then don’t waste another moment; apply for the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Colonel Scholarship today! Don’t worry vegetarians; you can still apply. The KFC Colonel doesn't discriminate against taste buds (though mentioning your love for KFC delicacies can’t hurt your application). 

To assist high school seniors with financial need and an entrepreneurial drive, KFC is offering numerous college scholarships. Selected seniors may receive up to $20,000 for their college education. If you’re interested, you better hurry: the deadline is right around the corner.

Prize:

1. More than 50 scholarships worth up to $20,000

Eligibility:

1. Applicant must be a High School Senior

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Youth Expected at Booths, Candidates at Schools

February 6, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

There is plenty of room for college students to make a difference in the election, and many are taking it upon themselves to do just that. It is projected that political interests, registration and voting numbers for youth across the nation will be at an all-time high during the 2008 election.

According to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, less than 50 percent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 cast their ballots in the national election of 2004. At 68, the percentage of voters ages 30 and over who did so was, unsurprisingly, greater. This year, things are expected to change.

Presidential candidates are counting on young voters for support, and they have been putting in extra effort to address their interests. To remind college students and recent grads to vote, candidates have been sending out text messages, speaking at college campuses, offering campaign internships and promoting themselves on popular student websites such as MySpace and Facebook.

While it's still a bit early for P.Diddy and his MTV Rock the Vote campaign, loyal supporters always get a head start. With locals fighting over each other to hand out presidential "pompflets" and campus supporters scrambling to student dormsteps wearing big grins excess energy, the competition has barely begun.

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Posted Under:

College Culture , College News



Mixed Reviews for Presidential Budget

February 5, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

On February 4th, President Bush unveiled his much criticized national budget to a frustrated Congress. Members of both parties found fault with the president for his proposal to increase funding for the military at the expense of Medicare. According to the Los Angeles Times, President Bush’s proposal could slow the growth of Medicare programs by nearly $208 billion over the next five years.

The budget for the Department of Education, on the other hand, was received with mixed reviews.  A firm advocate of scientific research, the president proposed that funds for physical-science research, much of which would go to colleges and universities, increase in the upcoming year.

While physical scientists cheered in one corner, medical researchers jeered in the other. Once again, The National Institute of Health (NIH), the primary government agency responsible for health-related research, was upset with the president's funding proposal.

After his decision to veto a bill that would increase NIH funding in November, the president's budget did not come as much of a surprise. Upon hearing last year's proposal, Bush claimed that Congress was, "acting like a teenager with a new credit card." Ironically, if Bush's budget is approved, skyrocketing national debt is expected. The current U.S. debt could more than double over the next two years if Congress chooses to accept the budget. More likely, the proposal will be stalled until President Bush leaves office.

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AFSA Scholarship Contest

February 4, 2008

by Administrator

The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) wants to spread awareness about fire safety, and if scholarships can make that happen, they're willing to try.

The AFSA Scholarship Contest is unlike many traditional scholarship essay contests. That's because instead of writing essays, applicants will have to read them. That's right, to apply, students will have to go online and read an essay about sprinklers and fire safety. After they finish, they will be prompted to complete a ten-question quiz on what they have just read. Luckily, looking back is allowed. Those who answer incorrectly will even have the chance to fix their errors. You literally can't go wrong with this scholarship.

Prize:

1. Ten $2,000 scholarship prizes

Eligibility:

1. Applicants must be high school seniors studying in the U.S. 2. Applicants must be enrolled in a college, university or a trade school by the 2008 fall semester 3. Only one entry per student is permitted

Deadline:

April 11, 2008

Required Material:

1. Completed online exam 2. Contact information

Further details, including information about applying for the award and contacting the scholarship provider, can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search. Once a student has completed the search, this scholarship will appear in their scholarship list, provided the student is eligible.

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